Wednesday 22 June 2022

Bairro Alto - Lisbon

The Bairro Alto, the Upper Town, sits on a hill west of the Baixa. After the 1755 earthquake, the relatively unscathed district became the favoured haunt of Lisbon's young bohemians. Home to the Institute of Art and Design and various designer boutiques, it is still the city's most fashionable district. By day, the central grid of narrow, cobbled streets feels residential. After dark, however, the area throngs with people visiting its famed fado houses, bars and restaurants, while the city's LBGTQ community coalesces around the clubs of neighbouring Principe Real. This area houses good ethnic restaurants, a legacy of the city's first black community established by the descenants of African slaves.

We walked up Rua da Misericordia

some beautiful buildings here,

and arrived at Largo Trindade Coelho

which is dominated by the Igreja de Sao Roque. From the outside, the 16th century church looks like the plainest church in the city, with its bleak Renaissance facade

We decided to to inside.

Inside lies an astonishing succession of lavishly decorated side chapels.  The highlight is the Capela de Sao Joao Baptista, for its size the most expensive chapel ever constructed. It was ordered from Rome in 1742 by Dom Joao V to honour his patron saint and, more dubiously, to gratify Pope Benedict XIV whom he had persuaded to confer a patriarchte on Lisbon. It was erected at the Vatican for the Pope to celebrate Mass in, before being dismantled and shipped to Lisbon at the then vast cost of £25,0000.  The more valuable parts of the altar front are kept in the adjacent museum. 

The statue of Padre Antonio Vieira sits outside the church. 

We continued on our way, on the steep rise of Rua de Sano Pedro de Alcantara 

Next to Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, Elevador do Gloria, an old tram, was coming to its final journey after taking people up one of the steepest hills in Lisbon

The Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara was packed with people enjoying the sunshine

and having food and drinks from the kiosks that are to be found here

The views from here are breathtaking

zooming in on the castle

the river in the distance

and if you lean over the railing, you can see another terrace below where people can wander or sit.

We stayed here for about an hour, looking at the view and having a rest

then continued walking on Rua D. Pedro V

admiring the grand buildings all the while

some tiled

Praca do Principe Real was on our way so we stopped to have a look.

it's a small park but very pleasant

Tribute to the Victims of Homophobic Intolerance

and further along, the rainbow colours

and a stall with LGTQ information

Another tree with an amazing trunk

and another.

We left the little park and continued on Rua da Escola Politecnica until we finally reached our destination, Jardim Botanico, 

and were greeted by this, at the entrance. Isn't that amazing? It's a Dracaena Draco 

And look at that trunk or is it branches?

We paid the entrance fee and then started walking around the Botanial Garden.

Lush and green with huge palm trees

a small pond

wide avenues

or paths

another pond with a bridge

Phytolacca Dioica and its wonderful trunk

and lots of bamboo.

We wandered around the garden for quite a while, and then we left.

Interesting street art

and later, street artists at work.

The tram of Elevador do Gloria at Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, was due in 15 minutes we were told. We really wanted to ride on it, but decided that walking would be quicker

so decided to walk down the steep hill, and sure enough, there was the tram as we reached the bottom.

 We reached Praca do Restauradores and then it was a 5 minute walk to our hotel.

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