Monday, 29 June 2015

Lisbon’s new secret garden

These days it seems like there’s always something new popping up in Lisbon, new restaurants, new view points, but today we’re going to talk about a new garden that just opened in Graça. 

Lisbon’s Downtown and the Graça neighborhood are closer than ever.  An old dream and an 874,000 euros investment of the Lisbon’s City Council and an agreement that allowed the City Council to keep a piece of land belonging to the Ministry of Defense, brought the project Jardim da Cerca da Graça to life.

According to José Sá Fernandes this 1, 7 hectares of green space, in the heart of our historic city, will surely become "one of Lisbon’s new secrets".

In addition to the large balcony located to the left of its entrance and from which one can enjoy a panoramic view of the Castle, the Chiado and the Tagus, the garden also has extensive lawns, a small orchard, a playground and a kiosk. In addition its location allows to shorten the distance between Downtown and the Graça, walking through the Mouraria quarter.

At the opening ceremony, which took place only hours after the garden opened to the public, one could hear kids playing and screaming, which was in fact the goal of the entire project.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Fado Vadio on June 26th

June was a month of festivities in Lisbon, the “Festas de Lisboa” included several events and the highlight was, as usual, the “Marchas Populares”.

But this Friday you’ll have the last chance to hear the real Fado. Sung by amateur singers from the Mouraria District and from Escola de Fado Mouraria, the Fado music will invade the “Escadinhas de
São Cristóvão”.

This is a unique opportunity to “feel” the true soul of Lisbon and be part of a traditional celebration.

The show will start at 9.30 p.m. and will also give you the chance to visit the church of São Cristóvão.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Top 5 – Torre de Belém

Celebrating its 500th anniversary, the Torre de Belém is one of Lisbon’s landmarks and one of the most visited monuments.

Built in 1514-20 by Francisco Arruda and designed by Diogo Boitac, this defensive tower is a jewel of the Manueline architectural style, combining Moorish, Renaissance and Gothic elements in an amazing whole.

When the tower was built, the northern river bank was by the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and so the
tower stood on an island closer to the middle of the river, controlling the ships’ approach in a more effective way.

Described below are, in our opinion, the top 5 spots not to be missed when visiting the Torre de Belém:

1 – Governor’s Room
With a unique acoustics that amplifies the slightest whisper, this was where the tower’s governor discharged his duties. After it became obsolete, lighthouse keepers and custom officials use it as a working space.

2 – Watchtowers
The Moorish influence is well noted on the watchtowers, their domes are seated on Manueline rope-like to a pile of small spheres reminiscent of the tops of chess pieces.

3 – Virgin and Child Sculpture
A statue of “Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso” or “Nossa Senhora das Uvas” located in the “Terraço Baluarte” is facing the river, holding in one hand a bunch of grapes and a fig leaf. The image whished good luck to all of those who departed on the discoveries’ journeys.

4 – Kings Room
A room that overlooks the main deck – comparisons to a ship are unavoidable here. The balconies on each side of the tower are pure Manueline. It is said that the kings liked to come here to view the arrival and departure of the ships.

5 – Battlements
The merlons of most of the tower’s battlements are decorated with the cross of the Order of Christ, carved to look like features on a shield. The smaller merlons at the rear and on top of the tower are crowned with pyramid-shaped spikes.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Lisbon’s new view point

Lisbon has won a new “balcony” over the city. Inaugurated on June 10th, the “Terraços do Carmo” includes, besides this new view point, a pedestrian connection between the Convento do Carmo and Rua Garret.

This was the final “stone” of a work designed by the architect Siza Vieira for the Chiado area, after the great fire which occurred there almost 27 years ago.

In fact, this is an expanded and improved version of the plan, as the construction of a new viewpoint on the terraces next to the monastery was not in the original project and where, until now, “storage sheds” used by the Police were located.

"The Terraços dos Carmo” were a not foreseen discovery although these terraces appeared sketched in a letter of 1850 by Filipe Folque, a Portuguese politician and military.

