Lisbon : Vibrant Landscape and Gorgeous Architecture in the City of Seven Hills

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The capital of Portugal is dotted with hilly landscapes and surrounded by coastal shorelines, cliffs and beautiful architecture. This modern metropolis prides itself with its incredible history being ruled by numerous civilizations including the Romans. The intricate and baroque architecture of the city makes it a Utopian destination for all travelers. The city is known for its rich culture and heritage, being a vibrant and colorful destination popular for museums, historic monuments, landscapes and many other things. Here ten things you just have to do while visiting the city.

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Lisbon : Vibrant Landscape and Gorgeous Architecture in the City of Seven Hills:table of contents

1. Castelo de Sao Jorge

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One of Lisbon's most iconic landmarks, Castle Sao Jorge is perched on a hill overlooking the city and its quaint white walled, orange roofed houses. The strategic location gives visitors breathtaking views over the city and from the other side you can see far across the mouth of the Tagus River. Historians believe fortifications on the hill date back to around the 2nd century BC. Since then the hill has been used by a large number of different civilizations including the Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans and Moors. The latter of which built many of the wall and tower fortifications that are still standing today.

2. Belem Tower

Further down the banks of the River Tagus you'll find the Belem Tower, a highly significant building in Lisbon's history as it provides the first naval defense of the city, at the edge of the river. Dating back to the 16th century, this UNESCO World Heritage site features some stunning architecture and is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Walking around the fortification also gives visitors picturesque views over the river and out towards the coast of Portugal.

3. Jeronimos Monastery

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The second of Lisbon's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this huge 16th century monastery offers some of the most breathtaking architecture in all of Europe and a perfect example of Manueline ornamentation style. A stone's throw from the Belem Tower, the monastery is perfect for taking a stroll around Lisbon's western district.

4. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

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This huge national gallery displays a large collection of paintings from the 15th and 16th century with a mix of European, African and Oriental art. The museum is housed in a palace building built in the 17th century on the ruins of the Saint Albert Carmelite Monastery. It holds an extensive collection of Portuguese art that include tapestries, furniture, and other historical objects.

5. Elevator de Santa Justa

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One of the most unique structures the city has to offer, this Neo-Gothic elevator connects the Pombaline Lower Town with the upper level Carmo Square. Built in the 19th century to combat the problem with Lisbon's hilly landscape, the lift is adorned with glorious arches and beautiful geometric patterns. At the top of the structure you'll also find a viewing platform, offering picturesque panoramic views over the city.

6. Padras dos Descobrimentos

Next to the Belem Tower you'll find this stunning monument, a tribute to the Portuguese Age of Discovery, where many explorers set foot from Lisbon to all corners of the globe during the 15th and 16th centuries. Built in 1960, the memorial depicts various famous characters in Portugal's celebrated history such as Vasco da Gama and Henry the Navigator.

7. Arco da Rua Augusta

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This visually-striking triumphal arch commemorates the city's reconstruction after the devastating 1755 earthquake, which destroyed most of the city. Arco da Rua Augusta stands tall at the center of the the Praça do Comércio, the mightiest of Lisbon's picturesque plazas dotted around the city. Visitors can climb to the top of the structure for breathtaking views over the plaza and River Tagus.

8. Igreja do Carmo

Not to be confused with the similarly named structure in Porto, the Igreja do Carmo is one of the oldest buildings in the historic city of Lisbon. Founded in 1389, much of the church was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake and offers a great insight into the devastating natural disaster that changed the face of the city's history. Inside the ruins you'll also find a museum which displays archaeological pieces including statues, mosaics and even South American mummies.

9. Basilica de Estrela

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The serene white chalk dome of the church adorns the skyline of Lisbon and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The structure can be viewed all over the center of the city due to its towering height and grandeur. Construction began in 1779 after it was commissioned by Maria I, daughter of King Jose I. The façade is designed with white washed limestone embedded with intricate designs, statues and allegorical figures.

10. Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira

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This beautifully well-kept palace is still an official residence for the Marqueses de Fronteira, serving 13 generations of the family so far. Visitors can enter the building and walk around some of the rooms open to the public along with strolling around the picturesque gardens. Be sure to check out the chapel next to the palace, the building features a stunningly unique exterior that is said to have been formed from dishes broken by King D. Pedro after he was told a superstition that whatever he touched in the palace could never be used again.

◎ Closing

Lisbon is a vibrant and bright city with awe-inspiring architecture influenced by its rich and extraordinary history. The monuments around the city, orange-roofed houses and gorgeous surrounding landscape make it a perfect holiday destination.

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