Lisbon, the city of two seas

Lisbon, the city of two seas

If you are looking for a tourist destination within Europe, with a strong traditional element at all levels - architecture, gastronomy, aesthetics - then choose Lisbon. A city-melting pot of civilizations and peculiar details, whose gaze is on the Atlantic but its heart beats in the Mediterranean.

This capital has been claimed by many over the centuries. Romans, Teutons, Moors, Spaniards, and French all embarked for a few years or even decades in this corner of Portugal, where its geographical location and its morphology especially made it special. Of course, the Portuguese, as well known, have been pioneering explorers and, of course, colonialists - being powerful merchants - which has influenced and continues to influence the country's history in a way.



How does her historical reference relate to today?

Lisbon is a multicultural city whose population is a mosaic of locals, Africans, Brazilians, Asians from Macau and Indians from Goa. That is, residents of former colonies of the Portuguese. This mix of cultures is a special feature of the Iberian Peninsula, but its traces in Lisbon are hiding behind every corner, every note and every taste.

When someone walks in the streets of the city he will see - with the exception of the Alfama neighborhood of Arabia - buildings built after the great earthquake of 1755, an earthquake calculated today at 9 Richter! It was devastating for the city, but it led to an impressive reconstruction with straight streets and impressive well-preserved buildings.

However, the various architectural and technological achievements you will undoubtedly capture in Lisbon are not compared to the innumerable tones of azulejos - colorful ceramic tiles - that adorn the old city, the taste of local sweets, the smell of traditional dishes that if not another is interwoven with the fish, but also with the sounds of the folk songs of the country. And all this, as you will see, is no more than the traces left and left by its various cultures.


A few words about the journey of the sensations that open-heartedness brings to Lisbon

This special touch of each city, is what the traveler usually carries with him on the way back. In the case of Lisbon, this is the price - in my opinion at least - the famous azulejos, which with great craftsmanship craftsmen have 'worn' buildings in the old city. These are handmade ceramic tiles, the name, as well as the technique of their construction, comes from the Arabs. In particular, the word is derived from Arabic al zulayj, meaning, what else, "polished stone".



Although the technique of making such tiles counts several centuries back, only in the 18th and 19th centuries fashion came to recommend the decoration of entire facades and facades of buildings with these tiles. Performances, drawings and color options are endless and impressive.

From this list we can not omit the very large variety of dishes offered by the local shops. Petiscos, initially, have been described as the answer to Spanish tapas. These are baked snacks, usually fried, reminiscent of croquettes. Filling among others makes the difference, so we suggest those with cod. You will also find olive, octopus or plain bread. However, fish - and especially cod - here has its honor.

Lisbon was the city that became the easternmost cod in response to the problem of fish conservation. It is said, as a sign of relationship and dissertation with the species, that there is a recipe with cod for every day of the year! Here is the authentic sause that often accompanies the seafood, Bulhao Pato, made with coriander, garlic, white wine and lemon.



A typical dish of their kitchen is also the fried green beans, where the quintessence of a frying-panning technique spread by the Portuguese to the Japanese in the 16th century.

Lisbon also honors rice. In total, the country is the number one in rice consumption per inhabitant in Europe, which means that menus often include many rice dishes. They are usually wet soup-like pizzas, like in the arroz de marisco, a dish that reminds a fish stew with a bunch of rice.

In pastelerias you will find freshly squeezed juices with tropical fruits that remind more of Brazil than the Mediterranean. From pastries stand out pasteis de nata, inspired vanilla tartlets with caramelized coating. It's hard to stick in one ...

In the tour of the senses a distinct place have fados, not only for tourists but also for locals much more. Fados are popular songs of the country interpreted by prominent singers either on the streets of the city or under the cover of casa de fados. They stand out for the intense melancholy they express. They talk about the sea, the lives of the poor, and their roots are knit in the music of the slaves of Africa, the Portuguese sailors and the Arabs.

Fados are synonymous with popular perception with yet another word that may sound familiar even to our ears. The saudade, which the great performer Cesaria Ivora made with her homonymous song made her widely known. It means a kind of expectation, but also nostalgia, along with pain, happiness and love. A word that can say a lot, perhaps, to all peoples who have historically experienced uprooting, the absence of men from their homes, but also hope.


What are the must see sights of beautiful Lisbon?

In order to understand the geography of the city, we will start from a not so historic or old project, but from a technological epitome, the Suspended Bridge of 25th April. This bridge crosses the Tagus River, on the northern banks of which Lisbon is built, and connects it with the city of Almada, which is opposite.



In beauty it reaches San Francisco's famous Golden Gate, as it looks pretty much in design and color. It was inaugurated in 1966, and a train transfer platform was added 33 years later. Its total size is 2.277 meters. But there is another bridge named after the great explorer Vasco da Gama, which, although much longer in length, looks simply less impressive because of its different form.

In the city of Lisbon dominates the Avenue of Freedom around which the landmarks of the city are centered. It is the most central avenue with a large pavement decorated with masons, while it is decorated with scattered gardens. Southeast of the Avenue is the Restauradores Square, dedicated to restoring the country's independence from the Spaniards in 1640, after 60 years of occupation.

On the northwest side of the boulevard there is the circular Marquis of Pombal Square and behind it the Eduardo VII park, the English King, whose visit to the city in 1902 was linked to the tightening of the two countries' relations.

At the top of Alfama, the city's tumultuous neighborhood, dominates the castle of St. George. You can not see it and you can not miss it. In the era of the Iberian Arabs the castle was used as a royal residence. In 1147, however, the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, was captured by the help of northern European crusaders. In honor of the cooperation in the castle was given the name of the patron saint of England.

Although the earthquake of 1755 left its traces strongly and in the castle, a significant part of it still continues to guard the city. Climb up to its towers and enjoy the magical view of the city.



On the right bank of the Tagus River, in Belem, there is a monumental emblem of the Age of Great Discoveries, the Belem Tower or Torre de Belem. It was built in 1515 as a fortification of the city and its architectural line dominates Moorish influences. The view from the inside of the fortress is panoramic and of course astonishing.

In the same area, and not at random, there is the imposing Memorial of Explorations. It is located at the mouth of the river, at the point where the ships were departing for the unknown countries. On the monument stand 33 statues of important explorers, cartographers, artists, scientists and of course missionaries.

Of course the list does not end here. It is enriched as long as the journey continues.


Aggeliki Koskeridou

Holistic Doctor – Counseling Psychotherapist

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

MSc c. Health Psychology

insta: dr_aggelikikoskeridou_official 

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