02 March 2010

Restauradores Plaza, Lisbon - guest article

My husband and I lived for a few years in Britain and we know France, Italy and Spain from long visits, but I am embarrassed to say that we've never visited Portugal. Thus I am delighted to introduce readers to a Lisbon-based guest blogger.

Joao selected his own topic but as it happens, he selected very well. The square's name refers to the time of the restoration in 1640, the reestablishment of Portuguese independence after decades of Spanish rule. The successful revolt against Spain is still celebrated today, in the Praça dos Restauradores, as a national holiday. If I get a chance to be in Lisbon, December will be the most exciting time. Now, over to Joao.
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In this guest post let me take you on a small walk on the surroundings of my favourite square in Lisbon's downtown, the Restauradores Plaza. Very easy to reach using the subway, this spot it is home to several beautiful pieces of architecture. The Avenida Palace Hotel building is for me the one that marks the place - built more than a hundred years ago, it is neo-classic style is still nowadays absolutely amazing.

Avenida Palace

Walking only a few dozen metres, we can stop at the Rossio's Plaza entrance. Surrounded by a set of very old buildings (dated from around 1800) it is a very nice place to visit - special attention to the Theatre building (in the photo to the left) and to the view of the castle.

Named after Saint George, the castle is called "Castelo de São Jorge" in Portuguese and the fortress itself is also a must see place - very well preserved and with one of the best Lisbon views. In a more historical note it was originally called the Moorish Castle and it was conquered by the first Portuguese king, D. Afonso Henriques, in 1147 after resisting a siege for more than three months.

Castle

Another thing we can always count on appreciating when in Lisbon are the long hours of sun that make the city so warm. Of course in the summer it maybe a bit too warm but still the city has many, many patios and small plazas like the one bellow (behind Rossio's Central Train Station) who hold lots of coffee shops where one can rest for a while and enjoy a refreshing ice cream or a nice cold beer.

Patios

Well, for now it's all. It was a pleasure sharing with you this small piece of my town. Hope you liked the mini-tour and I'm counting with some of you to increase our tourist numbers here in Lisbon ok ;)

Regards & Cheers,
Joao
Vacation and Travel Photos

6 comments:

J Bar said...

Wonderful shots.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

P. M. Doolan said...

My wife and I take a romantic long weekend without the kids every year in June. Last year we went to Lisbon. Our hotel was on the hillside opposite the castle, with an uninterupted view acorss the old town to the castle. It was simply magical. This posting brought back happy memories.

SGE said...

I'm very happy you liked my hometown Lisbon!

Must talk to Helen and write another guest post one of this days.

Maybe one adding a few more steps to this little downtown walk :)

Cheers!

Malik said...

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student of history said...

I have studied quite a lot of Spanish history, but very little about Portugal. They were once equal powers in the world, so why did Portugal disappear from being a world power?

Hels said...

Student

I have just returned home from Portugal and had an amazing time. It is a beautiful country, well proud of its international history.

I suppose in the end, Portugal was too small an area with too small a population to rule half the world outside Europe (Spain was given the other half). The Portuguese were amazing sailors, explorers, merchants and scientists, but that was enough to launch foreign colonies, not sustain them over centuries.

When resources were limited, Portugal gave priority to its needs at home and to the needs of its much smaller international empire.

Or perhaps there is another explanation. After all the Netherlands also had a tiny country and a small population, yet they too became a dominant power for a long time.