Lisbon’s unique Aqueduct (1731, 65 m tall), suicides & serial killer Diogo Alves

The city of Lisbon has always suffered from the lack of drinking water. King João V (John V) decided to build an aqueduct in 1731 (Aqueduto das Águas Livres, ‘free waters’). The magnificent construction caused constant misunderstandings between the royal power, engineers, architects and municipal institutions; abusive clerical interference found its way into the fray.

Lisbon Aqueduct inside

Aqueduct Lisbon (Aqueduto das Águas Livres, ‘free waters’)

Today, what the Portuguese think of as the Lisbon Aqueduct is that gigantic set or arches spanning the Alcântara valley, ending at the reservoir of Amoreiras. Its source is known as Águas Livres (free waters) and is located in Caneças (some 18,5 km away).

It consists of a complex series of underground galleries, arches and skylights linked to the visible principal body, known as the General Aqueduct. These are scattered all over the city, giving rise to numerous fonts which, in times gone by, were important sources of water supply for the city.

Lisbon Aqueduct June 2008

Aqueduct arches (65 m tall) over the Alcântara valley.

(I took this picture in the train from Faro to Lisbon).

The main course of the aqueduct covers 18 km. Concluded in 1834 (although it began to supply water to Lisbon in 1748), displays visible Gothic influences in a period dominated by the Baroque style.

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Aqueduct and commemorative arch in the Amoreiras neighbourhood.

Video Museu da Água  YouTube

After the earthquake of 1755, architect Custódio Vieira was granted pardon for the profligacy for which he had been accused owing to the amount of iron he used to strengthen the arch’s structure, for, despite being located on a seismic faultline, it had resisted the quake.

Lisbon Aqueduct Arches Walk

Picture: Fajna Asia.

Diogo Alves, the ‘Aqueduct serial killer’

This public walkway along the interior gallery, named Arches Walk, which once offered a wonderful panoramic view to pedestrians, has been closed since 1844 due to the large number of suicides and murders, including those committed by the famous bandit Diogo Alves , the ‘Aqueduct serial killer’.

Aqueduct Lisbon. Picture:  Paulo Juntas Wikipedia

The ‘Free Waters Museum, in charge of the aqueduct, organizes guided visits and tours on different dates and hours. More information

Calçada da Quintinha, 6, Lisboa. Metro: Rato Station (Museum): Campolide train station (Aqueduct).

Cheap traditional restaurants in Lisbon at Praça da Figueira & Portuguese soup (sopa)

The Praça da Figueira (Square of the Fig Tree) is a large square in the centre of Lisbon. Around 1885, a large covered market of 8,000 m² was built. This market existed until 1949, when it was demolished. Since then the square has been an open space, with four-storey buildings, occupied by hotels, cafés/small restaurants and several shops.

Lisbon Praca da Figueira view from Praca dom Pedro IV

Praça da Figueira, view from Rossio (Praca Dom Pedro IV)

Praca da Figueira by day bus

The square is also an important traffic hub, with bus and metro stops. In 1971 a bronze equestrian statue representing King John (1357-1433), by sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida, was inaugurated in the square. In 1999/2000, during the last renovation of the square, the statue was relocated from the middle to a corner of the square, in order to make it visible from the Praça do Comércio.

Lisbon Praca da Figueira Pastelaria Tentacao Praca da Figeira3 Marcelo Brito

Ola (hello), you’re welcome! The very friendly waiter Marcelo Brito.

Pastelaria ‘Tentacao (‘Temptation’)’, Praca da Figueira, for lunch (or breakfast, delicious pastries!) I enjoyed roasted salmon, vegetables and boiled potatoes (salmão grillado) € 7.

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It’s nice to enjoy the sun and to view the hustle and bustle of the square.

Lisbon Praca da Figuera PastelariaTentacao

Not too many tourists here….

Lisbon Praca da Figueira Pastelaria a Videirinho

Pastelaria Videirinha

Another nice place to sit outside for lunch: ‘Pastelaria Videirinha‘ (‘little vineyard’), owner Filipe Barbosa is preparing the tables outside.

Lisbon Praca da Figueira Pastelaria A Videirinha menu outside

Pratos do dia

menu of the day from  € 3.80 – 5.00

Lisbon Praca da Figueira Pastelaria A Videirinha sopa soup

Soup (sopa)

Very tasty bean soup (sopa de feijado verde), a cheap replacement for a full meal (€ 0,95). Don’t be too surprised to see a Portuguese ordering a soup to finish the meal. Soups made from a variety of vegetables are commonly available, one of the most popular being caldo verde made from moderately thin potato purée, thinly chopped collard greens and slices of chouriço.

Praca da Figueria A Videirinha Restaurant bar Lisbon

Sightseeing Lisbon: Pasteis de Nata in Belém in a toy-like GoCar & hilly streets

A new, different and unique way to explore Lisbon: these tourist cars look like toys and if you’re driving one they make you laugh, sometimes out loud! People who see you driving start smiling or say ”Whow!”

