Historical area Mouraria Lisbon, fado museum & Amália Rodrigues, queen of fado

No neighborhood in Lisbon is praised more for Fado music than Lisbons historical area Mouraria.

Mouraria Calçada de Santo André balcony with flowers

Mouraria, Calçada de Santo André.

This ‘Bairro‘ (neighborhood) is a maze of little, narrow streets, situated between Graça, Alfama and Costa de Castelo, given it’s name by the first Portugese king, Dom Afonso Henriques (1109 – 1185) , after Lisbon was taken over again by the (Christian) Portugese army from the Moorish overlords. The Moors however kept on living in the city after the conquist and gathered in this area.

Portuguese blues

It is said that the melancholic sounds of the music and singing of the Moorish people was at the base of Fado (meaning fate) music, often described as the Portuguese blues. Its passionate songs overflow with saudade ( yearning), with sorrowful themes like despair, loss, betrayal, jealousy and unrequited love. The little streets of Mouraria are full of typical small grocery stores, old bars (some Fado taverns) and cheap traditional restaurants.

Ginja Cafe in area Mouraria

More history of Fado (and the sad story of the legendary fadista Maria Severa (1820 – 1846) on this website.

Stencilled paste-up of Amalia Rodrigues, Beco dos Cortumes August 2007

Picture: Jef Aerosol. Stencilled paste-up of Amalia Rodrigues, Beco dos Cortumes, Alfama, Lisbon

Amália Rodrigues, Rainha do Fado (‘queen of Fado’) was born near Mouraria on Rua Martim Faz in 1920. She was a genius and worldwide famous Fado singer and lived for many years on Rua de Sao Bento 193. Nowadays her house is a museum, it’s just like she’s still living there…  Casa Amalia Rodrigues ; 30 minutes guided tours from Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 13:00 and 14:00-18:00. Metro: Rato.

Amália Rodrigues lived near Mouraria, one of her very famous songs: Ai, Mouraria (Oh Mouraria), da velha Rua da Palma (near the old street ‘Rua da Palma’), onde eu um dia (where one day), deixei presa a minha alma (my soul became a prisoner)…

Amalia Rodrigues tomb Panteao Lisbon

On October 6, 1999, Amália Rodrigues died at the age of 79 in her home in Lisbon.

Portugal’s government promptly declared a period of national mourning. She is now buried at the National Pantheon alongside other Portuguese notables.

Amalia Rodrigues shop Rua Aurea 274

‘Discoteca ‘Amalia’ Rua Aurea 274, a shop specialized in traditional Fado music. Very friendly and professional staff.

For those interested in knowing more about fado music style: the Fado Museum  is located in front of Largo do Chafariz de Dentro (the historic Alfama neighborhood) including a permanent exhibition, a temporary exhibition area, a documentation centre, a store, a small auditorium, a school, and a restaurant/coffee-shop. Saturdays and Sundays, 4h30pm guided tour of the museum featuring the participation of fado singers of different generations.

Open from 10:00 am – 18:00 (closed on Mondays)

Lisbon & lotteries: popular lottery shop Rossio Square & jackpot queen Leonor

After buying postcards in Lisbons’ touristical shops or kiosks at Rossio Square, you need stamps (selos) to send them to your friends or family. ‘Very sorry, no stamps’ (‘Desculpa, não selos’).

UPDATE 2016: most shops sell stamps. Update 2021: this shop is closed

Lisbon Rossio square kiosk

Rossio (square Dom Pedro V

This square is a traditional meeting point both for Lisboetas (locals) and visitors.

Lisbon Rossio Portugese man drinking a Ginja

Besides, Rossio near Restauradores:

Portuguese like to drink a ‘Ginjinha’, a liqueur made of berries.

Lisbon Rossio lottery

For stamps friendly Portuguese shopowners will explain you how to walk to a nearby postoffice.

Or they tell you to go to ‘Casa da Sorte’ (a lottery shop), where’s a little postoffice inside, Praça Dom Pedro IV, # 120.

Lisbon Rossio lottery Casa da Sorte

As soon as you’re inside, you forget about the stamps….

Portuguese people love lotteries!

Lisbon shopping stamps Casa da Sorte Rainha Dona Leonora

Queen (rainha) Dona Leonor

In the corner of the lottery shop queen (rainha) Dona Leonor, wife of the 15th century king Dom Manuel I.

She created the ‘Foundação da Misericórdia’ (Foundation for Charity) that is still very active in Portugal today. The original purpose of the Foundation was to build and manage hospitals and homes for the old and needy. Today, the Foundation has spread its wings in obtaining funds and they run all forms of Lotteries in Portugal.

