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Siege of Lisbon, 1147 CE



Siege of Lisbon

The Siege of Lisbon occurred from 1 July to 25 October 1147 during the Reconquista, when the Portuguese king Afonso Henriques - aided by the knights of the Second Crusade - conquered the major city of Lisbon (al-Ushbuna) from the Almoravid Moors. The city fell after a siege of almost four months, and its population of over 154,000 men (plus women and children) was massacred and the city pillaged afterwards, most of the Crusaders went on to settle in the city, which became the capital of Portugal in 1255.


The History Of The Siege of Lisbon

What happens when the facts of history are replaced by the mysteries of love?

When Raimundo Silva, a lowly proofreader for a Lisbon publishing house, inserts a negative into a sentence of a historical text, he alters the whole course of the 1147 Siege of Lisbon. Fearing censure he is met instead with admiration: Dr Maria Sara, his voluptuous new editor, encourages him to pen his own alternative history. As his retelling draws on all his imaginative powers, Silva finds – to his nervous delight – that if the facts of the past can be rewritten as a romance then so can the details of his own dusty bachelor present.

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Lisbon's name may have been derived from Proto-Celtic or Celtic Olisippo, Lissoppo, or a similar name which other visiting peoples like the ancient Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans adapted accordingly, such as the pre-Roman appellation for the Tagus River, Lisso or Lucio. Classical authors writing in Latin and Greek, including Strabo, Solinus, and Martianus Capella, [18] [19] referred to popular legends that the city of Lisbon was founded by the mythical hero Ulysses (Odysseus). [20] [21] Lisbon's name was written Ulyssippo in Latin by the geographer Pomponius Mela, a native of Hispania. It was later referred to as "Olisippo" by Pliny the Elder and by the Greeks as Olissipo (Ὀλισσιπών) or Olissipona (Ὀλισσιπόνα). [22] [23]

Another claim repeated in non-academic literature is that the name of Lisbon could be traced back to Phoenician times, referring to a supposedly Phoenician term Alis-Ubo, meaning "safe harbour". [24] Although modern archaeological excavations show a Phoenician presence at this location since 1200 BC, [25] this folk etymology has no historical credibility.

Lisbon's name is commonly abbreviated as "LX" or "Lx", originating in an antiquated spelling of Lisbon as ‘‘Lixbõa’’. [26] While the old spelling has since been completely dropped from usage and goes against modern language standards, the abbreviation is still commonly used.

Origins Edit

During the Neolithic period, the region was inhabited by Pre-Celtic tribes, who built religious and funerary monuments, megaliths, dolmens and menhirs, which still survive in areas on the periphery of Lisbon. [27] The Indo-European Celts invaded in the 1st millennium BC, mixing with the Pre-Indo-European population, thus giving rise to Celtic-speaking local tribes such as the Cempsi.

Although the first fortifications on Lisbon's Castelo hill are known to be no older than the 2nd century BC, recent archaeological finds have shown that Iron Age people occupied the site from the 8th to 6th centuries BC. [28] [29] [30] This indigenous settlement maintained commercial relations with the Phoenicians, which would account for the recent findings of Phoenician pottery and other material objects. Archaeological excavations made near the Castle of São Jorge (Castelo de São Jorge) and Lisbon Cathedral indicate a Phoenician presence at this location since 1200 BC, [25] and it can be stated with confidence that a Phoenician trading post stood on a site [31] [32] now the centre of the present city, on the southern slope of Castle hill. [33] The sheltered harbour in the Tagus River estuary was an ideal spot for an Iberian settlement and would have provided a secure harbour for unloading and provisioning Phoenician ships. [34] The Tagus settlement was an important centre of commercial trade with the inland tribes, providing an outlet for the valuable metals, salt and salted-fish they collected, and for the sale of the Lusitanian horses renowned in antiquity.

According to a persistent legend, the location was named for the mythical Ulysses, who founded the city when he sailed westward to the ends of the known world. [35]

Roman era Edit

Following the defeat of Hannibal in 202 BC during the Punic wars, the Romans determined to deprive Carthage of its most valuable possession: Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula). The defeat of Carthaginian forces by Scipio Africanus in Eastern Hispania allowed the pacification of the west, led by Consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus. Decimus obtained the alliance of Olissipo (which sent men to fight alongside the Roman Legions against the northwestern Celtic tribes) by integrating it into the empire, as the Municipium Cives Romanorum Felicitas Julia. Local authorities were granted self-rule over a territory that extended 50 kilometres (31 miles) exempt from taxes, its citizens were given the privileges of Roman citizenship, [17] and it was then integrated with the Roman province of Lusitania (whose capital was Emerita Augusta).

Lusitanian raids and rebellions during Roman occupation required the construction of a wall around the settlement. During Augustus' reign, the Romans also built a great theatre the Cassian Baths (underneath Rua da Prata) temples to Jupiter, Diana, Cybele, Tethys and Idea Phrygiae (an uncommon cult from Asia Minor), in addition to temples to the Emperor a large necropolis under Praça da Figueira a large forum and other buildings such as insulae (multi-storied apartment buildings) in the area between Castle Hill and the historic city core. Many of these ruins were first unearthed during the mid-18th century (when the recent discovery of Pompeii made Roman archaeology fashionable among Europe's upper classes).

The city prospered as piracy was eliminated and technological advances were introduced, consequently Felicitas Julia became a center of trade with the Roman provinces of Britannia (particularly Cornwall) and the Rhine. Economically strong, Olissipo was known for its garum (a fish sauce highly prized by the elites of the empire and exported in amphorae to Rome), wine, salt, and horse-breeding, while Roman culture permeated the hinterland. The city was connected by a broad road to Western Hispania's two other large cities, Bracara Augusta in the province of Tarraconensis (Portuguese Braga), and Emerita Augusta, the capital of Lusitania. The city was ruled by an oligarchical council dominated by two families, the Julii and the Cassiae, although regional authority was administered by the Roman Governor of Emerita or directly by Emperor Tiberius. Among the majority of Latin speakers lived a large minority of Greek traders and slaves.

Olissipo, like most great cities in the Western Empire, was a center for the dissemination of Christianity. Its first attested Bishop was Potamius (c. 356), and there were several martyrs during the period of persecution of the Christians: Verissimus, Maxima, and Julia are the most significant examples. By the time of the Fall of Rome, Olissipo had become a notable Christian center.

Middle Ages Edit

Following the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire, there were barbarian invasions between 409 and 429 the city was occupied successively by Sarmatians, Alans and Vandals. The Germanic Suebi, who established a kingdom in Gallaecia (modern Galicia and northern Portugal), with its capital in Bracara Augusta, also controlled the region of Lisbon until 585. In 585, the Suebi Kingdom was integrated into the Germanic Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo, which comprised all of the Iberian Peninsula: Lisbon was then called Ulishbona.

On 6 August 711, Lisbon was taken by Muslim forces. These conquerors, who were mostly Berbers and Arabs from North Africa and the Middle East, built many mosques and houses, rebuilt the city wall (known as the Cerca Moura) and established administrative control, while permitting the diverse population (Muwallad, Mozarabs, Berbers, Arabs, Jews, Zanj and Saqaliba) to maintain their socio-cultural lifestyles. Mozarabic was the native language spoken by most of the Christian population although Arabic was widely known as spoken by all religious communities. Islam was the official religion practised by the Arabs, Berbers, Zanj, Saqaliba and Muwallad (muwalladun).

The Muslim influence is still visible in the Alfama district, an old quarter of Lisbon that survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake: many place-names are derived from Arabic and the Alfama (the oldest existing district of Lisbon) was derived from the Arabic "al-hamma " .

For a brief time, Lisbon was an independent Muslim kingdom known as the Taifa of Lisbon (1022–1094), before being conquered by the larger Taifa of Badajoz.

