The fabulous Vino con Vista City of Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world. Lisbon is endowed with a combination of historic quarters and a gorgeous scenic Tagus River-front view. There is a vibrant downtown area with plenty of shops and restaurants. The city is brimming with outstanding art and architecture.
I love the Vasco de Gama Bridge and the monument to Christ the King. The Cristo Rei monument stands on the southern bank of the Tagus River, in Almada where Christ stands with open arms. This statue was inspired by the Corcovado Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro.
I also love the Monument to the Discoveries representing the the maritime Portuguese Explorers during the 15th and 16th centuries. Expeditions started in 1419 along West Africa’s coast under Prince Henry the Navigator. Bartolomeu Dias got to the Cape of Good Hope and entered the Indian Ocean in 1488. In 1588, Vasco da Gama led the first fleet around Africa to India. Methodical Portuguese expeditions started in 1419.
“Padrão dos Descobrimentos” (Monument to the Discoveries) is located on the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary; where ships departed to explore and trade with India and Orient. This magnificent sculpture was conceived in 1939 by Portuguese architect José Ângelo Cottinelli Telmo, and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida.
The Tower of Belem was designed to protect the Tagus Estuary from pirates, but it isn’t the only castle in Lisbon. When I was in Lisbon, I had an opportunity to attend a Fado concert at ST. GEORGE’S CASTLE. From the millennium-old walls of the castle of Sao Jorge, I had a panoramic Vino con Vista view of this historic city.
I basically won the Fado lottery on this Vino con Vista adventure because I was introduced to Fado by listening to Carlos do Carmo. He belted out some incredible tunes. Most of the members of his Portuguese audience in Lisbon were singing along. He is like the Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley of Fado.
The Castle of Sao Jorge was an outstanding concert venue. taking hilltop venue overlooking the city of Lisbon and the Tagus River.
This was my first exposure to Fado. Many Fado lyrics are drawn from poetry. I liked the mournful music so much, that I bought a Carlos do Carmo CD at the concert. Watch this video to see him in concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V66wB4aomvI&feature=related
Historians concur that Fado is a “multicultural blending of melodies by Portuguese sailors, African slave songs and ancient Moorish ballads.” Fado songs are usually performed by a solo singer, male or female. The solo singer is traditionally accompanied by a wire-strung acoustic guitar and the Portuguese guitarra (a pear-shaped lute with twelve wire strings).
Portugal has numerous Fado venues where you can hear the soulful music. There is a Fado Museum in Lisbon.
Fado is Lisbon’s traditional music genre. This “distinctive melancholic form of traditional singing, accompanied by classical and Portuguese guitars has themes associated with passion, fate and regret.”
On November 27, 2011, Fado was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. UNESCO is interested in protecting cultural traditions; Intangible Cultural Heritage includes “traditions and skills passed on within cultures.”
UNESCO describes Fado as the “urban popular song of Portugal”:
“Fado is a performance genre incorporating music and poetry widely practised by various communities in Lisbon. It represents a Portuguese multicultural synthesis of Afro-Brazilian sung dances, local traditional genres of song and dance, musical traditions from rural areas of the country brought by successive waves of internal immigration, and the cosmopolitan urban song patterns of the early nineteenth century.” (UNESCO) For more information visit UNESCO’s website here
Furthermore, Lisbon won The Academy of Urbanism’s “European City of the Year 2012.” The organization was impressed with “Lisbon’s development of the River Tagus waterfront (now home to the annual Festival dos Oceanos) and the revival of Mouraria, one of the city’s typical historic quarters. Lisbon has successfully managed to sustain its classical and modern architecture. There was a tremendous amout of rebuilding after the great earthquake of 1755.”
The Academy of Urbanism is “an autonomous, politically independent organisation whose goals are the recognition, learning and promoting of best practices in urbanism.”
Here’s a great video to watch before you plan your trip to Portugal: http://youtu.be/qt-T6Zbry98
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com
- Portugal – country profile (rombizco.wordpress.com)
- From Portugal: Christina Branco – Ai Vida (jobblog2011.wordpress.com)
- Mariachi, Fado and Chinese Shadow Puppetry (abcnews.go.com)