Lisbon lottery

Dom Pedro IV Square, or Rossio (big square), in the evening, one of the most beautiful Squares in Lisbon.

Lisbon Rossio

Historical information Rossio:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rossio

Bica funicular Lisbon: top tourist spot, June street partys & cool river Tagus cafés

The famous Bica funicular opened on 28 June, 1892, the only stepped street funicular in the city. It climbs the Rua da Bica for 245 metres from the Rua S. Paulo.

Bica funicular Lisbon & partytime in June

Partying in the small street around the famous Bica funicular, near Bairro Alto , one of the best spots in Europe for a night out. In June, the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints), the Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities that take over the city’s historical center.

On the eve of Saint Anthony day, June 12th, Lisbon turns into one big party! … More….

Lisbon Bica funicular3

The most photographed street in Lisbon and Bica funicular Rua Loreto.

Lisbon has three working street funicularsLavra, Gloria and Bica, which allow its citizens and visitors to move to and from its hilly districts more easily. All are operated by Carris, (including timetables and funicular’s history) the Lisbon city transport undertaking.

Lisbon Adamastor December 08

Viewpoint ‘Adamastor’

Five minutes walk from here is a beautiful viewpoint over the River Tagus: ‘Adamastor’, a popular gathering place in Lisbon, which is officially called the  ‘Miradouro de Santa Catarina’ .

Lisbon Cafe Nooibai terrace

Cafe Noobai

Just below the small Adamastor square, you will find the fantastic terraces of cafe/ bar Cafe Noobai , certainly one of the favourite places of many Lisbon locals and visitors of the city!

Cabo da Roca Portugal: nearest point Europa to USA & how to reach

If your Portugal vacation takes you to Lisbon, don’t miss Cabo da Roca (Roca’s Cape), in the municipality of Sintra, 40 km from LisbonThe magical atmosphere of the westernmost point of mainland Europe (at 9° 29.8′ W), the nearest point between the European Continent and the USA, is really worth a visit! In summertime there’s lots of photo-snapping tourists posing right here.

Cabo da Roca spectacular views

Cabo da Roca Portugal

The views to the Atlantic from here are stunning. The cliff rises 144 meters in height above the cape. Expect strong winds when looking down from the cliff-top. You have to be very careful on windy and rainy days. Take care, it’s a long way down!!

How to get there from Lisbon? Take a train from station Cais do Sodré  to Cascais. Bus 403 travels regularly between Sintra and Cascais stops at Cabo da Roca.

Cao da Roca monument with crusifix

Cabo da Roca, 40 km from Lisbon

Portuguese poet, Luís Vaz de Camões (1524-1580)

A cross has been erected in this spot as a monument to celebrate the end of the European mainland, and the beginning of the Atlantic ocean. The cross basement bears the words of the famous Portuguese poet, Luís Vaz de Camões, born in Lisbon.

Cabo da Roca Camoes

Cabo da Roca

‘Aqui…
Onde a terra termina e o mar começa…
Ponta mais ocidental do continente europeu’

‘Here…
Where the land ends and the sea begins…
Westernmost point of the European continent’

Cabo da Roca view on Meco beach

Cabo da Roca Portugal

View from Cabo da Roca on the fabulous beaches. On sunny days Meco Beach (Praia do Meco) can be seen. (ca. 45 km). The small house is still a remain of the long Moorisch occupation (700C – 1400C).

Cabo da Roca is at the end of a 30 mile stretch of the coast known as the Portuguese Riviera, 40 km from Lisbon. The Atlantic coast, which stretches to the north and west of Lisbon, is of surprising beauty: here the landscape swiftly changes from high, sweeping cliffs to beaches of white sand, backed by lagoons.

Cabo da Roca Lighthouse

Cabo da Roca Portugal

The construction of the lighthouse (farol) was completed in 1772. It is still active and staffed by a crew of three keepers. Lighthouses in Portugal are owned by the navy (Marinha de Portugal) and operated by the navy’s lighthouse directorate. Portugal has a long distinguished maritime history; the Portuguese first traveled out and around Africa, launching the European age of discovery 600 years ago.

Cabo da Roca church1

Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca’s church is being restored at the moment. According to construction workers apartments will be built in this church.

Cabo da Roca tiles in church

Cabo da Roca, azulejos

Beautiful tiles (azulejos) inside the church. The azulejo is a typical form of Portuguese painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework. They have become a typical aspect of Portuguese culture. Azulejo comes from the Arabic word az-zulayj, meaning polished stone.

