The stories behind Bairro Alto
On the last 12th of November, our Portuguese language school organized a walking tour about the boémia in Bairro Alto. However, the school event was more than only talking about the boémia facet of the neighbourhood! That’s why, it was so interesting and fun.
Our history teacher, Indira Leão, led us during the afternoon. We started at Praça Camões. Before being a square and having the statue of the Portuguese famous poet, it was one of the poorest areas in Lisbon. Casebres do Loreto was the name given to the poor neighbourhood. It was built with the wreckages of a palace destroyed with the Great Earthquake of 1755.
Then, we went back to the time when Bairro Alto was projected and constructed. In 1498, the king D. Manuel I created a new neighbourhood: Bairro Alto. It was a way of housing the merchants, mostly Italians, which were profiting with the Portuguese overseas expansion. Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Loreto, located in Chiado, it’s a reflection of the importance of the Italian presence in Lisbon.
We saw part of the Ferdinand’s wall in the mall Espaço Chiado. At the time of its construction, Bairro Alto was a rural area, located outside the walls of the city.
The Bairro noticed a fast growth when the Jesuits started to control Igreja de São Roque during the 16th century. The presence of the Jesuits in the neighbourhood attracted the settlement of noble families and religious orders.
After we got stunned with the magnificent Igreja de São Roque, we walked through the streets of Bairro Alto. Here, Indira told us that during the 19th and 20th centuries the Bairro became a nightlife neighbourhood.
Check out our photos about the boémia experience in Bairro Alto!
Finding out the places of Boémia in Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto is a neighbourhood known for its boémia with bars, restaurants and discos. Many people from Lisbon consider that it’s the best neighbourhood to go out at night. However, what do you know about Bairro Alto? When it became a district of boémia? We’ll give all the answers that you need in the next walking tour on the 12th of November.
Our history teacher, Indira Leão, will show us some of the most emblematic places in Bairro Alto.
The existence of Bairro Alto is not as old as we think. In 1498, the king D. Manuel I approved the creation of this neighbourhood in Lisbon. The development of Bairro Alto was necessary to host the merchants that were profiting with the Portuguese “Discovers”. At that time, Praça do Comércio was already an important economic and political centre.
We’ll start at Praça Camões, where Indira will tell us more about the creation of this square. Before the 19th century, this place housed a poor neighbourhood called Casebres de São Loreto.
We’ll visit Igreja de São Roque. The establishment of this church controlled by the Jesuits, increased the development of Bairro Alto during the 16th century.
Then, we’ll see part of Ferdinand’s wall, built to defend the city. At that time, Bairro Alto belonged to the outside part of the Ferdinand’s wall.
We’ll walk through some streets of boémia in Bairro Alto, while Indira will describe its evolution until the 19th century. It was in this time when the neighbourhood became a space of boémia and nightlife thanks to the journalists that worked there.
After the walking tour, we’ll have a practical experience of the bohemian facet of Bairro.