Graça’s attractions

Wed, 29.08.2018

Visiting a popular neighbourhood and its workers villages

On the last Wednesday, 29th of August our language school took the students to visit the neighbourhood of Graça.

We were accompanied by Indira Leão, our history teacher. The walking tour was great until we get to the belvedere of Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. The small effort that we made to reach the belvedere worth it. The views are stunning and we could contemplate them. This belvedere is popular known as Graça, but the official name is in honour to a Portuguese poetess. Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen was one of the political opponents of Salazar’s dictatorship and fought against it. She had the habit to frequent the belvedere to write. After her death in 2004 the chamber gave her name to the place.

After that, we walked some meters until Villa Sousa. This workers village was the old palace of the Counts of Vale-de-Reis that ruined after the earthquake in 1755. In 1890 João Luís de Sousa e Filho, an important industrial, built Villa Sousa to house his workers. During the second half of the 19th century, with the Portuguese industrial expansion many people from the countryside moved to Lisbon. The city wasn’t prepared to receive so many people and the prices of the lands rose. The workers didn’t earn enough money to rent a place to stay, and most of them became homeless. The workers villages appeared to prevent this situations by giving a roof to them.

Then we went to Villa Berta built in 1900. This village was built in Art-Nouveau style. The owner was a Brazilian industrial called Joaquim Francisco Tojal that insisted to use a pleasant and beautiful architecture.

After the tour we went to a terrace to drink and socialize!

You can check out our amazing photos

A travel to the Industrial Revolution in Lisbon

Did you know that Graça had an important part during the Industrial Revolution in Lisbon? Most of us probably only know the amazing views that we get through Graça’s belvederes. However, besides that Graça has an interesting heritage of workers villages that dating back to the 20th century.

You are all invited to join us in this tour on the 29th of August! Indira Leão, our history teacher, will guide us through the belvederes and the workers villages in Graça.

We’ll start to visit and get inspired by the views of the belvedere of Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. Also known as Graça’s belvedere, it was named in honour to the Portuguese poetess that frequented that place to write.

Then, we´ll go to the worker’s village known as Villa Sousa. It was built between 1889 and 1890 by João Luís Sousa & Filho, an important industrial man. The owner made it to house his workers. In this time with the expansion of the industry in Lisbon many countryside people moved to the city. Lisbon wasn’t prepared to host all of this people that were looking for better work opportunities. For this reason the grounds sold out, and they were homeless. To prevent this kind of situation, many industrial men built worker’s villages for their employees.

Villa Berta is another model of workers village. With more than 100 years old it was created by Joaquim Francisco Tojal. The name “Berta” was in honour to his daughter. Unlike Villa Sousa, we’ll note that this village has an eclectic architecture in the style of Art Nouveau.

After the tour we’ll gather in a nice terrace and seize the views!

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