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Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal with an estimated population of 2,800,000 and 3.3 million people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Region and it is the political center of the country, as seat of government and residence of the Head of State.

lisbon from Graca

View of Lisbon from Graça

Lisbon Location

Lisbon is the westernmost capital in mainland Europe. It is located in the west of the country, on the Atlantic Ocean coast where the River Tagus flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

History of Lisbon

The harbour provided by the estuary of the river Tagus made it the ideal spot for a settlement. A theory is that it took its name from the pre-Roman name of the River Tagus, Lisso or Lucio.

In approximately 711 Lisbon was taken by the Moors, under whose rule the city flourished. The Moorish influence is still present in Alfama, the old part of Lisbon that survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Many placenames are derived from Arabic; the Alfama, the oldest existing district of Lisbon, for example, is derived from the Arabic "al-hamma".

On 1 November 1755 Lisbon was destroyed by another earthquake, which killed between 60,000 and 90,000 people and destroyed eighty-five percent of the city. The event shocked the whole of Europe.

Lisbon Cathederal

Lisbon Cathederal and the Church of Nossa da Conceição

Culture and Sights of Lisbon

The heart of the city is the Baixa (Downtown) or city centre. The Castle of São Jorge and the Lisbon Cathedral are located on one of the seven hills of Lisbon, to the east of the Baixa. The oldest district of the city is Alfama, close to the Tagus, which has made it relatively unscathed through the various earthquakes. Other monuments include: the Castle of São Jorge, Praça do Comércio with the beautiful façade of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição Velha nearby.

Lisbon's opera house, the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, hosts a relatively active cultural agenda, mainly in autumn and winter. The monument to Christ the King (Cristo Rei) stands on the left side of the river, in Almada. With open arms, overlooking the whole city, it resembles the Corcovado monument in Rio de Janeiro, and was built after World War II, as thanks for Portugal's being spared the horrors and destruction of the war.

Every June there are 5 days of popular street celebrations in memory of a saint born in Lisbon – Anthony of Lisbon (or Santo António). Saint Anthony, also known as Saint Anthony of Padua, was a wealthy Portuguese bohemian who was canonised after a life preaching to the poor, simpler people.

Transport in Lisbon

Lisbon's public transport network is extremely far-reaching and reliable and has its Metro as its main artery, connecting the city centre with the upper and eastern districts and now reaching the suburbs. Bus, funicular and tram services have been supplied by the Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (Carris), for over a century.

A traditional public transport in Lisbon is the tram. Originally introduced in the 19th century, the trams were originally imported from the U.S. and called americanos.

There are four commuter train lines departing from Lisbon: the Cascais, Sintra and Azambuja lines as well as a fourth line to Setúbal crossing the Tagus river over the 25 de Abril Bridge.

The Portela Airport is located within the city limits. TAP and Portugalia have their hubs here and the flights available are mostly to Europe, Africa and America.

Lisbon tramcab

Education in Lisbon

The city has several private and public secondary schools, primary schools as well as kindergartens. In Greater Lisbon area there are also international schools such as Saint Julian's School, the Carlucci American International School of Lisbon, St Dominic's International School, Deutsche Schule Lissabon, and Lycée Francais Charles Lepierre.

There are 4 major public universities in Lisbon the University of Lisbon, the Technical University of Lisbon, the New University of Lisbon and the ISCTE. There is also a state-run polytechnic institute, the Polytechnical Institute of Lisbon. Major private institutions of higher education include the Portuguese Catholic University, as well as the Moderna University, the Lusíada University, the Universidade Lusófona and the Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa.

Sport in Lisbon

The Lisbon sports clubs Sport Lisboa e Benfica, "Benfica" and Sporting Clube de Portugal "Sporting", have many sports teams in the highest Portuguese divisions and European competitions.

Climate of Lisbon

Lisbon is one of the mildest European capitals. Spring is cool to warm, between 10°C and 27°C, with plenty of sunshine and also some showers. Summer months are mostly sunny, dry and hot with temperatures between 16°C to 36°C.

Autumn is mild and unsettled with temperatures between 8°C and 23°C and winters are typically rainy, windy and cool with some sunny days with temperatures between 2°C and 18°C, usually staying at an average of 10°C. On average, there are 3300 sunny hours per year and 100 days with rain per year. Lisbon's climate is strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream

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