In 1108 Lisbon was raided and occupied by Norwegian crusaders led by Sigurd I on their way to the Holy Land as part of the Norwegian Crusade and occupied by crusader forces for three years. [37] It was taken by the Moorish Almoravids in 1111.

In 1147, as part of the Reconquista, crusader knights led by Afonso I of Portugal besieged and reconquered Lisbon. The city, with around 154,000 residents at the time, was returned to Christian rule. The reconquest of Portugal and re-establishment of Christianity is one of the most significant events in Lisbon's history, described in the chronicle Expugnatione Lyxbonensi, which describes, among other incidents, how the local bishop was killed by the crusaders and the city's residents prayed to the Virgin Mary as it happened. Some of the Muslim residents converted to Roman Catholicism and most of those who did not convert fled to other parts of the Islamic world, primarily Muslim Spain and North Africa. All mosques were either completely destroyed or converted into churches. As a result of the end of Muslim rule, spoken Arabic quickly lost its place in the everyday life of the city and disappeared altogether.

With its central location, Lisbon became the capital city of the new Portuguese territory in 1255. The first Portuguese university was founded in Lisbon in 1290 by King Denis I for many years the Studium Generale (General Study) was transferred intermittently to Coimbra, where it was installed permanently in the 16th century as the University of Coimbra.

In 1384, the city was besieged by King Juan I of Castille, as a part of the ongoing 1383–1385 Crisis. The result of the siege was a victory for the Portuguese led by Nuno Álvares Pereira.

During the last centuries of the Middle Ages, the city expanded substantially and became an important trading post with both Northern European and Mediterranean cities.

Early Modern Edit

Most of the Portuguese expeditions of the Age of Discovery left Lisbon during the period from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century, including Vasco da Gama's expedition to India in 1498. In 1506, 3,000 Jews were massacred in Lisbon. [38] The 16th century was Lisbon's golden era: the city was the European hub of commerce between Africa, India, the Far East and later, Brazil, and acquired great riches by exploiting the trade in spices, slaves, sugar, textiles and other goods. This period saw the rise of the exuberant Manueline style in architecture, which left its mark in many 16th-century monuments (including Lisbon's Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, which were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites). A description of Lisbon in the 16th century was written by Damião de Góis and published in 1554. [39]

The succession crisis of 1580, initiated a sixty-year period of dual monarchy in Portugal and Spain under the Spanish Habsburgs. [40] [41] This is referred to as the "Philippine Dominion" (Domínio Filipino), since all three Spanish kings during that period were called Philip (Filipe). In 1589 Lisbon was the target of an incursion by the English Armada led by Francis Drake, while Queen Elizabeth supported a Portuguese pretender in Antonio, Prior of Crato, but support for Crato was lacking and the expedition was a failure. The Portuguese Restoration War, which began with a coup d'état organised by the nobility and bourgeoisie in Lisbon and executed on 1 December 1640, restored Portuguese independence. The period from 1640 to 1668 was marked by periodic skirmishes between Portugal and Spain, as well as short episodes of more serious warfare until the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 1668.

In the early 18th century, gold from Brazil allowed King John V to sponsor the building of several Baroque churches and theatres in the city. Prior to the 18th century, Lisbon had experienced several significant earthquakes – eight in the 14th century, five in the 16th century (including the 1531 earthquake that destroyed 1,500 houses and the 1597 earthquake in which three streets vanished), and three in the 17th century.

On 1 November 1755, the city was destroyed by another devastating earthquake, which killed an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Lisbon residents [42] of a population estimated at between 200,000 and 275,000, [43] [44] and destroyed 85 percent of the city's structures. [45] Among several important buildings of the city, the Ribeira Palace and the Hospital Real de Todos os Santos were lost. In coastal areas, such as Peniche, situated about 80 km (50 mi) north of Lisbon, many people were killed by the following tsunami.

By 1755, Lisbon was one of the largest cities in Europe the catastrophic event shocked the whole of Europe and left a deep impression on its collective psyche. Voltaire wrote a long poem, Poême sur le désastre de Lisbonne, shortly after the quake, and mentioned it in his 1759 novel Candide (indeed, many argue that this critique of optimism was inspired by that earthquake). Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. also mentions it in his 1857 poem, The Deacon's Masterpiece, or The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay.

After the 1755 earthquake, the city was rebuilt largely according to the plans of Prime Minister Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the 1st Marquis of Pombal the lower town began to be known as the Baixa Pombalina (Pombaline central district). Instead of rebuilding the medieval town, Pombal decided to demolish what remained after the earthquake and rebuild the city centre in accordance with principles of modern urban design. It was reconstructed in an open rectangular plan with two great squares: the Praça do Rossio and the Praça do Comércio. The first, the central commercial district, is the traditional gathering place of the city and the location of the older cafés, theatres and restaurants the second became the city's main access to the River Tagus and point of departure and arrival for seagoing vessels, adorned by a triumphal arch (1873) and a monument to King Joseph I.

Modern era Edit

In the first years of the 19th century, Portugal was invaded by the troops of Napoléon Bonaparte, forcing Queen Maria I and Prince-Regent John (future John VI) to flee temporarily to Brazil. By the time the new King returned to Lisbon, many of the buildings and properties were pillaged, sacked or destroyed by the invaders.

During the 19th century, the Liberal movement introduced new changes into the urban landscape. The principal areas were in the Baixa and along the Chiado district, where shops, tobacconists shops, cafés, bookstores, clubs and theatres proliferated. The development of industry and commerce determined the growth of the city, seeing the transformation of the Passeio Público, a Pombaline era park, into the Avenida da Liberdade, as the city grew farther from the Tagus.

Lisbon was the site of the regicide of Carlos I of Portugal in 1908, an event which culminated two years later in the establishment of the First Republic.

The city refounded its university in 1911 after centuries of inactivity in Lisbon, incorporating reformed former colleges and other non-university higher education schools of the city (such as the Escola Politécnica – now Faculdade de Ciências). Today there are two public universities in the city (University of Lisbon and New University of Lisbon), a public university institute (ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute) and a polytechnic institute (IPL – Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa).

During World War II, Lisbon was one of the very few neutral, open European Atlantic ports, a major gateway for refugees to the U.S. and a haven for spies. More than 100,000 refugees were able to flee Nazi Germany via Lisbon. [46]

During the Estado Novo regime (1926–1974), Lisbon was expanded at the cost of other districts within the country, resulting in nationalist and monumental projects. New residential and public developments were constructed the zone of Belém was modified for the 1940 Portuguese Exhibition, while along the periphery new districts appeared to house the growing population. The inauguration of the bridge over the Tagus allowed a rapid connection between both sides of the river.

Lisbon was the site of three revolutions in the 20th century. The first, the 5 October 1910 revolution, brought an end to the Portuguese monarchy and established the highly unstable and corrupt Portuguese First Republic. The 6 June 1926 revolution would see the end of that first republic and firmly establish the Estado Novo, or the Portuguese Second Republic, as the ruling regime.

Contemporary Edit

The Carnation Revolution, which took place on 25 April 1974, ended the right-wing Estado Novo regime and reformed the country to become as it is today, the Portuguese Third Republic.

In the 1990s, many of the districts were renovated and projects in the historic quarters were established to modernise those areas, for instance, architectural and patrimonial buildings were renovated, the northern margin of the Tagus was re-purposed for leisure and residential use, the Vasco da Gama Bridge was constructed and the eastern part of the municipality was re-purposed for Expo '98 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama's sea voyage to India, a voyage that would bring immense riches to Lisbon and cause many of Lisbon's landmarks to be built.

In 1988, a fire in the historical district of Chiado saw the destruction of many 18th-century Pombaline style buildings. A series of restoration works has brought the area back to its former self and made it a high-scale shopping district.