Chiado has changed a lot in 27 years but now, it is as good as new.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Faz Música Lisboa!

Celebrating its 5th edition, Faz Música Lisboa! turns, once again, the city’s gardens, public squares and streets into small stages, throughout the day and a bit all over Lisboa.

The project Faz Música Lisboa is part of the international festival Fête de la Musique and consists in organizing a festival dedicated to live music, during one day and in the midst of the city of Lisbon, with free access for all.

The values of the festival are based on the connection between the community and the amateur and professional musicians, creating a cultural value and promoting the city.

Following the tradition of the Fête de la Musique, internationally celebrated in June and present in 116 countries and 450 cities, several musical genres such as Rock, Bossa Nova, Fado, Folk and
Classical Music, participate in Faz Música Lisboa!.

The public’s strong involvement and the interest of musicians and institutions around the concept of Faz Música Lisboa! are the key elements that motivate the organization to continue with the project.

Here is the program for June 20th:

  • Jardim da Estrela – 2pm to 7pm Jazz/Blues
  • Jardim das Amoreiras – 5pm to 9pm Lusofonia
  • Estufa Fria - 6pm to 8pm Fado
  • Jardim do Príncipe Real – 5.30pm to 11pm World Music
  • Rossio – 5pm to 11pm Rock
  • Largo do Camões – 5pm to 11pm Palco Delta
  • Avenida da Liberdade – 4pm to 10pm Rock
  • Ribeira da Naus – 4pm to 10pm Brazilian Music
  • Largo de São Paulo – 2pm to 10pm Rock/Electronic 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Marchas Populares 2015

One of Lisbon’s most important traditions - Marchas Populares - takes place this Friday.
On the night of June 12th, Lisbon historic districts come to the street to show their creativity, their traditions and their history. 

The city and especially the Avenida da Liberdade will be filled with music, color, glow and excitement in what is for many the most expected night of the year.

Every day, for months, children, young and adults give themselves to the creation of choreographies and rehearsal of dances and songs, and to the preparation of costumes and arcs that will represent their district, their pride.

This is a tradition born in 1932, an original idea by José Leitão de Barros, organized by the Parque Mayer and with the strong support of the Portuguese regime. In the first edition, only 3 districts entered the competition, Alto Pina, Bairro Alto e Campo de Ourique.

Campo de Ourique won the first edition, but most important, the foundations of this popular annual celebration were created. In 1934, the event was “upgraded”, being organized by the City Hall and integrated as it is today in the Festas de Lisboa, with the participation of 12 districts, each one with its own march and its own theme, bearing in mind the diverse local traditions.

After a few years, the “Marchas de Populares” were embraced by the city and “sold” as the symbol of an identity that mixed urban and rural traditions. The cinema had its share of “guilt” in the promotion of this event: movies like “A Canção de Lisboa” and “O Pátio das Cantigas” were a huge publicity to a tradition that was just starting.

There are a couple of reasons for the quick success of the “Marchas Populares”, an increase of identity of each district and the competition that brought to live old rivalries between districts.

Today, the “Marchas Populares” are evaluated on two occasions, in MEO Arena, and in the Avenida da Liberdade, on June 12th, in the following categories: Choreography, Set Design, Costume Design, Best Lyrics, Musicality, Best Original Composition and Avenue Parade.

This is a music and colorful event you can’t miss!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Music at the Palace

The Hotel Avenida Palace continues awarding its Dear Guests with a diverse musical program and the schedule for June was just presented.

In a month that marks the arrival of summer, the date could not be forgotten and so, on the 21st we’ll have the “Spring recital”.

But earlier in the month, a premiere, Maria Cecilia Bettencourt presents us with a “Fado recital on the piano”, a new way to hear fado music, through the keyboards of a piano.

The traditional fado will also have its own performance, on the 15th it’s time for “Fado e Guitarras”, on a night to remember.

We’ll finish our program on the 27th, when Inês Amano joins João Romeiras in a “Soprano voice and piano recital”, a perfect ending for this month’s program.