5 May 2018

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Lisbon, Portugal

Chiado is a trendy area, with shops, restaurants, a mix of 17th century architecture, Art Nouveau, old style cafes, theatres and churches, and in the middle of all this, the oldest book shop in the world.

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Livraria Bertrand was founded in 1732, and is (recognised by the Guiness Book of Records), the worlds oldest bookshop. Over the years Bertrand’s has expanded to become the largest chain of bookstores in Portugal.

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On the 4th floor of the Benetton store on Rua Garrett is an old lift, (elevator), originally from the Ramiro Leão department store in 1888. It was one of the first lifts in Europe, the stools were provided for women to sit on during the journey.

Two, of the many churches in Chiado, have beautiful painted ceilings, so worth a photo here. The first are of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Encarnação, and then the Basílica dos Mártires.

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Largo do Carmo, is a small, shady square with open air cafes, musicians, and  a fountain in the centre, the Charfariz do Carmo fountain used to be the main water source for the district. The headquarters of the Guarda Nacional Republicana is here, and this was where Marcello Caetano fled on April 25 1974 and surrendered power to General Spinola, see previous post for the Carnation Revolution.

When the 1755 earthquake hit Lisbon, hundreds of people were in churches across the city, attending mass for All Saints Day. The Igreja do Carmo was no exception, built in 1389 in the Gothic style, at the time it was the largest church in Lisbon, and hundreds of people died when the roof collapsed on the congregation. Unlike other churches which were rebuilt, this church wasn’t,  left as a reminder and memorial, of the destruction of that day.

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There is also a small museum, the Carmo Archaeological Museum,  installed on the site in 1864, for the storage and display of items from old ruined buildings and items that were found in the rubble of the church. The display includes a  14th century tomb of King D. Fernando I, a 4th/5th century  Egyptian Sarcophagus, and my favourite a 16th century mummy from Peru.

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Moving away from Chiado, to a castle that sits on the highest of Lisbon’s hills, and where I took the above photo of the city, showing Chiado and the Gothic church in the centre.  Castelo de Sao Jorge was originally built by the Moors in the mid 11th century, the castle that now looks out over the city was built between 1938 and 1940, a result of the impact of wars and the 1755 earthquake. Archaeological evidence has shown that there has been some form of  human settlement on this site as early as  the 2nd century. It was declared a National Monument in 1910.

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There isn’t an awful lot to see in the grounds, there’s access to the towers, one can walk around the ramparts, and there are some, noisy, resident peacocks that roam the grounds. It does provide some of the best views of the city.

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Ponte 25 de Abril
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The line of trees is Avenida da Liberdade

When I wrote about Principe Real, the Botanical Gardens were closed for renovation.  Now open, I visited a couple of weeks ago, not the best time of year to visit gardens, however, I thought I would end today with some snaps of the gardens, some of the plants are quite architectural.

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