The Lisbon Agenda was a European Union agreement on measures to revitalise the EU economy, signed in Lisbon in March 2000. In October 2007 Lisbon hosted the 2007 EU Summit, where an agreement was reached regarding a new EU governance model. The resulting Treaty of Lisbon was signed on 13 December 2007 and came into force on 1 December 2009.

Lisbon has been the site for many international events and programmes. In 1994, Lisbon was the European Capital of Culture. On 3 November 2005, Lisbon hosted the MTV European Music Awards. On 7 July 2007, Lisbon held the ceremony of the "New 7 Wonders Of The World" [47] election, in the Luz Stadium, with live transmission for millions of people all over the world. Every two years, Lisbon hosts the Rock in Rio Lisboa Music Festival, one of the largest in the world. Lisbon hosted the NATO summit (19–20 November 2010), a summit meeting that is regarded as a periodic opportunity for Heads of State and Heads of Government of NATO member states to evaluate and provide strategic direction for Alliance activities. [48] The city hosts the Web Summit and is the head office for the Group of Seven Plus (G7+). In 2018 it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time as well as the Michelin Gala. [49] On 11 July 2018, the Aga Khan officially chose the Henrique de Mendonça Palace, located on Rua Marquês de Fronteira, as the Divan, or seat, of the global Nizari Muslim Imamate. [50] [51]

Physical geography Edit

The westernmost part of Lisbon is occupied by the Monsanto Forest Park, a 10 km 2 (4 sq mi) urban park, one of the largest in Europe, and occupying 10% of the municipality.

The city occupies an area of 100.05 km 2 (39 sq mi), and its city boundaries, unlike those of most major cities, coincide with those of the municipality. [52] The rest of the urbanised area of the Lisbon urban area, known generically as Greater Lisbon (Portuguese: Grande Lisboa) includes several administratively defined cities and municipalities, in the north bank of the Tagus River. The larger Lisbon metropolitan area includes the Setúbal Peninsula to the south.

Climate Edit

Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) [53] with mild, rainy winters and warm to hot, dry summers. The average annual temperature is 17.4 °C (63.3 °F), 21.3 °C (70.3 °F) during the day and 13.5 °C (56.3 °F) at night.

In the coldest month – January – the highest temperature during the day typically ranges from 11 to 19 °C (52 to 66 °F), the lowest temperature at night ranges from 3 to 13 °C (37 to 55 °F) and the average sea temperature is 16 °C (61 °F). [54] In the warmest month – August – the highest temperature during the day typically ranges from 25 to 32 °C (77 to 90 °F), the lowest temperature at night ranges from 14 to 20 °C (57 to 68 °F) and the average sea temperature is around 20 °C (68 °F). [54]

Among European capitals, Lisbon ranks among those with the warmest winters and has the mildest winter nights out of any major European city, with an average of 8.3 °C (46.9 °F) in the coldest month, and 18.6 °C (65.5 °F) in the warmest month. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Lisbon was −1.2 °C (30 °F) in February 1956. The highest temperature ever recorded in Lisbon was 44.0 °C (111.2 °F) on 4 August 2018. [55]

The city has around 2,806 hours of sunshine per year, averaging 4.6 hours of sunshine per day in December and 11.4 hours of sunshine per day in July, though when disregarding the duration of the day August is actually the sunniest, with over 80% chance of direct sunlight hitting the ground. [56]

Lisbon has around 750 mm (30 in) of precipitation per year. November and December are the wettest months, accounting for a third of the total annual precipitation. July and August are the driest. [57]

Civil parishes Edit

The municipality of Lisbon included 53 freguesias (civil parishes) until November 2012. A new law ("Lei n.º 56/2012") reduced the number of freguesias to the following 24: [59]

Neighborhoods Edit

Locally, Lisbon's inhabitants may commonly refer to the spaces of Lisbon in terms of historic Bairros de Lisboa (neighbourhoods). These communities have no clearly defined boundaries and represent distinctive quarters of the city that have in common a historical culture, similar living standards, and identifiable architectural landmarks, as exemplified by the Bairro Alto, Alfama, Chiado, and so forth.

Alcântara Edit

Although today it is quite central, it was once a mere suburb of Lisbon, comprising mostly farms and country estates of the nobility with their palaces. In the 16th century, there was a brook there which the nobles used to promenade in their boats. During the late 19th century, Alcântara became a popular industrial area, with many small factories and warehouses.

In the early 1990s, Alcântara began to attract youth because of the number of pubs and discothèques. This was mainly due to its outer area of mostly commercial buildings, which acted as barriers to the noise-generating nightlife (which acted as a buffer to the residential communities surrounding it). In the meantime, some of these areas began to become gentrified, attracting loft developments and new flats, which have profited from its river views and central location.

The riverfront of Alcântara is known for its nightclubs and bars. The area is commonly known as docas (docks), since most of the clubs and bars are housed in converted dock warehouses.

Alfama Edit

The oldest district of Lisbon, it spreads down the southern slope from the Castle of São Jorge to the River Tagus. Its name, derived from the Arabic Al-hamma, means fountains or baths. During the Islamic invasion of Iberia, the Alfama constituted the largest part of the city, extending west to the Baixa neighbourhood. Increasingly, the Alfama became inhabited by fishermen and the poor: its fame as a poor neighbourhood continues to this day. While the 1755 Lisbon earthquake caused considerable damage throughout the capital, the Alfama survived with little damage, thanks to its compact labyrinth of narrow streets and small squares.

It is a historical quarter of mixed-use buildings occupied by Fado bars, restaurants, and homes with small shops downstairs. Modernising trends have invigorated the district: old houses have been re-purposed or remodelled, while new buildings have been constructed. Fado, the typically Portuguese style of melancholy music, is common (but not obligatory) in the restaurants of the district.

Mouraria Edit

The Mouraria, or Moorish quarter, is one of the most traditional neighbourhoods of Lisbon, [60] although most of its old buildings were demolished by the Estado Novo between the 1930s and the 1970s. [61] It takes its name from the fact that after the reconquest of Lisbon, the Muslims who remained were confined to this part of the city. [62] In turn, the Jews were confined to three neighbourhoods called "Judiarias" [63]

Bairro Alto Edit

Bairro Alto (literally the upper quarter in Portuguese) is an area of central Lisbon that functions as a residential, shopping and entertainment district it is the center of the Portuguese capital's nightlife, attracting hipster youth and members of various music subcultures. Lisbon's Punk, Gay, Metal, Goth, Hip Hop and Reggae scenes all find a home in the Bairro with its many clubs and bars that cater to them. The crowds in the Bairro Alto are a multicultural mix of people representing a broad cross-section of modern Portuguese society, many of them being entertainment seekers and devotees of various music genres outside the mainstream, Fado, Portugal's national music, still survives in the midst of the new nightlife.

Baixa Edit

The heart of the city is the Baixa or city centre the Pombaline Baixa is an elegant district, primarily constructed after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, taking its name from its benefactor, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal, who was the minister of Joseph I of Portugal (1750–1777) and a key figure during the Portuguese Enlightenment. Following the 1755 disaster, Pombal took the lead in rebuilding Lisbon, imposing strict conditions and guidelines on the construction of the city, and transforming the organic street plan that characterised the district before the earthquake into its current grid pattern. As a result, the Pombaline Baixa is one of the first examples of earthquake-resistant construction. Architectural models were tested by having troops march around them to simulate an earthquake. Notable features of Pombaline structures include the Pombaline cage, a symmetrical wood-lattice framework aimed at distributing earthquake forces, and inter-terrace walls that were built higher than roof timbers to inhibit the spread of fires.

Beato Edit

The parish of Beato stands out for the new cultural dynamics it has been experiencing in recent years. The manufacturing districts and the industrial facilities by the riverside docks are the place of choice for contemporary art galleries, iconic bars, and gourmet restaurants that simmer in the streets. This reality has not gone unnoticed by the national press, and Visão, [64] TimeOut, [65] or Jornal de Negócios [66] have already made notice of this parish that hides treasures such as the National Museum of the Azulejo or the Palacio do Grilo.

