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Tuesday, 26 January 2016


Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest capital city in Western Europe, predating others such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries.

The name of Lisbon can be traced back to Phoenician times when it was an ancient autochthonous settlement (Roman oppidum) that maintained commercial relations with the Phoenicians.

Julius Caesar made the Lisbon settlement a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo.

Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, Lisbon was captured by the Moors in the 8th century

The only success of the Second Crusade came to a combined force of 13,000 Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and German crusaders in 1147. Travelling from England, by ship, to the Holy Land, the army stopped and helped the smaller (7,000) Portuguese army in the capture of Lisbon, expelling its Moorish occupants.

The Moorish surrender to King Afonso at the 1147 Siege of Lisbon.

June 13th is Lisbon´s holiday in honor of the city´s saint, Anthony of Lisbon (1195 – June 13, 1231), also known as Saint Anthony of Padua. The most popular and effective preacher of his day (he had studied under Francis of Assisi), he attracted crowds of up to 30,000, Anthony earned the title "hammer of the heretics" for converting so many of the dualistic Cathari.

Francisco de Zurbarán - Sto Antonio de Padua

Christopher Columbus worked as a Cartographer in Lisbon in the late 1470s with his brother, Bartholomew.

When a rhinoceros arrived in Lisbon in 1515, it was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times.

One of Lisbon's most famous features is its tower, Torre de Belém, whose image is much used by citys 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.

Torre de Belém. By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

An earthquake killed about thirty thousand people in the city of Lisbon on January 26, 1531. Approximately one third of structures in the city were destroyed, including the Ribeira Palace and São João Church.

Lisbon was destroyed on November 1, 1755 by a massive earthquake and tsunami. Between sixty thousand and ninety thousand people lost their lives.

Voltaire the French Writer and Enlightenment advocate, wrote the short satirical book, Candide, at the time of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake  In his satire all manner of adversities are heaped upon Candide and his cheerful tutor Dr Pangloss, who stand up to them philosophically. Candide was intended to satirize philosophical optimism and to question the goodness of God.

The Lisbon Metro begun operation on December 29, 1959. It is now Lisbon's main artery, connecting the city center with the upper and eastern districts and reaching the suburbs.

The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon inaugurated on May 1998  is almost 11 miles long. It is the longest bridge in Europe.

Aerial view of Bridge Ponte Vasco da Gama. By Till Niermann 
Lisbon has never been officially declared the capital of Portugal. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention.

Lisbon is continental Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast.

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