Wherever you go in Portugal, azulejos are to be found inside and outside cafes, churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even ceilings, train- or subway stations. Many azulejos chronicle major historical and cultural aspects of Portuguese history.

Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest, picturesque, neighbourhood & famous tram 28

Alfama is certainly the most famous historic and oldest neighborhood in Lisbon.

Alfma near Feira da Ladra azulejos

Beautiful azulejos (ancient tiles), Beco dos Loios,

Historic area Graça, near area Alfama, close to the famous Feira de Ladra (thieves market).

Alfama miradouro Tagus

Miradouro St. Luzia, famous viewpoint halfway between Sé Cathedral and the Castelo Sao Jorge.

Nearby: viewpoint (miradouro) Portas do Sol

Tram electrico 28 Alfama

Alfama famous tram ‘electrico 28’

A ‘must do’ and cheap Lisbon attraction. This legendary tram is a tourist attraction in itself. It goes all around town and you can ‘hop on hop off’.

Alfama history fado restaurants

Square near the Fado Museum, Largo do Chafariz de Dentro, a lot of small fado restaurants

Alfma is a narrowed maze of streets, nowadays with many fado restaurants  and picturesque houses. The name Alfama originates from the Arabic word Al-Hamma meaning ‘fountains’ or ‘baths’. The area contains many important historical attractions.

Alfama Chafiraz del Rei from 1747

Chafiraz d’ El Rei, a palace built in 1747, for many years a pigeons’ home.

Nowadays this beautiful building is restored into a romantic hotel with grandeur

Alfama June 2008

After the Mourish domination (7-12 century), Alfama became inhabited by the fishermen and the poor, and the neighborhood of the poor continues to this day.

Alfama history

In the 19th C. Alfama was a gloomy, dirty and depressing area as a result of unhealthy living conditions. Today the poorer classes continue to live here, mainly in houses in need of renovation.

Insufficient heating and draughty walls ensure poor living conditions, especially in wintertime.

Alfama History old people

At present some of the houses are being renovated.

Alfama history old houses

…..more about Alfama…and street guide

Lisbon 2006 Alfama overview

Beautiful Alfama area Lisbon

Fado history Mouraria Lisbon: a passionate liaison & first Fado singer Maria Severa

Historic area Mouraria contains a tangled street layout just as in Alfama, which has remained since the times of the Moors.

Mouraria Historical Center typical lley

Mouraria, Lisbon, one of Lisbon’s oldest districts.

The Arabs withdrew into this quarter after Lisbon was conquered by the Portuguese – a ghetto for people of different faiths arose. In the 19th C. prostitution and fado, which at this time was considered to be indecent, brought the quarter a bad name.

Mouraria Lisbon: Escadinhas de São Cristóvão. How to get there

Nowadays renovation of houses, which are threatened with falling into ruins, and an improvement in the living standards of the inhabitants of Mouraria has only begun recently. The area is full of typical grocery stores, old bars (taverna’s) and cheap (but good!) small restaurants.

Looking for a vacation stay in Lisbon? My Three bedroom apartment with sunny pátio (30 m2) in Mouraria – (short term rentals).

Mouraria historical center fado Rua da Severa


Largo da Severa’ Lisbon in area Mouraria.

Fado

It is said that the melancholic sounds of the music and singing of the Moorish people was at the base of fado music. The quarter is still today associated with fado: The ‘Casa de Severa’ at Largo da Severa 2 was the home of the legendary fadista Maria Severa Onofriando, who died at age 26 on November 30, 1846, either from suicide or tuberculosis.

Famous performer of fado Amália Rodrigues (”Lady of Lisbon”) the ‘queen of Fado’ was born near Mouraria on Rua Martim Faz.

Mouraria historical center fado plaque

(‘Mouraria, sculpture Berço do Fado‘, fado was born here)

Rua da Mouraria/ corner Rua do Capelão. Maria Severa is regarded as the first fado singer to have risen to fame, attaining a near-mythical status after her death: Maria had a passionate liaison with a nobleman, Conde de Vimioso. The affair ended badly. But the scandal increased fado’s appeal, leading to the publication of its first sheet music.

Fado Maria Severa painting

Famous painting Maria da Severa, regarded as the first fado singer

Fadistas, as fado singers are known, often wear a black shawl of mourning, as Severa did after her heartbreak. Her story epitomizes fado’s connection with saudade, “a feeling of longing or nostalgia”.

Mouraria Historical Center house Maria Severa fado singer

Fadista Maria da Severa’s house

UPDATE 2014:

Maria da Severa’s house is beautifully remodeled, you can enjoy pure fado here and traditional Portuguese food

There is a plaque in Maria Severa’s memory and a stylized fado guitar can be seen on the newly surfaced road where she lived. The memory of the singer is also kept alive in the pub called “Os Amigos da Severa” (the Friends of Severa) in the nearby Rua do Capelao , with a painting of her hanging on the wall.