Belém Edit

Belém is famous as the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery. In particular, it is the place from which Vasco da Gama departed for India in 1497 and Pedro Álvares Cabral departed for Brazil in 1499. It is also a former royal residence and features the 17th – 18th-century Belém Palace, a former royal residence now occupied by the President of Portugal, and the Ajuda Palace, begun in 1802 but never completed.

Perhaps Belém's most famous feature is its tower, Torre de Belém, whose image is much used by Lisbon's tourist board. The tower was built as a fortified lighthouse late in the reign of Dom Manuel l (1515–1520) to guard the entrance to the port. It stood on a little island on the right side of the Tagus, surrounded by water. Belém's other major historical building is the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery), which the Torre de Belém was built partly to defend. Belém's most notable modern feature is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) built for the Portuguese World Fair in 1940. In the heart of Belém is the Praça do Império: gardens centred upon a large fountain, laid out during World War II. To the west of the gardens lies the Centro Cultural de Belém. Belém is one of the most visited Lisbon districts. Here is located the Estádio do Restelo, house of Belenenses.

Chiado Edit

The Chiado is a traditional shopping area that mixes old and modern commercial establishments, concentrated specially in the Rua do Carmo and the Rua Garrett. Locals as well as tourists visit the Chiado to buy books, clothing and pottery as well as to have a cup of coffee. The most famous café of Chiado is A Brasileira, famous for having had poet Fernando Pessoa among its customers. The Chiado is also an important cultural area, with several museums and theatres, including the opera. Several buildings of the Chiado were destroyed in a fire in 1988, an event that deeply shocked the country. Thanks to a renovation project that lasted more than 10 years, coordinated by celebrated architect Siza Vieira, the affected area has now virtually recovered.

The ornate, late 18th-century Estrela Basilica is the main attraction of this district. The church with its large dome is located on a hill in what was at the time the western part of Lisbon and can be seen from great distances. The style is similar to that of the Mafra National Palace, late baroque and neoclassical. The façade has twin bell towers and includes statues of saints and some allegorical figures. São Bento Palace, the seat of the Portuguese parliament and the official residences of the Prime Minister of Portugal and the President of the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal, are in this district. Also in this district is Estrela Park, a favorite with families. There are exotic plants and trees, a duck pond, various sculptures, a children's playground, and many cultural events going on throughout the year, including outdoor cinema, markets, and music festivals.

Parque das Nações Edit

Parque das Nações (Park of Nations) is the newest district in Lisbon it emerged from an urban renewal program to host the 1998 World Exhibition of Lisbon, also known as Expo'98. The area suffered massive changes giving Parque das Nações a futuristic look. A long-lasting legacy of the same, the area has become another commercial and higher-end residential area for the city.

Central in the area is the Gare do Oriente (Orient railway station), one of the main transport hubs of Lisbon for trains, buses, taxis, and the metro. Its glass and steel columns are inspired by Gothic architecture, lending the whole structure a visual fascination (especially in sunlight or when illuminated at night). It was designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava from Valencia, Spain. The Parque das Nações is across the street.

The area is pedestrian-friendly with new buildings, restaurants, gardens, the Casino Lisbon, the FIL building (International Exhibition and Fair), the Camões Theatre and the Oceanário de Lisboa (Lisbon Oceanarium), which is the second-largest in the world. The district's Altice Arena has become Lisbon's "jack-of-all-trades" performance arena. Seating 20,000, it has staged events from concerts to basketball tournaments.

Local election results 1976–2021 Edit

Summary of local elections for Lisbon city hall, 1976–2021
Election PCP PS PSD CDS PPM UDP APU CDU BE CR HR PAN IL CH O/I* Turnout
1976 20.7 35.5 15.2 19.0 0.4 - - - - - - - - - 9.1 66.5
1979 - 23.4 46.7 2.2 25.1 - - - - - - - 2.7 75.6
1982 - 27.0 41.3 0.8 26.7 - - - - - - - 4.3 72.2
1985 - 18.0 44.8 - 5.1 1.5 27.5 - - - - - - - 3.2 58.7
1989 - 49.1 42.1 - - w.PS - - - - - - 8.9 54.8
1993 - 56.7 26.4 7.8 - - - w.PS - - - - - - 9.3 53.5
1997 - 51.9 39.3 - - - w.PS - - - - - - 8.8 48.3
2001 - 41.7 42.0 7.6 w.PSD - - w.PS 3.8 - - - - - 4.9 55.0
2005 - 26.6 42.4 5.9 - - - 11.4 7.9 - - - - - 5.9 52.7
2007 - 29.5 15.7 3.7 0.4 - - 9.5 6.8 16.7 10.2 - - - 7.8 37.4
2009 - 44.0 38.7 - - 8.1 4.6 - - - - - 4.7 53.4
2013 - 50.9 22.4 1.2 - - 9.9 4.6 - - 2.3 - - 8.7 45.1
2017 - 42.0 11.2 20.6 - - 9.6 7.1 - - 3.0 - - 6.5 51.2
2021 - - - - -
*O/I: Other parties and Invalid/Blank votes.
Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições

The city of Lisbon is rich in architecture Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern and Postmodern constructions can be found all over Lisbon. The city is also crossed by historical boulevards and monuments along the main thoroughfares, particularly in the upper districts notable among these are the Avenida da Liberdade (Avenue of Liberty), Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, Avenida Almirante Reis and Avenida da República (Avenue of the Republic).

Lisbon is home to numerous prominent museums and art collections, from all around the world. The National Museum of Ancient Art, which has one of the largest art collections in the world, and the National Coach Museum, which has the world's largest collection of royal coaches and carriages, are the two most visited museums in the city. Other notable national museums include the National Museum of Archaeology, the Museum of Lisbon, the National Azulejo Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Natural History & Science.

Prominent private museums and galleries include the Gulbenkian Museum (run by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, one of the wealthiest foundations in the world), which houses one of the largest private collections of antiquaries and art in the world, the Berardo Collection Museum, which houses the private collection of Portuguese billionaire Joe Berardo, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, and the Museum of the Orient. Other popular museums include the Electricity Museum, the Ephemeral Museum, the Museu da Água, and the Museu Benfica, among many others.

Lisbon's Opera House, the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, hosts a relatively active cultural agenda, mainly in autumn and winter. Other important theatres and musical houses are the Centro Cultural de Belém, the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, the Gulbenkian Foundation, and the Teatro Camões.

The monument to Christ the King (Cristo-Rei) stands on the southern bank of the Tagus River, in Almada. With open arms, overlooking the whole city, it resembles the Corcovado monument in Rio de Janeiro, and was built after World War II, as a memorial of thanksgiving for Portugal's being spared the horrors and destruction of the war.

13 June is Lisbon´s holiday in honour of the city's saint, Anthony of Lisbon (Portuguese: Santo António). Saint Anthony, also known as Saint Anthony of Padua, was a wealthy Portuguese bohemian who was canonised and made Doctor of the Church after a life preaching to the poor. Although Lisbon’s patron saint is Saint Vincent of Saragossa, whose remains are housed in the Sé Cathedral, there are no festivities associated with this saint.

Eduardo VII Park, the second-largest park in the city following the Parque Florestal de Monsanto (Monsanto Forest Park), extends down the main avenue (Avenida da Liberdade), with many flowering plants and green spaces, that includes the permanent collection of subtropical and tropical plants in the winter garden (Portuguese: Estufa Fria). Originally named Parque da Liberdade, it was renamed in honour of Edward VII who visited Lisbon in 1903.

Lisbon is home every year to the Lisbon Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, [67] the Lisboarte, the DocLisboa – Lisbon International Documentary Film Festival, [68] the Festival Internacional de Máscaras e Comediantes, the Lisboa Mágica – Street Magic World Festival, the Monstra – Animated Film Festival, the Lisbon Book Fair, [69] the Peixe em Lisboa – Lisbon Fish and Flavours, [70] and many others.