GoCar Lisbon Rob and Julie

My friend Rob Plews (r) and I (I’m Julie Kruijs), December 2008. V

ery surprising is this car can talk, but not with a monotone voice. The unique GPS-system with a lovely lady (blond?) voice is really smart: she gives directions, cracks jokes and tells stories in English, Portuguese and French. Soon it will be available in Spanish and German. But you can turn it off if you like and listen to music. Car top-speed is 50km/h

GoCar office Lisbon Leonel Santos Soares and Joao Paiva Mendes

GoCar office Lisbon

Leonel Santos Soares and João Paiva Mendes in their office, Rua dos Douradores 16.

” When we started with GoCar Tours in September, 2 tourists told us after their tour that the police stopped their car. “Oh my God, did we do something wrong?” they wondered. “Are they going to fine us?” But no, the policemen simply wanted to know where they could rent one for themselves. Another GoCar customer, middle-aged, trundled back after his experience and said – “You have just knocked twenty years off my age!”

GoCar Lisbon Rob Plews near Park Principe Real

Rob Plews enjoys the little car 🙂

You can stop wherever you want for photos, grab a coffee or break for lunch. Or you can blaze your own trail and explore the city streets, neighborhoods and parks on your own.

GoCar Lisbon December 2008 hilly streets

Hilly streets of Lisbon

We decided to try out some hilly streets in Lisbon with this small car (it made it!), then we drove to Belém, where we enjoyed a few of Lisbon’s most celebrated custard tarts: Pasteis de Belém. No parking problems! We locked our cute little helmets up in the boot.

Lisbon Belem Pasteis

Pastel de Nata (portuguese egg tart pastry), delicious and famous!

Pasteis de Belém, Antiga Confeitaria, Rua de Belém 84-92. The recipe of Lisbon’s most celebrated custard tarts is still a well-kept secret….

As part of the GPS Tours Network, several exciting tours in Lisbon are available: one for the Central Baixa, for Belém, the Sao Jorge Castle or to the Expo. Rental rates: see Website GoCar Tours

GoCar Office Rua dos Douradores 16 Lisbon

GoCars, Rua dos Douradores 16. Open from 9AM to 6PM. Tel: (00351) 21 0967926 or (00351) 914275341. Email: reservation-pt@gocartours.com

Sightseeing Lisbon: eco friendly RedTour segways, 2 and 4 seat buggies or electric bicycles

Eco transport is new and available to tourists who visit Lisbon. The vehicles are equipped with a talking GPS guide, which provides directions and acts as your tour guide.

Buggies and segways Praca do Commercio

Praça do Comércio Lisbon, RedTour instructors meeting point. RedTour offers tours in Lisboa’s historical neighborhoods on electric vehicles: segways, 2 and 4 seat buggies and electric bicycles.

LisbonTourists with segway steps near Casa dos Bicos

Tourists are making pictures of tourists on Segway steps near Casa dos Bicos, 9 R. Afonso de Albuquerque Lisbon.

Lisbon police on segway steps

Be prepared to become a tourist attraction by yourself, like Portuguese policemen, Lisbon 2008.

Lisbon Buggies Praca do Comercio 2

Praça do Comércio Lisbon. RedTour operates everyday, from 09:00 to 19:00 (April-October) 09:00 to 17:00 (November-March), except Holidays. Meeting point Praça do Comércio /Terreiro do Paço or Largo dos Stephens (near Rua das Flores nº12). For reservations and further information call 00351 21 346 6259 or mail: info@redtourgps.com. Prices start from 6€ per hour, depending on the chosen vehicle. http://www.redtourgps.com/

Lisbon Red Tour car Mouraria

Lisbon Walker: guided walks through historical Lisbon

Lisbon has steadily built up an image of one of the world’s most interesting cities to visit. Its stunning location and historic significance is generously complemented by remarkable aesthetics, making it stand out as one of the few capital cities still human in pace and in scale.

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To discover Lisbon in the company of friendly and knowledgeable tour guides is the whole point of Lisbon Walker, overtaking the limitations of guidebooks to unveil the real personality of this unique location. All walking tours are in English.

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If you want to join one of the tour guides for a walk through Lisbon, just choose one of the historical tours on the Lisbon Walker Website and all you need to do is show up at the meeting point near Praça do Comércio, according to the timetable of the walks. Regular walking tour ticket (2008) – €15.00 per person/tour. Under 26, over 65, holders of Lisboa Card or valid tickets from TAP, CP or Sightseeing tours: €10.00 per person/tour. Children under 12 free tour. Each walk takes between 2 and 3 hours.

Lisbon Walker Fish Market

Fish Market

Lisbon Walker Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto

Lisbon walker Carmo Square

Square (Praça) do Carmo

Lisbon Walker Alfama

Alfama