lunes, 3 de diciembre de 2012

A historical context is always necessary (Part I)

Well, after some days here, I had the chance of know a little bit better the town, walk around Rossio, party on Bairro Alto, but I guess my favorite part was the time spent on Alfama, block that survived the 1755 earthquake that devastated the 85% of the town buildings. Thereby, that block is very well appreciated for his inestimable historical value.

Either way, Lisboa history doesn't start after the earthquake. But before I enlighten you with my vast historical knowledge (what? You don’t know the meaning of the word sarcasm?), there’s something that we need to know to understand why Lisbon was such a desirable place for many different people through history. And mainly is because of the geographic situation (yeah, I’m such a genious…Please, keep that rock on your pocket). Lisbon is one of the main entrances to Europe by the Atlantic coast, and the Tagus is the main navigable river of the Iberian Peninsula. Moreover, the town is based on 7 hills: Castelo, São Vicente, São Roque, Santo André, Santa Catarina, Chagas and Sant'Ana, and those offered a natural place to base the town. Once we know this, we can start with the historical review:
Many history researches are convinced that the town was founded by Phoenicians on 1200 b.c, as the main and consolidated theory, thereby, the 1st name of the city was Allis Ubbo or safe harbour (yeah, this people were already trading stuff with half of the known world, and the Tagus river estuary was too good to not having a commercial settlement).

Either way, I'm not here to teach history or bore you to hell. Let's just say that after the Phoenicians, the town suffered invasions from Greeks, Carthaginians, and of course, after they defeated Hannibal on the Punic wars, the Romans. You can find really valuable information, art, objects of the period on the National archeological museum . This museum is located on the Belém Monastery and is a visit when you’re in the town is practically mandatory.
On the middle age, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the usual barbarian suspects where the next to populate the town, Sarmatians, Alans, and Vandals, and of course Suebi, that controlled the region until 585, because after that year, the area passed under control of the Visigoth Toledo reign (and then I don’t stop Portuguese people saying that they were always independent ¬¬). Around that time, the name of the city changed to Ulishbona (the name was getting closer to the present one).
But the real action for Lisbon started on 711, when the muslims invaded the Iberian peninsula, and made of Lisbon an independent Taifa on the 1022. From that area reminds Alfama (Al- Hamma), block with probably the best views of Lisbon, the Castelo de São Jorge, the best bars to hear Fado, and the most animated block during the festivities of São Antonio, so if you’re not the museum kind, this block is really mandatory.

Thereby, when Lisbon became an independent Taifa, the town lived a great cultural and economic period, but that was going to disappear some years after, when on “1147 the crusades crusader knights led by Afonso I of Portugal besieged and reconquered Lisbon” (1), and after that, the battles against Muslims warriors from Al-Andalus were constant, until 1255 that Lisbon becomes the capital of the Christian reign of Portugal.
Thereby, Lisbon became the neuralgic center of the country, where the commerce with other European cities flourished making a Lisbon a real metropolis.
But then again, the town was about to live the most great moment, when the age of the discoveries. Lisbon became the most important European trade center, Manueline style buildings where everywhere, (you can find beautiful images of this on this blog
But years after, as we all know, on 1755 Lisbon suffered the great earthquake that was about to destroy the 85% of the town buildings, 3000 people died, and many libraries, paintings, and maps, manuscripts, of incalculable value where about to disappear.
Thereby after that disaster, the Marques de Pombal took care of the restoration of the town. (For more information Lisbon reconstruction, please visit: )
Thereby, Lisbon became a town following the premises of the Illustration, and for that amazing period, I will have to write another post.
So, this is the end of the 1st part about Lisbon history. I hope I didn’t bore you to hell, and next time you visit the town, you have a bit of historical facts on your mind.
This was just a small context, so maybe someday I will write about some specific events with more relevant data.
Thanks for reading, and if you guys want to leave a comment (even if is for saying how my post sucks), please, be very welcome.

(4)   The reconstruction of Lisbon following the earthquake of 1755: a study in despotic planning/ Mullin, John R.

martes, 13 de noviembre de 2012

Becoming alfacinha (pilot)

Sometimes is not easy to figure out how your life is going to be, for much that you try to make your plans, life doesn´t care much about them.
So here I am, trying to live my life and figure it out what I should do with it. Last year I was living in Madrid, with my dream job, tons of friends and just started to date a boy that I´m pretty sure is the love of my life, as perfect as can sound, just think that nobody life's is, and of course, just when you think you reached the top in your life, for better or for worse, shit happens. When that happens you only have two options:

1- Try to rebuild your life from the idea you had of it: Why is this a bad idea? You can't rebuild something that is gone, you can try it but never will be the same.

2- Start over, clean slate: This is obviously the hardest option, start over has never been easy but with time is the most prolific option.

The truth is that I was sick of living in Madrid for many reasons, so why not to move somewhere else? Clean slate in a new town. As much I thought about it the coolest the idea was becoming, and a month after my big fall, finally I moved, and as you can suspect from the title, YES Lisbon was the town for my redemption.
So from now I will tell you everything I know about my new favorite city, and with time and some luck, I will become alfacinha.
Good quarta-feira for everyone :)
Ps: Fot the moment I will only write in english, in a short future (I hope so), the blog will be also on portuguese, and spanish when I don't feel like a lazy ass for it.