I’m back from my amazing 3 weeks photo trip in Portugal and Andalusia (south of Spain). First of all, this is my very first blog article, and also the first time that I’m sharing my photography website to the public.
I started my trip in Lisbon (Portugal), where I spent 5 days. It was the first time I had travelled to this country, and I am really impressed by this amazing city. It reminds me a bit of Barcelona, with its old city center, small streets, and also night life.
A city which is historically rich, with strong culture, interesting architecture, amazing food, and people. I’ll give you an overview of this city, and I hope it will inspire you to go there.
Streets of Lisbon
Lisbon is considered as one of the European capitals of Street art, urban poetry is everywhere in the streets. The art is a way in which to talk about the social problems, the economic crisis, give hope, and show how beautiful the city is. I love the idea of free art in public areas. One of the best ways to visit the old Lisbon is to get lost, and wonder around the small streets. An interesting thing from a photographer’s point of view is the « calçada », which is the traditional Portuguese mosaic pavements, there are small, flat pieces of different stones (mainly basalt and limestone) arranged to form a picture or a pattern, geometrically like a mosaic.
The Lisbon Tramway
The first thing I wanted to see when I had researched the city is it’s famous tramway system. Operating since 1873, as a horsecar line at the beginning, it became electric in 1901. The tramway is still in use as a tourist attraction, however, the lines are still very important to the citizens due to sections of the city urbanism that can only be crossed by small trams. It is very photogenic.
The portuguese azulejos
Portugal is also famous for its painted ceramic tile work called « azulejos », they constitute a major aspect of Portuguese architecture as they are applied on walls, floors, and even ceilings. You can find the ceramics almost everywhere in the city, in the exterior, but also in the interior of palaces, churches, houses, schools, restaurants, and bars etc. This tile work has two main functions: the first one is of course visual because of the colors and the symmetries, but the second one is more functional because it allows you to keep the temperature in the buildings. Some azulejos tell stories about the major cultural and historical aspects of Portugal.
The 25 de Abril Bridge
Often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the 25 de Abril Bridge is a civil engineering masterpiece. This suspension bridge (inaugurated in 1966), connects the city of Lisbon to the other side of the Tagus river and the city of Almada. With a total length of 2,277m, it is the 27th largest suspension bridge in the world.
An interesting Architecture mix
The city has a diversified architecture scene, by mixing old and contemporary. As an archi lover, when I visit a new city, I always do some research on Archdaily which is a huge database for great spots. The estaçao do oriente, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is a real masterpiece of engineering and design; using raw materials and mixing purism, geometry, curves and monumentality.
Lisbon has also nice palaces like the Embaixada. This new kind of shopping center is hosting Portuguese brands and artists promoting Portuguese culture. Located in the Principe Real neighborhood, the Ribeiro da Cunha Palace is a famous new arabian style building during the 19th century.
Finally, Lisbon is also rich in its history. The Belém Tower (close to the Jerónimos Monastery) has played an important role during the Portuguese maritime discoveries in the 16th century. It is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I had the chance to make a visit with Elliot Schmeltz, an ex student from my school and a french city guide living in Lisbon. I really recommend his services! (visit his website monlisbonne.com). Thanks Elliot!