Leaving our hotel, the Hotel Tivoli Lisboa, we headed into town with the intention of visiting the São Jorge Castle and the Alfama area of Lisbon.
En route, we stopped into the Church of São Domingos near Rossio. The interior of the church is somewhat damaged - I would guess from the 1755 Earthquake but I have yet to verify this.
From the Church of São Domingos, we began the journey to the São Jorge Castle. Part way up we stopped off at "Resto," a cafe/restaurant/bar, with outside seating for an early lunch. We both took salads - one tomato and mozarella, the other the greek salad. As it turns out, both were enjoyable and the glasses of house wine are generous sizes of decent wine for only 2Euro. We're not to savvy on Lisbon prices yet, but we didn't get the feeling we were being ripped off - esp with the views and location.
São Jorge Castle commands fantastic view over the city of Lisbon and is worth every step and the 5 euro entry fee. Perched on top of a hill above Lisbon city, São Jorge Castle boasts eleven towers including the Torre de Ulisses (The Tower of Ulysses) which houses a periscope after a design by Leonardo da Vinci which gives a 360 degree real-time view of the city.
Leaving the castle in the direction of Igreja de São Vincente de Fora which took us through the free graffiti area which is pictured right. While some of the artists clearly exhibit some talent, others such as those shown have used the oppurtunity to register their protest against a certain Mr Mugabe of Zimbabwe, whose image can be seen in the lower left hand side of the picture.
We had spied the Igreja de São Vincente de Fora from the vantage point of the São Jorge Castle and desired to see the church close up. The Renaissance church was built by the architect Felipe Terzi between 1582 and 1627. The façade is simple yet impressive as it harks back to a more-classical time. The interior is comprised of a wide nave and an impressive coffered ceiling.
After the Igreja de São Vincente de Fora, we headed round the corner to the Panteão Nacional. The domed building itself is as impressive front the outside as it is from the inside. The Panteão Nacional is home to marble cenotaphs to historic figures including Vasco da Gama and Henry the Navigator as well as General Humberto Delgado who was assasinated by the secret police in 1965. There is a lift to the top of the Panteão Nacional - but the brave (like us!) can walk it.
Having finished rummaging around the Panteão Nacional, we heading into the thicket of the Alfama area of Lisbon. The Alfama is a veritable warren of alleys, small streets and steps. One can picture people shaking hands across the street from one balcony to another. This is one of those places were it is simply best to wander. Get lost. Wander some more. Find your way back to where you needed to be. By accident by accident and getting a bit more lost in the process. And repeat ad infinatum. Just enter and enjoy it. Enough said, me things.
Emerging from the Alfama, we came across the Se Catedral de Lisboa (pictured) - seat of the Patriarchate of Lisbon. The Romanesque cathedral was built in 1150 after the capture of the city from the Moors. While the 2003 Lonely Planet is somewhat disapraging about the Se, we found the Cathedral to well worth visiting in spite of the extensive restoration that has been undertaken on the church. The Cloister of the church plays home to an excavation site which shows evidence of Iron Age, Roman, Islamic habitation on the site before the Cathedral was built.
Lisbon - Castelo de São Jorge - Brief historical notes on the Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon - Se Catedral de Lisboa - Historical notes on the Cathedral of Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon - Igreja de Santa Engrácia - Panteão Nacional - Historical information on Igreja de Santa Engrácia - Panteão Nacional, Lisbon, Portugal
Weekend in Lisbon - Plan for a weekend in Lisbon December 2008
Day in Belem - Travelogue from a weekend in Lisbon, Portugual during December 2007
Spain - recommended hotels - Personally recommended hotels in and around Spain
Spain - The English Route (Camino Ingles) to Santiago - A highly provisional plan to travel the English Route of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Galicia, Spain
Spain - Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage resources - Online resources an information about the pilgramage route of The Way of St James ending in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain
France - Travel information on and about France
Salisbury Cathedral - a brief history - A short history of the iconic Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, England
|Name:||Igreja de Santa Engracia - Panteao Nacional|
Campo de Santa Clara, 1100-471 Lisbon
Largo Santo Antonio da Se, 1100-585 Lisbon
Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook