Portugal - Historical Lisbon, Global City

"Lisbon has witnessed the meeting and exchange of cultures that took place in the city throughout the centuries, from the diverse peoples who settled there since the 7th century B.C. and left their cultural mark, to the globalisation generated by the Portuguese discoveries, when the city became a precursor to the maritime exploration of the 15th and 16th centuries, transforming it into the largest port in the European Atlantic and inspiring the construction of new cities all across the world. As a consequence of the extensive dialogue of civilisations that Lisbon established with Europe, Africa, America, and the East, which is reflected in the historic city centre, Lisbon stands out due to several features such as the exquisite manner in which it blends the diverse urban layouts and noteworthy buildings that are its hallmark, a testimony to the Roman, Islamic, and European cultures that shaped it; the unique way in which it has been adapted to a rugged terrain, which extends all the way to the riverfront; the setting for comings and goings during the days of the discoveries; and a mixture of monuments, squares, and port heritage, which are the traces of a former intense maritime and commercial activity. Set between hills punctuated by belvederes with idyllic scenery, the Enlightenment-era urban layout is a standout feature, designed according to the unique Pombalino plan following the devastating 1755 earthquake that destroyed the city centre. As a palimpsest, the city bears the traces of the successive transformations that have adapted it to new dynamics, from the silting of the river to reconstructions following the devastating earthquakes it endured, promoting the reintegration of past values, thus allowing it to create a narrative of its history. This multi-faceted city was the stage for multiple cultural expressions, which have been retained and reinterpreted, conferring it with a unique quality, preserving its cultural identity, and reinforcing its inhabitants' roots. Azulejo (tiles), artistic cobbled streets, and fado (traditional Portuguese music), recently added to the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, are the ultimate exponents of these cultural expressions. The property includes the following areas of the city: The area surrounded by the Cerca Fernandina defensive wall, which is home to the city's oldest defensive structures, as well as the oldest settlements in Lisbon: Castelo, Sé, Alfama, Baixa, Chiado, and Pena, structures and neighbourhoods (bairros) that exhibit influences from an array of civilisations from the Roman, Islamic, Medieval, and Enlightenment periods. Also included are the adjacent medieval areas of Mouraria, São Vicente, and Santa Clara. The old Jesuit Colleges of Santo Antão-o-Velho and Santo Antão-o-Novo, both 16th-century constructions of significant cultural value, not only as architectural heritage but also as sites of innovative scientific teaching that contributed hugely to the field of navigation. 

The Renaissance-era Bairro Alto neighbourhood, constructed following the population boom fuelled by the Portuguese discoveries, extends to the riverfront via the Bica neighbourhood, with its exceptional topography resulting from an earthquake that was embraced by the urban fabric. Also included is the 16th-century Mocambo neighbourhood in Madragoa, by the western approach to the city, which at that time was a suburb, inhabited by fishermen and the African population. Noviciado da Cotovia, a Jesuit college established in the 17th century as a seat of scientific learning, the attached botanical garden, which is home to a vast array of plant species, including ancient and tropical species, and the neighbouring Príncipe Real Square, where the Society of Jesus began constructing a college, destroyed by the earthquake. And the riverfront, between Cais do Sodré and Santa Apolónia, an area of embankments since the Manuelino period. Of the viewpoints, which are privileged spots affording panoramic views over the characteristic features of the urban landscape and river, those of most significant value are included: Santa Catarina, São Pedro de Alcântara, Castelo de São Jorge, Graça, Campo de Santa Clara, Portas do Sol, and Santa Luzia."

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

Bairro Alto - Elevador da Bica, Lisboa, Portugal. Thanks to Isidoro of Portugal.

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