Ever wanted to break out of the daily hum-drum of life and just observe you soaking in every moment of it? Exploring history and culture throughout the day, just being carried from one dream to another and then simply relaxing by the beach, absorbing and probably making notes of all the things that you have done throughout the day? A city offering a night life worth exploring, a city that allows you to laze through the day, waking up to the sounds of seagulls? If you want to get in touch with a bit of the explorer in you, a bit of the laziness lost in your busy life, absorb history through monuments that have witnessed the earliest explorers on this earth, then Lisbon is the place to be!
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal. A city that has not lost its charm or its lazy ways of life inspite of being the eighth most visited city in Europe. Though the best way to explore a city is to simply get lost and interact with the locals and soak in as much as you can about a place. There are seven hills that make the city of Lisbon a unique place with the Atlantic Ocean not far from the city. People in Lisbon are friendly and love to interact with each other without being worried about the pace of life, creating altogether another rhythm. You may be short on time but here are three things that you must do when in Lisbon, a city that is situated at the mouth of the river Tagus.
A resting place for the world’s one of the earliest explorers, Vasco da Gama spent his last night here in prayer before setting foot into the unknown. Vasco da Gama found India at the end of this journey. UNESCO has given Jeronimos Monastery the status of a world’s heritage site stating that the monument is a pinnacle in Portuguese art. The monument was built by King Manuel I in 1502 to commemorate the voyage undertaken by Vasco da Gama and thank the Virgin Mary for its success. Vasco da Gama’s tomb is placed inside, near the entrance. Also, it is home to the tomb of the epic poet Luis de Camoes, who in his epic The Lusiads has glorified the triumphs of Vasco da Gama. There are tombs of other popular figures of Portuguese history like King Sebastiao and King Mauel and poets Alexandre Herculano and Fernando Pessoa housed in the monastery.
No trip to Lisbon is complete without visiting the Belem Tower. Built in 1515 in Manueline style to guard Lisbon harbor’s entrance, the Belem tower in the fortress was a last sight of their homeland for many a sailors and a starting point for many voyages that led to great discoveries that laid the foundation of the modern world. Belem Tower too is a world heritage site that has stonework motifs showing events from the Discoveries, sculptures depicting the historical figure of St.Vincent.
St. George’s Castle
The castle is visible almost from every part of the city. You can view the whole city from the walls of the castle, dating as far back as the 6th century. It has been home to the Romans followed by the Visigoths and finally the Moors. It was captured by the Portuguese king Afonso Henriques in 1147. In 1371 it was dedicated to the patron saint of England, St. George. There is a restaurant in Alcacovas Palace and a small museum.
If you are somebody who loves history you must visit these places in Lisbon, though the city has much to offer beyond history!