Lisbon has two sites listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site: Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery. Furthermore, in 1994, Lisbon was the European Capital of Culture and, in 1998, organised the Expo '98 (1998 Lisbon World Exposition).

Lisbon is also home to the Lisbon Architecture Triennial, [71] the Moda Lisboa (Fashion Lisbon), [72] ExperimentaDesign – Biennial of Design [73] and LuzBoa – Biennial of Light. [74]

In addition, the mosaic Portuguese pavement (Calçada Portuguesa) was born in Lisbon, in the mid-1800s. The art has since spread to the rest of the Portuguese Speaking world. The city remains one of the most expansive examples of the technique, nearly all walkways and even many streets being created and maintained in this style.

In May 2018, the city hosted the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, after the victory of Salvador Sobral with the song "Amar pelos dois" in Kyiv on 13 May 2017.

Largest groups of foreign residents in 2019 [75]
Nationality Population
Brazil 16,962
China 9,527
Nepal 7,707
France 7,319
Italy 7,059
Bangladesh 4,707
Spain 4,444
Germany 3,806
India 3,260
Angola 2,722
United Kingdom 2,683
Cabo Verde 2,670
Netherlands 2,252
Romania 1,976
Ukraine 1,572
Guinea-Bissau 1,301
Sweden 1,069
Pakistan 1,024
United States of America 1,005

The historical population of the city was around 35,000 in 1300 AD. Up to 60,000 in 1400 AD, and rising to 70,000 in 1500 AD. Between 1528 and 1590 the population went from 70,000 to 120,000. The population was about 150,000 in 1600 AD, and almost 200,000 in 1700 AD. [76] [77] [78]

The Lisbon metropolitan area incorporates two NUTS III (European statistical subdivisions): Grande Lisboa (Greater Lisbon), along the northern bank of the Tagus River, and Península de Setúbal (Setúbal Peninsula), along the southern bank. These two subdivisions make for the Região de Lisboa (Lisbon Region). The population density of the city itself is 6,458 inhabitants per square kilometre (16,730/sq mi).

Lisbon has 552,700 [79] inhabitants within the administrative center on the area of only 100.05 km 2 [5] Administratively defined cities that exist in the vicinity of the capital are in fact part of the metropolitan perimeter of Lisbon. The urban area has a population of 2,666,000 inhabitants, being the eleventh largest urban area in the European Union. [3] The whole metropolis of Lisbon (metropolitan area) has about 3 million inhabitants. According to official government data, the Lisbon metropolitan area has 3,121,876 inhabitants. [2] Other sources also show a similar number, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – 2,797,612 inhabitants [80] according to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations – 2,890,000 [81] according to the European Statistical Office Eurostat – 2,839,908 [82] according to the Brookings Institution has 2,968,600 inhabitants. [83]

Demographic evolution of Lisbon administrative center
43 900 1552 1598 1720 1755 1756 1801 1849 1900 1930 1960 1981 1991 2001 2011
30,000 100,000 100,000 150,000 185,000 180,000 165,000 203,999 174,668 350,919 591,939 801,155 807,937 663,394 564,657 545,245

The Lisbon region is the wealthiest region in Portugal and it is well above the European Union's GDP per capita average – it produces 45% of the Portuguese GDP. Lisbon's economy is based primarily on the tertiary sector. Most of the headquarters of multinationals operating in Portugal are concentrated in the Grande Lisboa Subregion, especially in the Oeiras municipality. The Lisbon metropolitan area is heavily industrialized, especially the south bank of the Tagus river (Rio Tejo).

The Lisbon region is rapidly growing, with GDP (PPP) per capita calculated for each year as follows: €22,745 (2004) [85] – €23,816 (2005) [86] – €25,200 (2006) [87] – €26,100 (2007). [88] The Lisbon metropolitan area had a GDP amounting to $96.3 billion, and $32,434 per capita. [89]

The country's chief seaport, featuring one of the largest and most sophisticated regional markets on the Iberian Peninsula, Lisbon and its heavily populated surroundings are also developing as an important financial centre and a dynamic technological hub. Automobile manufacturers have erected factories in the suburbs, for example, AutoEuropa.

Lisbon has the largest and most developed mass media sector of Portugal and is home to several related companies ranging from leading television networks and radio stations to major newspapers.

The Euronext Lisbon stock exchange, part of the pan-European Euronext system together with the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris, is tied with the New York Stock Exchange since 2007, forming the multinational NYSE Euronext group of stock exchanges.

The lisbonite industry has very large sectors in oil, as refineries are found just across the Tagus, textile mills, shipyards and fishing.

Before Portugal's sovereign debt crisis and an EU-IMF rescue plan, for the decade of 2010 Lisbon was expecting to receive many state-funded investments, including building a new airport, a new bridge, an expansion of the Lisbon Metro 30 km (18.64 mi) underground, the construction of a mega-hospital (or central hospital), the creation of two lines of a TGV to join Madrid, Porto, Vigo and the rest of Europe, the restoration of the main part of the town (between the Marquês de Pombal roundabout and Terreiro do Paço), the creation of a large number of bike lanes, as well as modernization and renovation of various facilities. [90]

Lisbon was the 10th most "livable city" in the world in 2019 according to lifestyle magazine Monocle. [91]

Tourism is also a significant industry a 2018 report stated that the city receives an average of 4.5 million tourists per year. [92] Hotel revenues alone generated €714.8 million in 2017, an increase of 18.7% over 2016. [93]

Lisboa was elected the "World's Leading City Destination and World's Leading City Break Destination 2018". [94]

Metro Edit

The Lisbon Metro connects the city centre with the upper and eastern districts, and also reaches some suburbs that are part of the Lisbon metropolitan area, such as Amadora and Loures. It is the fastest way to get around the city and it provides a good number of interchanging stations with other types of transportation. From the Lisbon Airport station to the city centre it may take roughly 25 mins. As of 2018, the Lisbon Metro comprises four lines, identified by individual colours (blue, yellow, green and red) and 56 stations, with a total length of 44.2 km. Several expansion projects have been proposed, being the most recent the transformation of the Green Line into a circular line and the creation of two more stations (Santos and Estrela).

Trams Edit

A traditional form of public transport in Lisbon is the tram. Introduced in 1901, electric trams were originally imported from the US, [95] and called the americanos. The earliest trams can still be seen in the Museu da Carris (the Public Transport Museum). Other than on the modern Line 15, the Lisbon tramway system still employs small (four-wheel) vehicles of a design dating from the early twentieth century. These distinctive yellow trams are one of the tourist icons of modern Lisbon, and their size is well suited to the steep hills and narrow streets of the central city. [96] [97]

Trains Edit

There are four commuter train lines departing from Lisbon: the Sintra, Azambuja, Cascais and Sado lines (operated by CP – Comboios de Portugal), as well as a fifth line to Setúbal (operated by Fertagus), which crosses the Tagus river via the 25 de Abril Bridge. The major railway stations are Santa Apolónia, Rossio, Gare do Oriente, Entrecampos, and Cais do Sodré.

Buses Edit

The local bus service within Lisbon is operated by Carris.

There are other commuter bus services from the city (connecting cities outside Lisbon, and connecting these cities to Lisbon): Vimeca, [98] Rodoviária de Lisboa, [99] Transportes Sul do Tejo, [100] Boa Viagem, [101] Barraqueiro [102] are the main ones, operating from different terminals in the city.

Lisbon is connected to its suburbs and throughout Portugal by an extensive motorway network. There are three circular motorways around the city the 2ª Circular, the IC17 (CRIL), and the A9 (CREL).

