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Curious facts about Lisbon

There is no doubt that Lisbon enchants the traveller at first sight. And this feeling keeps growing as you discover legends and unusual facts hidden in its fascinating streets and avenues.

Interesting facts and legends about Lisbon

  • The second oldest capital of the EU. Only Athens is ahead. You may be surprised, but the history of Lisbon starts four centuries before the history of Rome. Also, together with Alcácer do Sal, Setúbal and some localities of the Algarve, it is considered one of the oldest cities in Portugal.
     
  • Host of the first rhino in Europe. In 1515, after 120-day-long voyage the first of these mammals reached the Old Continent and landed in Lisbon. It was a gift from the Governor of the Portuguese Indies, Alfonso de Albuquerque, for King Manuel I. To commemorate this event, the effigy of the animal was sculpted on the facade of the tower of Belém, the construction of which began one year later. In addition, it was Durero who immortalized it.
     
  • The most expensive chapel in the world. The chapel of San Juan Bautista of the 18th century that belongs to the church of San Roque, has earned this nickname for its ostentatious decoration. No wonder! It is adorned with mosaics covered with gold, silver and ivory. Moreover, it was designed in Rome by the prestigious architects Nicola Salvi and Luigi Vanvitelli and sent to Lisbon by means of various deliveries, as if it were a huge and very expensive collectible.
     
  • Trams that crossed the Atlantic. This emblematic means of transport, which has been running through the city since the beginning of the 20th century, was acquired in the United States. And that is why, at first, the Lisboans referred to the trams as los americanos.
     
  • Refuge of spies. Many of German, British and American secret agents frequently came to Lisbon during World War II. This detail is even mentioned in the film Casablanca. One of their favourite meeting points was the Avenida Palace hotel, that to this day keeps the door that has been closed since 1955, which allowed the spies to discreetly slip to Rossio station through a narrow passage.
     
  • Dean book store. Lisbon is home to the Bertrand book store, the oldest working book store in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. Founded in 1732, it began its activity in the street of Loreto, in the district of Chiado. After the earthquake of 1755 it had to move it to its present location, in the street of Garret.
     
  •  ... and another one, reduced to the minimum. Continuing with the subject of books, the streets of Lisbon host the smallest bookstore in Portugal, and probably in the world: the Simão book store, of barely 3.8 m2 that is located at 18 Escadinhas de São Cristóvão. To get an idea of its dimensions, it´s suffice to say that only the salesperson fits inside (customers are served in the street). However, it has an offer of 4.000 books.
  • Country: Portugal
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Hotels in Lisbon

Iberostar Lisboa
  • New Iberostar
  • SPA

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