ALFAMA & MOURARIA
D. Pedro IV Square (Rossio)
Everyday | 3h30pm
Tue, Thu and Sat | 10am
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ALFAMA & MOURARIA
Lisbon's fascinating Old Districts
Take Lisboa's Alfama & Mouraria Free Tour is a journey into the ancient Lisbon, the narrow and maze-like streets of Alfama & Mouraria. We begin by visiting Mouraria so let's start by talking about this district.
A free walking tour by Mouraria may well be the difference between being a tourist in Lisbon or a true explorer. Nowadays Mouraria is a melting pot of cultures, from the most traditional lisboneers to the other 60 different nationalities that live in its houses. Here we will not find the careful planned architecture of the Pombaline Downtown, or the magnificent monuments of Belém. But we will experience and feel many amazing stories of the city of Lisbon.
In this free walking tour spoken in english you will know the origin of Fado, it's roots, its first notable voice Maria Severa and the contrast with contemporary street art in the Saint Cristopher collective mural. You will how multiculturalismo brought life back to a district that was doomed. A district where you will see Lisbon's most ancient house, but most of all, where you will see a "bairro".
In this part of the tour that we could almost call the Mouraria Free Tour, you will listen to and imagin the birth of Lisbon. No one can really tell with absolut certainty who created Lisbon but every stone, every corner of these old districts tellls a story. Lisbon was conquered to the moors in 1147. King Afonso Henriques was helped both by crusaders and templars. Even the warrior Martim Moniz played a pivotal role - or was this yet another of the manu legends of Lisbon? Throught out this tour you will listen to many legends because this is a city that carries many wonderful tales of the extraordinary.
Al-Hamma, many claim, is the most charismatic neighborhood of Lisbon. The name comes from the arab and translates to hot fountains, abundant in the area. To visit Alfama is to take a plunge into Lisbon's soul. We can guess the chaotic urban plan of Alfama when we look at the neighborhood from the Beco do Recolhimento viewpoint. The orange rooftops of the hold houses provide a glimpse of the amazing labyrinth we're stepping into after we visit the Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Did you know there's a science to study the history of Lisbon called Olisopografia and that the father of these studies is Júlio Castilho, whose statue you can find at Santa Luzia's viewpoint? The Martim Moniz episode is also depicted at the same viewpoint in a beautiful frame of blue tiles.
The Alfama Free Tour, the second part of our visit, will start then by descending into the heart of Alfama, a district that escaped the rage of the 1755 earthquake. We will not find houses from the arab period but the arab influence is felt on every square meter of the oldest neighborhood in Portugal. The pateos, the balconies, the closeness of the houses, the entanglement of the streets but first and foremost the nearness and warmth of the Alfama's inhabitants.
We will tell you all about Saint Vincent and Saint Anthony, and reveal who is the true patron saint of Lisbon. Maybe both of them. But here is a tip, the answer is in the coat of arms of the city. Here is another opposite tip, the best day to be in Lisbon is on the night of the 12th to the 13th of June, when the Popular Saints Festivity is at its peak. And on this night it is all about the saint that was born in Lisbon back in 1191. And sardines, yes sardines,why are we obsessed about sardines?
It is also in Alfama that you will see the History of Lisbon's mural painted by Nuno Saraiva, a prolific Lisbon illustrator deeply in love with Lisbon. And the famous tribute to Amália Rodrigues, Fado's greatest name, created by Vhils. It is also a very adequate homage to the pavours of the famous Portuguese Calçada that work our streets every day of the year since Eusébio Furtado Coelho came up with the idea back in 1842. Since the creation of the Museum of Fado we dare say that Alfama is the nevralgic center of the portuguese national song and the neighborhood has Fado houses in every corner that date back many decades being the Rua dos Remédios the finest exemple. Ask our local guides for suggestions.
The Alfama and Mouraria Free Tours hopefully will be one of the highlights of your stay in Lisbon. It's not a monumental tour but a voyage into a village where the public fountains, the colourful tiles, the unexpected river vistas, the pastel colours, the neverending steps and arches, the clothes at the balconies and the simplicity of the inhabitants will capture your eyesight but most importantly your heart.
Groups of 8 or more are always welcomed. In this case we require a prepayment of 10€ per adult and 5€ per youngster under 18.
Children under 14 are free of charge. This principle results from the need to protect and value the level of quality and dedication we demand of our Take Lisboa local guides.