Have you ever imagined a historical tour with breath-taking views of Lisbon? This three-hour walking tour guides you through the Águas Livres Aqueduct, one of the largest and most complex water supply systems in the world, built in the eighteenth century. This tour is perfect for those seeking a historical site with endless views over the city. It consists of a walk along a path located on the aqueduct. It is, without a doubt, a visit that you should not miss!
The tour begins at Calçada da Quintinha and leads you on both sides of the Águas Livres aqueduct, known as “Passeios dos Arcos” (one facing north, the other facing south). The full length of the walk is approximately 2 kilometres, entirely on a flat surface, with no stairs or climbing of any sort. Despite being above the city, the walkway is wide, and therefore one does not feel the height. The scenic views are amazing on both sides. One can see the bridge, the river, Monsanto Park and notice several periods of architectural and urban development.
The Águas Livres Aqueduct is representative of an important chapter in the history of the water supply to the city of Lisbon. Its relevance is noted on historical, patrimonial, technological and scientific realms. The aqueduct remained in operation until it was deactivated in 1967. Built between 1731 and 1799, the Águas Livres Aqueduct was a vast system of collection and transportation of water, through gravity, which comprises a total of 58 kilometres of existing pipelines between the springs, located 15 kilometres to the north-west of Lisbon and the water stand posts in the capital. In its path, the crossing of the 941 metres long Alcantara valley is prominent, with arches that reach the 65 metres of height.
The tour continues through the Loreto Gallery, one of the underground galleries of the aqueduct, and ends at the Reservoir Mãe d´Água das Amoreiras. This reservoir, 7.5 meters deep, was designed by the Hungarian architect Carlos Mardel in 1746, to receive and distribute the water carried by the Aqueduct. From the panoramic terrace above the reservoir one can admire the city of Lisbon. On the western side, from the Register House, the water flow was distributed through fountains, factories, convents and noble houses.
Both the aqueduct and the reservoir have been classified, since 1910, as a National Monument.
© 2010 - FRANCISCO PIQUEIRO / FOTO ENGENHO
MEETING POINT @ CALÇADA DA QUINTINHA Nº6
MODE on foot
WALKING DISTANCE 6km
This is a half-day tour, so then you are free to explore Lisbon by yourself in the afternoon. LUNCH IS NOT INCLUDED.
Lisbon city centre is FASCINATING TO DISCOVER ON FOOT. This tour WILL WALK YOU THROUGH THE CENTURIES, dating back to the Phoenicians, almost 3000 years ago, till contemporaneity. For 3 hours we will explore the Downtown area, the “Baixa Pombalina”.
The city of Lisbon was funded in 1147 after the Christian took it over to the Moorish at the castle hill. The medieval city of Lisbon was one of the most vibrant merchant’s cities of Europe and embodied the great maritime discoveries of the 16th century. The violent earthquake of November 1st 1755, followed by a tsunami and fires that lasted for days, destroyed the city to the ground. Its reconstruction, under the supervision of Prime Minister Pombal was a thorough, complex, and admirable process of urban renewal of an old, poorly organised, dirty, and chaotic city into a modern and enlightened city. The Baixa Pombalina is an excellent example of the Enlightenment Age. The reconstruction period following the earthquake lasted for more than a century and many buildings were not concluded until the end of 19th century. At the turn of the 20th century, Baixa and nearby Chiado were the most prominent social and economic areas, but during the 1960’s its slow decadence began, with a significant loss of population and the emergence of other peripheral important areas. The Chiado fire in 1988 was of particular relevance in this process leading to fast functional obsolescence. By 2005, the commemoration of the bicentenary of the earthquake was sought by many as a great opportunity to present its application to World Heritage status, but its conservation condition was a problem. That is when things started to change!
Nowadays the Baixa Pombalina is considered the traditional historic centre of Lisbon. Over the last ten years local planning policies led to a significant urban “revolution” that has radically changed its image and perception. A booming tourism economy helped the process of urban renewal attracting many real estate investors. This process, however, is not without controversies over questions like excessive offer of short-rental apartments, too many hostels, unregulated tuk-tuk services, loss of iconic historic commerce, etc. At the same time, remarkable architectural interventions added value to the city. This is a process underway and our walking tour will reveal it all to you!
