Lisbon is famous for its hills, the “Fado” and the “Pastel de Nata” (custard tart). The city has been inhabited since the Neolithic Era, the Celtic people have established here as well as the Romans. Actually, legend says that Lisbon was founded by Ulysses and that’s why it was called Ollissipo.
In the VII century Lisbon was conquered by the Moorish and so it stayed until 1147 when the first Portuguese king, D. Afonso Henriques, who wanted to rule the world and conquered most of the territory that makes up Portugal today, entered the city and defeated the Moorish. In 1249 Portugal’s borders were defined and remain the same until today making it the oldest nation in Europe.
During the Dark Ages the city expanded and became an important harbor but it was during the XV and XVI centuries, with our maritime expansion, called “The Discoveries” that Lisbon thrived. In 1494 the Tordesilhas Treaty was signed and it effectively divided the world in half: half for the Portuguese, half for the Spanish. We then got on our boats and headed for the unknown, discovering the maritime rout to India, Brazil, a lot of countries in Africa, Timor, Macau and even getting so far as Japan!
We were bold back then and it paid off! But, as everyone knows, fame doesn’t last forever, we lost our importance and in 1755 a major earthquake followed by a huge tsunami hit Lisbon and most of the city’s old town was gone.
However, a man called Marquês de Pombal took on the hard work of rebuilding the city and he’s the one responsible for building “Baixa” (downtown). Some of you probably don’t know that most of this neighbourhood stands on wooden poles set on the river bed!
Life went on and in 1910 there was a regicide, King D. Carlos and his son D. Luis I were murdered in Lisbon and the Republic was established. Between 1933 until 1974 Portugal was ruled by Salazar, our own dictator, whose regime was overthrown with a military revolution that happened on the 25th of April of 1974 and since then Portugal’s been a democracy.
Throughout the centuries Lisbon has been, and still is, a melting pot and an intercultural exchange of all sorts where travelers are made to feel at home. We hope the curiosity that has attracted so many over this city’s many, many years will seduce you to pay us a visit soon!