The Medieval Christian Lisbon

Wed, 03.04.2019

Exploring the Christian roots in Lisbon

On the 3rd of April, our Portuguese language school organized a walking tour about the Medieval Christian Lisbon.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, led us through the streets where was established the Christian Monarchy.

We started near Saint’s George’s castle. This was an important administrative area during the Muslim period. In 1147, D. Afonso Henriques, with the help of the French Templars, conquered Lisbon to the Muslims. He became the first Christian king of Portugal. Before D. Afonso Henriques, Portugal was a county, located in Guimarães, submitted to the king of León and Castile D. Afonso VI.  Afonso Henriques fought against D. Afonso VI and his mother, D. Teresa, to make Portugal independent.

The Christian kings after D. Afonso Henriques took advantage of some Muslim characteristics. For example, the Alcazaba, the Muslim administrative centre located inside the castle, was maintained and turned into the Royal Palace. Even the Portuguese merchants used the Muslim currency, the maravedi, to trade in North Africa. Unlike the Muslims, the Christian traders managed to extend their markets to the countries of Northern Europe, such as Flanders.

Indira also told us about some particularities of the first Christians kings. The king D. Sancho II was excommunicated by the Pope and died in Toledo. D. Isabel de Aragão, wife of D. Dinis turned bread into roses.

We learned that the Christian kings maintained the Muslims and the Jews in their own communities segregated from the Christian population. The Muslims had to work in the farmlands and to pay a tax called salaio. The word changed to saloio, pejorative name assigned to the people of the field.

We finished in the Ferdinand’s wall located inside the mall Espaço Chiado. After that, we went to a cosy pastry shop.

Check out our photos:


Going back to the Christian times in Lisbon

Since very early, Lisbon was an attractive area for many people: Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans… After the barbarian invasions (400 AD – 800 AD), the Roman Empire was destroyed and replaced by Christian kingdoms. These kingdoms spread throughout the Iberian Peninsula. During the 8th century, another people from the Arabian Peninsula have settled in Lisbon: the Muslims. The Christians managed to conquer the Peninsula, again. Our next walking tour on the 3rd of April will be about the Christian presence in Lisbon during the Middle Ages.

After our previous walking tours about the Jewish and Muslim presence in Lisbon, now it’s the turn of the Christian domain in the city.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, will guide us during walking tour. We’ll start at Saint George’s castle, the main stage of the Christian Reconquest led by D. Afonso Henriques in 1147. After the Christian Reconquest, Saint’s George castle became the royal palace of the king and the Portuguese court until the 16th century. Inside the castle, life was good for the noble people. Outside the castle, in the areas of Alfama and Mouraria, Jews and captured Muslims lived separated from the Christian community.

We’ll visit the Sé de Lisboa. The construction of the Sé started right after the Reconquest of Lisbon in 1147 and finished in the 13th century.

We’ll have time to see one part of the Ferdinad’s wall. It was the most important defensive wall during the Medieval times. It was built in the 14th century and the name is in honour of the king D. Fernando.

After the tour, we’ll have a good drink on a pleasant terrace.

Don’t’ forget to join us, and stay tuned with the school events section on our website!