MEETING POINT @ PRAÇA DO COMÉRCIO
MODE on foot
WALKING DISTANCE 3km
PLACES TO VISIT Praça do Comércio – MUDE Museum of Design and Fashion – Bank of Portugal Headquarters - Archaeological Center of Rua dos Correeiros – Castelo’s Lifts (Assisted Pedestrian Path)
What about a time travel between 40’s and 60’, in Lisbon? In a time when the city was growing to the Northern and Eastern peripheries, different types of residential buildings and neighbourhoods were developed towards the modernization of the city. This three-hour tour will take you around the Modern Lisbon; for sure a DOCOMOMO guided tour that you don’t want to miss!
The tour begins at Instituto Superior Técnico, the first university campus built in Portugal (1927-1941), and continues to Alvalade (1944), an area of about 230 hectares developed by the city council to house 45000 inhabitants, based on a mix of functions and housing typologies. More than 50 years later, Alvalade constitutes an example of local centrality and a case-study of variety and livability.
Then, the tour moves towards the Oriental part of the city, to Encarnação Neighborhood (1938-1948): an example of the first wave of public housing estates built in Lisbon late in the 1930’s, that adopts the image of a rural village, with rows of semi-detached single family houses in a radial street layout. After that it proceeds to Olivais North (1954), Olivais South (1962), and Chelas (1960-66), a large-scale urban operation, promoted by public initiative in the late 1950’s, as part of the city urban development process: a continuous territory of about 737 hectares, approximately 1/10 of the total area of the city, which is marked by the application and revision of the principles of modern planning, representing today a landmark in town planning in Portugal.
MEETING POINT @ INSTITUTO SUPERIOR TÉCNICO
MODE by Bus
PLACES TO VISIT Instituto Superior Técnico (Alameda Campus) – Alvalade (Estacas Neighborhood (1951-1954) - Estados Unidos da América Avenue - Vá-Vá Housing Complex (1950-1953) - Rodrigo da Cunha Avenue (1948) – Brasil Avenue (1958)) - Encarnação Neighborhood (1938-1948) – Olivais North – Olivais South - Chelas
The archaeological remains, the churches, the streets and the toponymy are pieces of a puzzle that helps us build the time sequence of a city without time or from another time: Lisbon. A city inhabited by different people and cultures that encloses testimonies through time. Lisbon took the role as a trading center that ensured status and prosperity to the city, however it was affected several times by the dynamics of History itself. The decline of the Roman empire reflected on the urban reality and the commercial dynamic of the Mediterranean routes and had a strong effect in Olisipo. Visigoths and suebi were present in the current Portuguese territory until the beginning of the 8th century. From 714 on, changes take place and Lisbon submits to Islamic domain. With this change, Al-Ushbuna (Lisbon) again assumes its Mediterranean condition and meets a period of political and economic growth, becoming one of the most important cities of Western Iberia and one of the biggest in Europe, superseding Paris and London in population. The city model reflects Middle East examples - the great mosque, the castle, the governor's palace (alcaçova) and the urban center (medina). Alfama grows side by side with the original urban centre.
In 1147, D. Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and, in 1256, Lisbon becomes the capital city of the kingdom. In a prosperous environment, the city expands, mainly downtown, on the Baixa valley. Its centrality shifts from the mountain (Castelo de São Jorge) towards the valley. This new centrality is materialized with the construction of the Paço Real in the 16th century; the medieval structure of the alleys defines the surrounding area and nowadays still remains the same.
During this political and economic evolution, several peoples coexisted in the city. In medieval Lisbon, Moors, Jewish and Christians developed coexistence strategies. Inside the city, there were different cities, each one with its own characteristics. This is the multicultural Lisbon that we want to show: through the streets the churches and the people that make Lisbon the cosmopolitan city that is and that it has always been.
MEETING POINT @ CASTELO DE SÃO JORGE
MODE on foot
WALKING DISTANCE 3km
PLACES TO VISIT Castelo de São Jorge - Museu do Teatro romano - Sé - Alfama - Chafariz del rey - Mouraria - Largo da Achada