Lisbon is the largest city of Portugal and a delight in almost every way. We enjoyed the sights and tastes of Lisbon more than any place we visited on this journey, except Florence. Jim visited Lisbon in 1965 and again in 1966. Diane very much enjoyed her first visit.


Ancient Iberians were living in the area when Phoenicians founded the port town. The Greeks came to call it Olissipo, and in time the name shortened to Lisboa in the Portuguese language. Its most famous sight is the Torre Belem, or Bethlehem Tower, which greets visitors who arrive from the sea up the Tagus River.

The city was located in the Roman province of Lusitania, though not its capital. The Moors conquered the city in 711 and was reconquered by the first king of Portugal, Alfonso, in 1147. The University of Lisbon was founded in 1290, making it one of the oldest in Europe. Lisbon became a very rich city when Portugal began to form an empire in the 16th century.

The region around Lisbon is prone to earthquakes. The city was severely damaged by one in 1531. In 1755, it was all but demolished by a great earthquake which killed 90,000 people. The earthquake was followed by a tsunami which added to the destruction and death-toll. The Marquis de Pombal took control of the government and began rebuilding the city on a new plan . The Marquis later launched a “scientific” inquiry about the events surrounding the earthquake and compiled a huge amount of data in order to better understand and guard against future destruction. He is, therefore, often regarded as the father of modern seismology.

Lisbon is full of art and culture. It is perhaps most famous for its fado music. The fado is a folk-song that is mournful in character, usually about the sea, and is often combined with dancing akin to flamenco. Its origins are not certain. The city is filled with tile work that covers many houses and buildings, and its streets are paved with cobblestones in beautiful designs, especially in the hilly parts of the city. Lisbon is, like Rome, built on seven hills.


The Portuguese are a very proud people. They take special pride in their heroes of exploration and navigation. The great monument to Henry the Navigator (1394-1460 AD) commemorates a prince who, more than any other, inspired great exploratory efforts and eventually built up the Portuguese empire. Henry founded an observatory and personally led in the exploration of Africa down its west coast. But the monument recalls the many Portuguese who helped to shape the modern world.

| Florence | Rome | Monaco | Marseilles | Barcelona | Cadiz | Casablanca | Gibraltar | Lisbon |