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Lisbon Portugal Streets and architecture


Lisbon displays extreme diversity of architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic,  Manueline (exuberant and sumptuous 16th century style, incorporating  Gothic, Spanish Plateresque and Flemish elements), Baroque, Traditional Portuguese, Modern and Post-Modern.

The predominant styles date from 1755, when the catastrophic earthquake razed half the city to the ground. The old Paco da Ribiera (Royal Palace down on the Tagus), the Royal Opera House and much of the downtown area were destroyed by the following fire and Tagus tidal waters.  The surviving examples of medieval architecture show significant influence of Moorish styles, dating back to more than 1000 years ago, for example, the Castelo do Sao Jorge and the surrounding streets of the Alfama.

The reconstruction of the city, performed according to the plans by chief minister Sebastiao Jose de Carvalho e Melo (later to become Marques de Pombal), featured effective grid system. Most of the buildings belong to neo-classical style. The most impressive building scheme of that period is the Praca do Comercio, at the end of Rua Augusta. The magnificent triumphal arch spanning the Rua Augusta was completed in 1873, 118 years after the earthquake, which marked the complete revival of Lisbon.

Among the city's most important architectural landmarks Castelo da Sao George, a great example of Moorish defensive construction, and also provides breathtaking views across the city.

The Church of Santa Luzia on the top of the Alfama hill with Miradouro da Santa Luzia terrace provides amazing city panorama. The church features 18th century white and blue azulejo walls.

Praca da Figueira, dominated by the monument to King Joao I, is the central public square in the large-scale plan for reconstruction of Baixa. Praca do Comercio, a magnificent riverside square at the beginning of Rua Augusta, embodies the concept of the city grandeur, elaborated in the Pombal's reconstruction plan.

Torre de Belem is the part of extensive Belem architectural complex. It is a grand medieval tower. The Jeronimos monastery is a beautiful late Gothic building, remaining until now an important religious centre.

Expo is a completely new area of the city, rebuilt for World Expo 1998 from the old dock area. Parque de Nacoes houses many waterfront restaurants, hotels, business centres, modern shopping malls.

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