Segredos de Alfama

Tue, 21.01.2020

Finding out Segredos de Alfama

On January 21st, our Portuguese language school organized a walking tour about segredos de Alfama.

Alfama is the oldest and one of the most typical neighbourhoods in Lisbon. It’s full of wonders and also of some secrets… With the history teacher, Indira Leão, we discovered some segredos behind this charming neighbourhood.

We started at Escadinhas de São Cristóvão to see the mural painting called Fado Vadio. The mural represents some traditions of Alfama, such as the origin of Fado shaped in the figure of Severa and other known Fado faces. It also portrays the Portuguese tradition of the bread and the wine and the saint patron of Lisboa, Saint Anthony.

Before going to the Santo António Church, we stopped at Pátio do Carrasco. Here lived the last executioner of Portugal Luís António Alves dos Santos (1806–1873). Portugal was the first country in Europe to abolish the death penalty in 1867. Some people believe his spirit haunts the place.

After arriving at the Santo António Church, Indira explained us that Saint Anthony was born and lived in its grounds. We entered inside the church and visited the crypt where there is part of the original house of the Saint.

Then, we went to the Sé Catedral de Lisboa. This cathedral was built in the 12th century and is a mixture of several architectural styles. Fortunately was not completely ruined with the Great Earthquake of 1755. In 1385, with the political crisis in Portugal and the war with Castile, a murdered happen. The bishop Martinho de Zamora was defenestrated from the balcony of the cathedral by the angry population. The reason: he supported the king of Castile.

After the walking tour, we had a drink in an esplanade in Alfama!


Unravelling Segredos de Alfama

Alfama is it the oldest and one of the most typical neighbourhoods in the city of Lisbon. It’s full of History and secrets that we’ll unveil next January, 21st, with our walking tour about Segredos de Alfama.

The Arabs founded Alfama and gave it the name Al-hama, which means “source of hot water, good water”. We cannot live a genuine experience in Lisbon without getting lost among the alleys and charms of the neighbourhood. Walking through the cluttered and narrow alleys of Alfama, you will feel yourself in a small village. This familiarity between people goes back to the 19th century. With the advent of industrialization, many rural people moved to the city, taking their habits and ways of living. That’s why when we enter in the neighbourhood, we feel like we’re inside a village.

Indira Leão, our history teacher, will help us to explore segredos de Alfama. We’ll start at Escadinhas de São Cristóvão to see the mural painting inaugurated in 2013 called Fado Vadio. It is very representative of the traditions of Alfama. We’ll be able to find for example, Saint Anthony and Severa, the first known fadista who lived in the 19th century.

Then, we’ll visit Saint Anthony’s church. Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon and he’s the patron saint of Lisbon. The church keeps a part of the house at the ends of the 12th century where the Saint was born and lived.

We’ll see the oldest defensive wall in Lisbon, from the late roman period, called Cerca Moura.

Our walking tour about segredos de Alfama will perfectly end in the belvedere of Portas do Sol. This will be the moment to know each other better while having a drink.

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