Destination: Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon features a red suspension bridge which looks exactly like the Golden gate Bridge! It was built by the same American company and named El Ponte 25 De Abril to commemorate the revolution, which restored democracy in the 70's. Next to it towers the monument of Cristo Rei. This colossal figure of Christ with his arms outstretched on the south bank of the Tejo River is an incredible replica of the Cristo Redentor de Rio de Janeiro.
Another twin effect is the Avenida da Liberdade, a majestic boulevard built in the style of the Champs-Elysees, lined with Art Nouveau buildings, trees, and luxury boutiques just like in Paris!
Bring along two helpful guides to discover other uncommon places of interest:
The city is rich of historical landmarks: castles, palaces, churches, monasteries, museums, parks, dramatic avenues. Its gorgeous architecture reflects its Catholic heritage as well as its Moorish legacy. Most of the streets are paved with cobblestones, and the exteriors of the buildings are decorated with colorful tiles called Azulejos, a long established Portugese tradition. A visit to the Museo Nacional do Azulejos is a must to learn about the history of this art.
One Thousand Tiles, Ten Centuries of Decorative Ceramics, a beautiful book edited by Gordon Lang, retraces the history and the evolution of the techniques used to make ceramics, mosaics and terra cotta tiles.
Lisbon's cryptic atmosphere is well rendered in Raul Ruiz' (four and a half hour-long!) movie Mysteries Of Lisbon based on the 19th century classic novel of Portuguese author Camillo Castelo Branco.
Night Train to Lisbon, directed by Billie August, focuses on the dark days of Salazar's right-wing dictatorship in Portugal. Secret rendezvous of the political underground are held in hideaways of Lisbon's historical quarters.
1994 Wim Wenders’ movie, Lisbon Story, begins with a cryptic message and the plot develops into a bewildering quest and journey for which the city is the perfect setting.
Fado is the poignant music of Lisbon featured in "Fado houses," theaters, restaurants and bars all over the city. Those inspiring, nostalgic, melancholic songs are world-renowned.
SMCL offer a nice selection of Fado CDs :
The seduction of this soulful city lies in its history, art and architecture. It holds an emotional power over any visitor with a spirit of discovery.
Jocelyne C. is an extra-help Library Assistant for SMCL. She discovered Lisbon's treasures with her family during Spring Break.