Bridges and ferries Edit

The city is connected to the far side of the Tagus by two important bridges:

  • The 25 de Abril Bridge, inaugurated (as Ponte Salazar) on 6 August 1966, and later renamed after the date of the Carnation Revolution, was the longest suspension bridge in Europe. [103]
  • The Vasco da Gama Bridge, inaugurated in May 1998 is, at 17.2 km (10.7 mi), the longest bridge in Europe. [104]

The foundations for a third bridge across the Tagus have already been laid, but the overall project has been postponed due to the economic crisis in Portugal and all of Europe.

Another way of crossing the river is by taking the ferry. The operator is Transtejo & Soflusa, [105] which runs from different locations within the city: Cacilhas, Seixal, Montijo, Porto Brandão and Trafaria under the brand Transtejo and to Barreiro under the brand Soflusa.

Air travel Edit

Humberto Delgado Airport is located within the city limits. It is the headquarters and hub for TAP Portugal as well as a hub for Easyjet, Azores Airlines, Ryanair, EuroAtlantic Airways, White Airways, and Hi Fly. A second airport has been proposed, but the project has been put on hold because of the Portuguese and European economic crisis, and also because of the long discussion on whether a new airport is needed. However, the last proposal is a military airbase in Montijo that would be replaced by a civil airport. So, Lisbon would have two airports, the current airport in the north and a new one in the south of the city.

Cascais Aerodrome, 20 km West of the city centre, in Cascais, offers commercial domestic flights.

Cycling Edit

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Lisbon has seen a significant increase in cycling and plans to expand the current Gira bike hire system from 600 bikes to 1,500 by summer 2021. Many of these bikes will be electric to deal with Lisbon's hills. The city will also expand its network of cycle paths. [106]

Public transportation statistics Edit

The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Lisbon, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 59 min. 11.5% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 14 min, while 23.1% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 6 km, while 10% travel for over 12 km in a single direction. [107]

International schools Edit

Higher education Edit

In the city, there are three public universities and a university institute. The University of Lisbon, which is the largest university in Portugal, was created in 2013 with the union of the Technical University of Lisbon and the Classical University of Lisbon (which was known as the University of Lisbon). The New University of Lisbon, founded in 1973, is another public university in Lisbon and is known internationally by its Nova School of Business and Economics (Nova SBE), its economics and management faculty. The third public university is Universidade Aberta. Additionally, there's ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute (founded in 1972), a university institute that provides degrees in all academic disciplines.

Major private institutions of higher education include the Portuguese Catholic University, focused on law and management, as well as the Lusíada University, the Universidade Lusófona, and the Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, among others.

The total number of enrolled students in higher education in Lisbon was, for the 2007–2008 school year, of 125,867 students, of whom 81,507 in the Lisbon's public institutions. [108]

Libraries Edit

Lisbon is home to Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, the Portuguese national library, which has over 3 million books and manuscripts. The library has some rare books and manuscripts, such as an original Gutenberg Bible and original books by Erasmus, Christophe Platin and Aldus Manutius. Another relevant library is the Torre do Tombo National Archive, one of the most important archives in the world, with over 600 years and one of the oldest active Portuguese institutions. There are, among several others, the Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino and the Arquivo Histórico Militar.

Lisbon has a long tradition in sports. It hosted several matches, including the final, of the UEFA Euro 2004 championship. The city also played host to the final of the 2001 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the European Fencing Championships in 1983 and 1992, as well as the 2003 World Men's Handball Championship, and the 2008 European Judo Championships. From 2006 to 2008, Lisbon was the starting point for the Dakar Rally. The city hosted the 2014 and 2020 UEFA Champions League finals. In 2008 and 2016, the city hosted the European Triathlon Championships. Lisbon has a leg at the Volvo Ocean Race.

Football Edit

The city hosts three association football clubs in Portugal's highest league, the Primeira Liga. Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as simply Benfica, has won 37 league titles in addition to two European Cups. Lisbon's second-most successful club is Sporting Clube de Portugal (commonly known as Sporting and often referred to as Sporting Lisbon abroad to prevent confusion with other teams with the same name), winner of 19 league titles and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. A third club, C.F. Os Belenenses (commonly Belenenses or Belenenses Lisbon), based in the Belém quarter, has solely won one league title. Other major clubs in Lisbon include Atlético, Casa Pia, and Oriental.

Lisbon has two UEFA category four stadiums Benfica's Estádio da Luz (Stadium of Light), with a capacity of over 65,000 and Sporting's Estádio José Alvalade, with a capacity of over 50,000. The Estádio da Luz held both the 2014 and 2020 UEFA Champions League Final. There is also Belenenses' Estádio do Restelo, with a capacity of over 30,000. The Estádio Nacional, in nearby Oeiras, has a capacity of 37,000 and was used exclusively for Portuguese international football matches and cup finals until the construction of larger stadia in the city. It held the 1967 European Cup Final.

Other sports Edit

Other sports, such as basketball, futsal, handball, roller hockey, rugby union and volleyball are also popular the latter's national stadium is in Lisbon. There are many other sports facilities in Lisbon, ranging from athletics, sailing, golfing to mountain-biking. Lisboa and Troia golf course are two of many stunning golf courses located in Lisbon. Every March the city hosts the Lisbon Half Marathon, while in September the Portugal Half Marathon.

Union of Luso-Afro-Americo-Asiatic Capital Cities Edit

Lisbon is part of the Union of Luso-Afro-Americo-Asiatic Capital Cities [109] [110] [111] from 28 June 1985, establishing brotherly relations with the following cities:

  • Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
  • Dili, East Timor
  • Luanda, Angola
  • Macau
  • Maputo, Mozambique
  • Panaji (Panjim), India
  • Praia, Cape Verde
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe

Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities Edit

Lisbon is part of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities [112] from 12 October 1982 establishing brotherly relations with the following cities:

  • Andorra la Vella, Andorra
  • Asunción, Paraguay
  • Bogotá, Colombia
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Caracas, Venezuela
  • Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Havana, Cuba
  • La Paz, Bolivia
  • Lima, Peru
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Managua, Nicaragua
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Panama City, Panama
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • San Jose, Costa Rica
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States
  • San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Cooperation agreements Edit

Lisbon has additional cooperation agreements with the following cities: [110] [111]


When Raimundo Silva, a lowly proofreader for a Lisbon publishing house, inserts a negative into a sentence of a historical text, he alters the whole course of the 1147 Siege of Lisbon. Fearing censure he is met instead with admiration: Dr Maria Sara, his voluptuous new editor, encourages him to pen his own alternative history. As his retelling draws on all his imaginative powers, Silva finds – to his nervous delight – that if the facts of the past can be rewritten as a romance then so can the details of his own dusty bachelor present.

Travel back to The Siege of Lisbon BookTrail style

The novel is really two stories in one: the reimagined history of the 1147 siege of Lisbon that Raimundo feels compelled to write and the story of Raimundo’s life, including his unexpected love affair with the editor, Maria Sara.

The Siege of Lisbon lasted from 1 July to 25 October, 1147, and was the military action that brought the city of Lisbon under definitive Portuguese control and expelled its Moorish overlords.

It was one of the few Christian victories of the Second Crusade. The Christians soon captured the walls of Lisbon itself. After four months, the Moorish rulers agreed to surrender (21 October).

The History Museum of Lisbon is a great place to find out more

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The History of the Siege of Lisbon

Destination: Lisbon Author/guide: José Saramago Departure Time: 2000s, 1100s


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Today in European history: the Siege of Lisbon ends (1147)

There’s plenty of irony to go around when you’re talking about the Crusades, but it is especially apparent on those occasions when our intrepid armed pilgrims to the Holy Land wound up making their mark somewhere else. Obviously the best example here is the Fourth Crusade, when instead of marching off to once again “liberate” Jerusalem from its Muslim overlords the Crusaders went broke and then hired themselves out as mercenaries to sack the very non-Muslim city of Constantinople on behalf of Venice. The Eighth Crusade isn’t bad for this either, unless “dying of dysentery outside the walls of Tunis” was actually their goal. Then there’s also the Second Crusade, which is a bit less ironic than the others. Sure, it failed miserably in the Middle East, but it actually succeeded wildly in Iberia. Yes, Iberia is a ways off from Jerusalem, but in their defense (and in marked contrast to the Fourth Crusade) at least the city these guys besieged was actually controlled by Muslims.

