About Lisbon

About Lisbon

Lisbon - History



Legend has it that Lisboa was founded by Ulysses after the war of Troy. The name has its origins in the Phoenician words “Allis Ubbo”, meaning “enchanting port”.

With the Romans, in 139/138 b.C. "Allis Ubbo" became “Felicita Julia Olisippo”and was awarded with Roman Citizenship. After the Roman period the barbarian tribes took the Iberian Peninsula and then named the city “Ulishbona”. Taken by the Moors in 714 became “Al-Lixbûnâ” or “Al-Ushbuna”.

D. Afonso Henriques, founder and 1st King of Portugal, re-conquered the city to the moors in 1147. The legend says that Martim Moniz, a Knight of D. Afonso Henriques, seeing one of the castle’s gates beeing slightly open, attacked alone the open gate sacrificing himself to die, trapped in the gate, and not allowing the gate to be closed, with his dead body stuck on it, until the Portuguese forces arrive and take the Castle. In 1179, and after having been renamed Lisboa, was granted to Lisboa the Foral by the King and became capital of the kingdom in 1256. The 1st Portuguese University, and one of the oldest in Europe, was founded in Lisbon in 1290 and transferred to Coimbra in 1308 due to a huge fire.

Lisboa is the 19th oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, 5th in Europe and the 2nd oldest city capital in Europe.

With the beginning of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries, Lisboa enriched as a spice and jewellery trade center and became one of the most important cities in Europe.

The breakthrough for Portuguese expansion came in 1498 when Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India. This was indeed the beginning of a golden age, characterised by the Manueline architectural style, named after King Manuel I, with its typical decorative use of maritime motifs. Over the centuries Lisboa naturally grew and changed.

When the city centre was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, it was rebuilt by Marquis de Pombal, who thus created the “Baixa Pombalina”, a commercial area that still retains much of its original lay out. Lisboa is a historic capital, a potpourri of unusual character and charm, where 800 years of cultural influences mingle with modern trends and life styles creating spectacular contrasts.

Historic Center

Lisbon is bright and lumious city. The almost constant presence of sunshine and the River Tagus transforms the Portuguese capital into a mirror of a thousand colours - highlighting the city’s unique architecture and beauty.

There are so many things to see and do in Lisbon that visitors have access to a wide array of different experiences. As we walk through Lisbon - whose history spans back thousands of years – we find streets filled with heritage monuments, and characteristic neighborhoods where the city first developed and can still be experienced at its most genuine level.

Visit Lisbon by the River Tagus, whose riverfront is dedicated to leisure activities and links the monumental zone of Belém (where can be visited Torre de Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos both of them Unesco’s World Heritage), with the modern area of the Parque das Nações.

Lisbon, recently nominated by CNN as the coolest city in Europe.

Have fun in Lisbon, where nightlife continues till dawn.

Practice sport in Lisbon – Sailling in the river or at the sea, also with excellent golf courses and beaches close at hand.

Experience calmer moments in Lisbon in the city’s parks, gardens, belvederes, cafés and terraces.

Or simply enjoy the pure pleasure of being in Lisbon, through its gastronomy, luxury hotels, spas and shopping centers. Lisbon - A personal experience.




Pictures kindly provided by Associação Turismo de Lisboa