Lisbon, (Lisboa) Portugal

For Americans, Vasco de Gama (1460-1524), Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521), and perhaps to a lesser extint, Bartolomeu Dias  (1451-1500), all come to mind as famous Portuguese exploeres, all sailing the world during the Portuguese Golden Age of Exploration.  (Although Christopher Columbus married a Portuguese lady and had a son with her, and even lived and traveled out of Lisbon for a while, he was Italian.)  And indeed these men accomplished a great deal for the world and their country!

However, what struck me as a defining point of history was far more recent; the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.  This natural disaster occurred on 1 November, so you can imagine all the religious leaders and believers thinking indeed it was the end of the world.  Although, as massive as the quake was, anyone caught up in it would believe that.

With a population of about 200,000, estimates of death loss in Lisboa alone are up to 100,000.  However, this seems to be a lot of debate.  Who was killed by the earthquake?  or the fires that consumed a good portion of the city? or was it those who rushed to areas near the water and were swept away by tsunami 40 minutes later?  Whatever the numbers, the loss of life and destruction of almost the entire city is one of the greatest natural disasters in recorded history (barring Noah’s flood, of course).

The effects of this earthquake were felt in Scandinavia and maybe in Iceland.  Recently (2015), documentation was found that indicates high waves were experienced as far away as Brazil!  The time after the Great Earthquake was the birth of modern seismology.

We think that disasters are worse now, but i suspect that may not be the case, however, they do occur and are ‘rumoured’ (reported) more frequently and immediately due to modern communications.  And these will continue until the end.

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Old fashioned trolley followed closely behind by a modern one.  These are essential to moving the 2.8 million people of the metropoliton Lisbon plus the 7 million tourists visiting the area each year!
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Tiles abound in Lisbon, both inside and outside buildings.  These particular tiles are found on walls of the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem.

 

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Jeronimos Monastery – With Papal permission in 1496, building began in 1501 and completed in 1601.
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Carmo Convent – The Convent of our Lady of Mount Carmel – founded in 1389 and completed in 1423 and was used as a convent until the 1755 Great Lisbon earthquake destroyed most of the building including the library and some 5000 volumes.  There were some repairs and used for various groups, but after another earthquake in 1969 damaged it again, it was given as a museum.
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Interesting artwork at Lisbon on the Rio Tejo
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Monument to Discoveries – Belem, Lisbon, Portugal.  Built as a permanent structure in 1960 honoring a glorious past of Portugal’s overseas expansion and discovery.  In the background, the 25 de Abril Bridge, a suspension bridge connecting Lisbon with Almada and inaugurated in 1966.  Due to its coloring and style, it reminds one of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
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Pena Palace

 

 

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Igreja de Sao Domingos – dedicated in 1241 and the site of the execution of Jesuit missionary in 1761 for treason.  Damaged in the 1531 earthquake and then nearly destroyed in the 1755 Great Earthquake, and barely survived a fire in 1959.  Restoration efforts still show significant fire damage.
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‘Road’ in the Al Fama  district of Lisbon.

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Commerce Square – Praca do Comercio – Lisbon
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Quinta de Regaleira of Sintra – Lisbon – house and eclectic and quirky park.