This is just a placeholder. If you’d like to read the rest please check out my new home, Foreign Exchanges!


A History of Violence: Europe and the Conquest of Lisbon

Some 868 years ago today, on 24 October 1147, the city of Lisbon fell to a combined force of besiegers from England, Scotland, Germany, Holland and France. Thanks to a surviving report written by an eyewitness Anglo-Norman cleric, we have an excellent grasp of developments leading up to the siege, the weeks of the siege itself, and its immediate aftermath. From the point of view of a historian, that makes it an absorbing event to study. But it’s also an episode that raises troubling questions about coming to terms with a challenging past, in particular the way that violence has long been intertwined with European history.

At the time of the siege, Lisbon was under the control of a Muslim emir: it was part of Al-Andalus, the Islamic polity created in the eighth century by the invasion and defeat of the Visigothic kingdom. Its capture in 1147 was far from bloodless, as our chronicler, the author of the Conquest of Lisbon, recounts with relish, at least where enemy losses are concerned.[1] Heads are chopped off, ambushes bloodily sprung, and civilians killed (though most of the latter were in the end spared their life, if not their property, in contrast to the massacres commonly reported elsewhere).

Today, this kind of violence is increasingly segregated from general European history and treated separately as part of ‘The Crusades’, an active field of research for which there are specialised courses, journals, conferences, and of course shelves of books in libraries and any local bookshops that happen to survive.[2] In just this vein, the conquest of Lisbon is traditionally considered as part of the Second Crusade, indeed its ‘only success’, after the dismal failure (from a Latin Christian point of view, anyway) of expeditions in the Middle East.

Yet we need to be careful: any notion that there was an entirely distinct compartment of life in the Middle Ages labelled ‘crusading’ is misleading. Holy war or armed pilgrimage were thoroughly interwoven into medieval society, not separated from it. And despite common assumptions to the contrary, there is no convincing evidence that the participants in the siege were following any specific papal orders, or that the attack on Lisbon was pre-planned as part of the ‘Second Crusade‘. It was merely the latest in a series of ad hoc ventures launched by northern sailors (or pirates, depending on your point of view) passing through to the eastern Mediterranean, more or less under their own collective steam.

Viewed from 2015, what makes the violence carried out at Lisbon particularly troubling is precisely its importance in, and for, European history in general terms, beyond the study of ‘The Crusades’. That’s partly because the conquest of the city was a vital moment in the history of a major European state. In 1147, the kingdom of Portugal was just a few years old and was greatly strengthened by the victory at Lisbon. Understandably, the city’s capture resonates to this day in Portuguese culture, for instance in a celebrated (and highly recommended) novel, the History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago, or in modern paintings like this blog’s header image.

More than that, though, the conquest itself was in a sense an example of collective European action, centuries before the European Union was dreamed up. To be sure, the besiegers did not think of it in those terms they probably did not think of themselves as ‘Europeans’ at all (though the concept of Europe was not quite so unknown in the Middle Ages as is sometimes breezily asserted).[3] Yet the fact remains that the siege was undertaken by a multi-national group of people, or in the words of our eyewitness chronicler, ‘people of so many different tongues’.

What’s more, the besiegers were for the most part not knights, barons and kings, but townsmen from the growing urban communities around the North Sea. These ordinary men came together voluntarily and organised themselves in line with ideas of popular consensus, complete with elected officials. This was not modern democracy, but an arrangement closer to the parliamentary assemblies of medieval Europe – and the popular councils that increasingly ran its towns – than to its royal courts. That was something that the Portuguese king himself found out when negotiating terms with the assisting force:

And when the king inquired who our chiefs were or whose counsels were pre-eminent among us or if we had commissioned anyone to answer for our whole army, he was briefly informed that such and such were our chief men and that their acts and counsels carried especial weight, but that we had not yet decided on anyone on whom authority should be conferred to make answer for all.

In a sense, then, the Conquest of Lisbon was an early and quite remarkable episode of popular and effective international ‘European’ collaboration, undertaken not by heads of state but by ordinary people, giving an institutional form to the trust created through long-term friendly interaction, facilitated by geographic proximity, mutual interests and a broadly shared culture. The kingdom that they helped would go on to play a vital role in European affairs conversely, so important to Portugal’s future was the siege that we could even say the kingdom was in part created by ‘European’ collaboration.

Yet the fact that this extraordinary and influential collaboration took place in such a terrible context – essentially an act of unprovoked aggression, notwithstanding the crusaders’ lipservice to the Islamic conquest of Spain some three centuries previously – should perhaps give us pause for thought, especially at a time when the European Union, and what Europe means, is once again under scrutiny. How best to deal with the violence inherent in European history is a challenge that isn’t restricted to the recent past, and a problem which hasn’t gone away.

This was first posted on the History Matters blog.
For a longer study of the siege of Lisbon, see ‘All in the Same Boat? East Anglia, the North Sea World and the 1147 Expedition to Lisbon’ in David Bates and Robert Liddiard (eds.), East Anglia and its North Sea World in the Middle Ages (Woodbridge, 2013), pp. 287–300, or a pre-publication (unpaginated) version at academia.edu.

[1] Conveniently available in English facing-page translation, together with a useful preface by Jonathan Phillips, in David, ed. and tr., The Conquest of Lisbon (2001). All quotations are drawn from this translation.

[2] Particularly recommended is Christopher Tyerman’s new How to Plan a Crusade (2015), with some luminous pages on the Lisbon siege.

[3] The most thorough guide is now Klaus Oschema, Bilder von Europa im Mittelalter (2013). For Anglophone readers, the best remains Timothy Reuter, ‘Medieval ideas of Europe’, History Workshop Journal 33 (1992).


The patriarchate pastorally served, as per 2014, 1,648,885 Catholics (86% of 1,924,650 total) on 3,735 km² in 285 parishes and 604 missions, with 543 priests (291 diocesan, 252 religious), 84 deacons, 1,505 lay religious (401 brothers, 1,104 sisters) and 54 seminarians. [ citation needed ]

The diocese of Lisbon was created in the 4th century, but it lay vacant after 716 when the city was captured by the Moors, notwithstanding that there are references to Mozarabic bishops of the Mozarabic Rite in that period. The diocese was restored when the city was captured by King Afonso I of Portugal during the Second Crusade in 1147 during the siege of Lisbon. A crusader's account of that event refers to the local "elderly Bishop of the city" being slain "against all right and justice", by marauding Flemish and German crusaders, in direct defiance of the terms of the city's rendition. [1]

As Portugal grew in political importance and colonial possessions the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Lisbon expanded Stadel says in his Compendium geographiae ecclesiasticae universalis (1712) that Coimbra, Leiria, Portalegre, Elvas, Funchal, Angra, Congo, St. James of Cape Verde, São Tomé, and Baia of All Saints were suffragans of Lisbon. [2] As a reward for its assistance against the Turks, Pope Clement XI in 1708 raised the Chapel of the Royal Palace to Collegiate rank and associated with it three parishes in the dioceses of Bragança and Lamego. Later, yielding to the request of King John V, he issued the Bull In Supremo Apostolatus Solio (22 October 1716) – known as the Golden Bull because the seal or bulla was affixed with gold instead of lead – giving the collegiate chapel cathedral rank, with metropolitical rights, and conferring on its titular the rank of patriarch.