Mouraria Fado Friends of Maria Severa

Cafe “Os Amigos da Severa” (the Friends of Severa) Mouraria Lisbon

Rua do Capelao 32, owner senhor Antonio Correia Alves Pais

Walk with friends Ans and Loek in Mouraria: a sua saúde ! Picture: Loek Polack

More about this remarkable little bar.

Aura Restaurant Lisbon: glamour, great terrace & Portuguese cuisine

Lisbon is well known for its good food and beautiful terraces.  Praça do Comércio , facing the Tagus river and surrounded by the most stunning architecture, is a magical meeting place for both its population and visitors.

Famous Praça do Comércio  , one of the most majestic squares in Lisbon

Terreiro do Paço (or Praça do Comerçio, Palace Square) is a favorite tourist place and one of the largest historical squares in Europe. Now this monumental riverside square also offers a combination of cultural and culinary enjoyment, here you’ll find the Portuguese Tourist Office and besides it’s a wonderful location for events and exhibitions.

Lounge area restaurant Aura, square Praça do Comerçio Lisbon

Integrated in Pátio da Galé , restaurant & lounge cafe Aura with it’s open air terrace is a very attractive place surrounded by the ‘ Palace Square’ in Lisbon. It has a glamorous inside dining room, and a lounge area to enjoy a cocktail or a tasty gourmet snack (petiscos Portuguesas).

Restaurant Aura Lisbon outside dining area Praça do Comerçio

The Portuguese cuisine is prepared by Chef Matias Duarte and gourmet stylist Fabrice Marescaux. The menu is inspired by favorite dishes of the Portuguese people.

A lot of Portuguese restaurants in Lisbon are closed on Sundays, but restaurant Aura is open 7 days a week from 7:30 AM to 02:00 AM. Website restaurant Aura

Our small table outside: Restaurant Aura Lisbon, June 2011

Our choice: salmão croustade de camarão (salmon crusted shrimp), pato (duck), salad, a small bottle of good Portuguese white wine, bread, 2 bicas (strong coffee) and 2 bottles of water. The bill came to around € 60.

Restaurant Aura Lisbon: glamourous dining room

The inside dining room of restaurant Aura has an ‘aura of glamour’ . Most Portuguese people prefer to enjoy their lunch or dinner inside while the majority of tourists like to enjoy their dinner outside. In case it’s too cold outside, this place is really worth a visit: delicious food in an elegant surrounding.

Restaurant Aura Lisbon ‘ Apéritif à la française’, June 8, 2011

In June 2011, the ‘Apéritif à la française’ in Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), teamed up with Portuguese wines to toast just how well the two countries’ culinary traditions go together. Journalists, industry professionals and opinion leaders enjoyed samplings of French products paired with a range of Portuguese wines in a lounge-style atmosphere.

Entrance Restaurant Aura  – ‘Apéritif à la française’ June 2011

Apéritif à la française’  is a multi-country event, where lovers of French-style ‘art de vivre’ and those curious to learn more about it come together . Delicious French snacks were served.  Unfortunately, also ‘foie gras’….. 🙁  🙁

ViniPortugal, Maria João Menezes – Managing Director Lisbon: free Portuguese wine tasting & tourist information Praça do Comerçio, Lisbon

Are you a wine lover? Just three minutes walk from restaurant  Aura there’s ViniPortugal, where you can taste a few wines. A very pleasant and interesting way to learn more about history and culture of Portuguese wines! Some wines available for tasting can also be purchased and the very friendly and professional staff is always on hand to provide information of the wines currently available.

World Cup football 2010 Lisbon: Portugal vs Brazil, Big Screens & fans in Lisbon’s city center

Football is very important in Portugal. A lot of the Portuguese even watch a match on TV while eating their dinner in a restaurant…. At the moment football lovers and tourists from all over the world  follow the matches in Lisbon’s city center. According to the Portuguese and Ronaldo Portugal should be considered among the favorites to take the title in South Africa……

Football Portugal vs Brasilia screen Rossio

A big screen at Praça da Figueira Square, near Rossio, a very popular tourist attraction, June 25, 2010.
On the background one of the main historical and tourist sites in Lisbon, the Castle of Saint George (São Jorge)

Football Portugal vs Brasilia big screen2

Praça da Figueira

Remarkable: from the 16th to the 19th centuries, Brazil was a colony of Portugal

Football Portugal vs Brasilia Rua Augusta1

Rúa Augusta, Lisbon’s famous boulevard and one of the best-known shopping streets

