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(March 20-25, 2007)

Philip Silver

Neath Abbey

Pedro Silva


Lisboa, Portugal

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© 2007 Pedro Silva, All Rights Reserved.

Lisboa is a city of many atmospheres, I chose to show its oldest district, Alfama.

Phoenician remains have been found here, dating from 1200 BCE, and in fact Alfama was the whole city, at least until Islamic rule (7th thru 12th centuries). In the Middle Ages, the richest inhabitants left the district, for fear of earthquakes, and Alfama has since been inhabited by the poor of the city, most notably fishermen. It has also been home to a Jewish ghetto. Interestingly, most buildings survived the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

Despite the fact that no Moorish buildings still stand, Alfama’s labyrinth of narrow alleys, lanes, patios and stairs, all filled with clothes lines, evoke the atmosphere of those times. In fact, its architectural structure seems tailored to provide defense against invasion, as well as a natural cooling system, and is reminiscent of the kasbahs that can still be seen in northern Africa. Currently under active renovation, Alfama is a mixture of old and new, with construction materials littering its many narrow ways.

While the cynical could see a big tourist trap, Alfama’s special atmosphere make it one of the best places to enjoy fado, the typical portuguese melancholic song, that may well have been born right here.
for more panoramas of Alfama, taken at the same time, see http://correio.fc.ul.pt/~pjns/Photos/Panoramas/wwp307/index.html .

Europe / Portugal

Lat: 38° 42' 39" N
Long: 10° 8' 47" W

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