The city of Lisbon was ecclesiastically divided into Eastern and Western Lisbon. The former archbishop of Lisbon retained jurisdiction over Eastern Lisbon, and had as suffragan dioceses those of Guarda, Portalegre, St. James of Cape Verde, São Tomé, and São Salvador in Congo. Western Lisbon and metropolitan rights over Leiria, Lamego, Funchal and Angra, together with elaborate privileges and honours, were granted to the new patriarch and his successors. It was further agreed between pope and king that the patriarch of Lisbon should be made a cardinal at the first consistory following his appointment (Inter praecipuas apostolici ministerii, 1737).

The first patriarch of Lisbon was Tomás de Almeida (1670–1754), formerly bishop of Porto he was raised to the cardinalate on 20 December 1737 by Pope Clement XII. There thus existed side by side in the city of Lisbon two metropolitical churches. To obviate the inconvenience of this arrangement Pope Benedict XIV (13 December 1740) united East and West Lisbon into one single archdiocese under Patriarch Almeida, who ruled the see until his death in 1754. The double chapter however remained until 1843, when the old cathedral chapter was dissolved by Pope Gregory XVI. It was during the patriarchate of Cardinal Almeida (1746) that the famous Chapel of Saint John the Baptist was built in Rome (1742–1747) at the expense of King John V and consecrated by Pope Benedict XIV, and then transported to and reconstructed in the Church of St. Roch in Lisbon. Patriarch Almeida is buried in the chancel of that church.

At what date the patriarchs of Lisbon began to quarter the tiara with three crowns, though without the keys, on their coat of arms is uncertain and there are no documents referring to the grant of such a privilege. By apostolic letters dated 30 September 1881 the metropolitan of Lisbon claims as suffragans the dioceses of Angola, St. James of Cape Verde, São Tomé, Egitan, Portalegre, Angra, and Funchal.

Throughout history, many privileges have been granted to the patriarchate of Lisbon and its patriarch by the Holy See. [3] [4]

  • Patriarch of Lisbon's right to cardinal dignity:
    • Appointment as Cardinal in the Consistory following the rise to the patriarchal solid
    • Right to wear cardinal garments even before he is created, such as cassock and purple coral robes, but unlike cardinals, the cap must have a tassel as is typical of bishops, all in purple this privilege is shared with the patriarch of Venice and the archbishop of Salzburg
    • Right to wear the purple tassel of 30 tassels on the coat of arms even before being created cardinal this privilege is shared with the archbishop of Salzburg, although in his case with 12 tassels as is typical of the archbishops.
    • the right to use sedia gestatoria carried by 8 men, different from the pontifical sedia gestatoria carried by 12 men
    • the right to use flabels, with the pope offering 2 of his 4 flabels
    • right to use a pontifical falda
    • right to use pontifical fanon

    These privileges were granted by Popes Clement XI, Innocent XIII, Benedict XIII and Clement XII. However, some have fallen into disuse over the centuries.


    Bookpuddle

    It is such a beautiful day, I am writing this at an outdoor patio. This is very unusual for me, to have my laptop open in the great outdoors.
    There are so many birds flying about here in the courtyard of planet coffee [← all lower case, perhaps the place is owned by the descendents of e.e. cummings?]… that I am a bit concerned that one of them may decide to bomb my Mac, if you know what I mean.
    At any rate, I am just thinking of the last book I read.
    The History of the Siege of Lisbon , by Jose Saramago.
    It is not exactly a fetching title for a work of fiction!
    It sounds like… well, a history book, does it not?
    And in a sense, it is a history book, but one that basically, from start to finish, speculates upon what exactly a book of “history” is ! It questions the nature of history and the relationship of words to truth and reality.
    Much like another favorite author of mine [Ian McEwan], Saramago’s fiction capitalizes on the effects of seemingly innocuous antecedent causes. He has the uncanny ability of constructing looming fictional mountains from the most shadowless of molehills.
    In Siege of Lisbon , he is writing at the height of his powers.

    Our protagonist is Raimundo Silva, a middle-aged, quiet, [somewhat] celibate bachelor, well-respected for his years of accuracy as proof-reader for a well-known publishing house.
    One day, while proof-reading a standard text of the history of the siege of Lisbon, Raimundo inexplicably succumbs to an urge to insert one word in the concluding portions of the text.
    This word “not” [the most shadowless of molehills] amounts to a sort of re-invention of the founding myth of Portugal. As amended by Silva, the text now reads that the crusaders did not come to the aid of the 12th-century Portuguese King who was laying siege to Lisbon, aiming to expel the Moors from the area.

    Silva submits his bastardized work and then lives twelve full days of angst-riddled guilt, pending discovery and punishment, both of which duly arrive in the form of a pre-judged tribunal, with Raimundo in the dock!
    He is acquitted of his offense, but put on probation. And to deal with any further lapses in proof-reading efficiency, the publisher has hired a new executive. The young, voluptuous, alluring and astute Maria Sara, to whom Raimundo will be obligated to report.
    Rather than being reproachful, Maria is fascinated with Raimundo’s anarchic ways.
    In a private meeting, she proposes that he write his own version of the siege of Lisbon… the version which would elaborate upon his insertion of the word “not.” Initially, he feels unequal to the task, but soon becomes equally obsessed with the idea, and sets out upon his assignment.

    But this is not the only obsession now alive in Raimundo. Along with the project, he is also obsessed with Maria, and she, with him.
    What follows in the book before us is an amazing intertwining of history with fiction.
    As in, it happens not only in the book that is in our own hands, but also in the one that Raimundo is writing, for he creates a love story within his fictionalized “history” that mirrors his own burgeoning relationship with Maria.

    What we hold in our hands is:
    a) a contemporary love story, set in modern-day Lisbon.
    b) an unorthodox “Raimundo-ized” retelling of events surrounding the actual siege of Lisbon in 1147, which itself resolves into a believable love affair between a common soldier and a knight's concubine.
    c) a wonderfully rich and rewarding Saramagian discourse on the mutability of history, and the inadequacy of words to describe what is [too often] perceived as fact.

    This being the eighth Saramago novel I have read, it saddens me to think there is only one left for me to read through for the first time. [ The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis ]. The thing about Jose Saramago is that each novel is so good, that while you are reading it, you feel a loyalty to claiming that it is his best work. I felt that way repeatedly during the reading of The History of the Siege of Lisbon.

    Let me say for the hundredth time [on Bookpuddle] a word or two about the unconventional style of Jose Saramago.
    Sentences and passages run off into the horizon like an endlessly rolling landscape. His use of punctuation is completely not normal. Some of his sentences go on for pages at a time, spliced together with a sand-on-the-seashore amount of commas. Within sentences, new speakers speak, with no use of quotation marks differentiating one from the other.
    If Saramago submitted to any sort of standardized Grammar Test [something I cannot imagine him doing…] any teacher would have to fail him. Then, were that same teacher to read something by Saramago, she would find that the old man has much to teach her, about grammar.

    I will provide an annotated excerpt from Siege of Lisbon → HERE , if you would like to see an example of his nefarious ways!
    Such unconventionality extends even to the narration. In Saramago, the narrator must be listed as a principle character so absorbingly digressive and ubiquitously intercalary that he is nowhere non-evident, often stumbling forward to inform the reader that there are certain things that even he cannot possibly know, and hence, in humble non-omniscience, he must remain silent upon these issues!
    In a word, if you have not experienced the work of Jose Saramago, I greatly encourage you to dive in. And The History of the Siege of Lisbon seems to me as good a place as any, to begin.

    In closing [the lid of my laptop] let me conclude by saying that I managed to write all of the above without any birds laying siege to the Mac.
    Yet.


    Watch the video: ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΗΠΕΙΡΟΣ- ΡΩΜΑΪΚΗ ΚΑΤΟΧΗ ΑΝΑΣΚΑΦΙΚΟ ΕΡΓΟ Επισ. 3 (January 2022).