Football Portugal vs Brasilia beautiful girls

Beautiful Portuguese girls

Football Portugal vs Brasilia Rua Augusta3

Catarina Tomais da Silva and Rui, waiters in Pastelaria Casa Brasilia.Very popular and delicious food! Rua Augusta 267

Football Portugal vs Brasilia cafe near hotel Mundial1

Pastelaria and restaurant “D. João I”, Rua D. Duarte 1-B

Near Praça da Figueira . In the month of June all the streets in the historical center are decorated with garlands and lights (Festas Populares)

Football Portugal vs Brasilia cafe near hotel Mundial 2

Inside the restaurant……

Football Portugal vs Brasilia street near Munidal

…and of course the elephant 😉 sound of the vuvuzelas!

Football world cup Lisbon after the match

After the match…..Portugal vs Brazil: 0-0: both countries happy 😉

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio1

Holland vs Brazil, near the famous Rossio Station.

A big screen at Largo Duque de Cadaval, a beautiful place, full of open sunny open-air cafes and restaurants.

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio2

Holland vs Brazil: 3-1. Dutch and Brazilian football fans are watching the match

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio4

Lisbon’s famous funiculars: Bica, Gloria, Lavra, spectacular viewpoints & ‘Art in movement’

The funiculars Bica, Gloria and Lavra in Lisbon taking you up to spectacular viewpoints (miradouros).

Bica funicular silver tourist information

The (normally yellow) and famous tourist attraction funicular in Bica  (YouTube)

Artist Alexandre Farto  covered the outside of the funicular with mirror-acrylic, called it ‘Espectro’  (Spectre) and pays tribute to the neighbourhood that is reflected in the lift during the journey, as if it were a film…. (From January – June 2010). Amazing!

Bica funicular silver March 2010 3 street

Bica funicular Lisbon

This project  ‘Art in movement’  (“Arte em Movimento”) is part of a Cultural Program for the promotion of Public Art, which CARRIS  (bus & tram services including timetables) intends to carry out in some vehicles of its public service fleet. In 2010, the chosen vehicles were one lift (the Santa Justa) and the 3 funiculars, all of them are national monuments since 2002.

Bica funicular March 2010 hanging laundry

Street view Bica funicular

Typical Portuguese:  hanging laundry, drying in the wind.

Bica funicular silver March 2010 2 street

View from Bica funicular

It climbs the Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo for 245 metres from the Rua Sao Paulo.

Bica funicular March 2010 restaurant cafe

Largo de Santo Antoninho, right next to Bica’s funicular downhill starting point.

Walking up the hill to São Jorge Castle Lisbon & a famous urinal

Just aside the walls of Lisbon’s Castelo São Jorge (St. Jorge Castle), I love to walk around in the narrow streets of the beautiful Bairro do Castelo, located in the highest hill of the historic centre of the city. This neighborhood is very charming and quiet.

Walking around Bairro Castelo Rua dos Frois

To visit the castle, you can walk up the hill starting at Beco dos Fróis , from Largo Rodrigues de Freitas . This church, Igreja do Menino de Deus on the square of the same name was commissioned byJoao V,King of Portugal. It is one of the few churches which survived the big earthquake (1755) relatively undamaged. Construction began in 1711 but even today it has not been completely finished.

walking around Bairro Castelo Sao Jorge Largo de Menino Deus

At the end of  Largo do Menino Deus (Square of God’s son) you’ll reach the (second) entrance to the castle of São Jorge. (The other entrance is at Largo de Santa Cruz do Castelo)

Walking around Bairro Castelo

Walking around Bairro Castelo 13 Largo do Menino Deus

This is a wonderful hidden part of Lisbon. At the moment construction works have started here. Besides: don’t’ forget to wear flat shoes! The steets are cobbled in this area around the Castle.

Walking around Bairro Castelo entrance Largo de Menino Deus 15

Walking around Bairro Castelo16

Looking back, you can see the towers of Igreja da Sao Vincente de Fora (Church of St. Vincent outside the walls), a Renaissance church used primarily as a royal pantheon for the Portugese monarchy.

Walking around Bairro Castelo entrance Largo de Menino Deus

After passing through the gates, you enter Travessa do Funil, a very popular street with tourists, directly underneath Castelo São Jorge.

Walking around near Castelo Sao Jorge Rob Plews

The urinal (urinol) at the corner of Travessa do Funil and Travessa Chão da Feira, Lisbon’s only open air uninal, 5 minutes walk from the Castle of Saint George

Lisbon open air urinal near St Jorge Castle