Dwight Peck's personal website

Views of Lisbon in October 2017

A restful week at the far edge of continental Europe

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Lisbon: the flea market and the National Pantheon

Many great European cities have castles, cathedrals, and art museums, but when the flea market is on, it becomes a question of priorities.

The Rua Dom Dinis, and our blue archway, as we set off up the street, bound for what we've been told is a tram depot a kilometre or so to the north. 28 October 2017.

Farther up our street, the Igreza de Santa Isabel

The Igreza de Santa Isabel, built in 1741. No time to stop in -- today's flea market day.

Turning down the tiny Rua Santa Isabel (a mistake, as it turned out)

A little random sightseeing time getting back into the game

The Igreja de Santo Condestável, or Holy Constable -- the Holy Constable was Nuno Alvares Pereira, a Portuguese military commander who was instrumental in seeing off the Castilian invasion of 1383-1385, notably with the use of English tactics from the 100 Years' War brought in by the contingents of English troops sent down from Gascony.

Pereira later became a famous mystic and got himself beatified in 1918 and canonized in 2008. By his daughter he was an ancestor of the Dukes of Braganza which became the Portuguese royal house in the 17th century and provided Portuguese kings from 1640 to 1910. The church in a sort of Gothic style was inaugurated in 1951.

The blast of spiritual light from the Constable's head is actually just a reflection off the windows.

The 'tram depot', in front of the Cemitério dos Prazeres, is just for tourist sightseeing trams, with long lines and standing room only within. Not for us -- we just need to get to the flea market.

The taxis are inexpensive, and we're coasting along the coast road in front of the Arco da Rua Augusta (arch of the long Augusta Street pedestrian promenade of boutiques and Subway sandwich shops) and the huge Praça do Comércio, the riverside market square that was rebuilt on the ruins of the king's palace after the 1755 earthquake. We'll come back later for a closer look.

Here we are at last, hoping that the best bargains haven't been snapped up. The flea market, or Feira da Ladra ("Thieves' Market", Tuesdays & Saturdays), extends from here on Rua do Paraiso farther up to the park of the Jardim Botto Machado and around the National Pantheon.

We'll step aside now and let Kristin get on with turning her practiced eye to the goods on display.

'La vie est belle'

The Pantheon looms.

Kristin can assess every item on display and move faster up the street than I can with my little Cybershot.

People are hauling huge bin bags of booty out of here, and Kristin doesn't seem to have found anything yet.

More bustling flea market scenes

No huge bin bags yet. Perhaps the hunt is more important than the kill.

We're edging down towards the Pantheon, to be joined later by the rest of our party.

Local scenery from the porch of the Church of Santa Engrácia . . .

. . . the Igreja de Santa Engrácia, who was one of the 3rd century 'Countless Martyrs of Zaragoza'. The first church, from 1568, collapsed; the building of its replacement, begun in 1681, lapsed in 1712, but it was completed in the 20th century. Given the long gestation period, Obras de Santa Engrácia became a common proverbial term for projects that seem never to end.

In 1916 it was decided to turn the church into a national pantheon, which was completed in 1966 under the Salazar dictatorship, when the dome was put on. Included here are the tombs of many worthies, including politicians, authors, footballers, and fado singers, and there are 'empty tombs' (cenotaphs) of even more distinguished people, like Vasco da Gama, Luís de Camões, Nuno Álvares Pereira (the Constable), and Prince Henry the Navigator, all of whom are elsewhere.

The ground level view . . .

. . . and the dome

For €1 more, you get to proceed to the terrace.

We're halfway up.

Just under the dome

Don't look down.

Out onto the terrace

A view uptown

The fancy dome

Across the estuary of the Tagus river

Five-masted cruise ships that shouldn't need masts

And some floating cities, on the Tagus river estuary . . .

. . . not much like the Tagus river upstream (Toledo, 2012)


The flea market in full flower

Another church just up the hill. Once we're finished flea-marketing, we can go on up and have a look.

We ascend towards the church, and the flea market follows us.

And still we've bought nothing . . . nothing at all. But, to be fair, there might have been a spectacular bargain hidden away somewhere here, something to fill just that special niche perfectly.

The Pantheon in the background

The top end of the market, and the back end of the church

This is the front end of the Igreja de São Vicente de Fora, St Vincent Outside the Walls, 'the burial place of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal'. The Augustinian monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, in the name of the patron saint of Lisbon, St Vincent of Saragossa, whose relics were transported here from the Algarve in the 12th century, as depicted on the city's coat of arms. He is said to have been a church deacon who was martyred in Valencia at the time of the Emperor Diocletian's persecutions in about AD 304.

The present church, with its Mannerist façade, was begun in 1582 on the orders of Philip II after Spain's takeover of Portugal in 1580 and completed in 1629.

The layout is that of a simple Latin cross with a single nave and side chapels, and a dome over the crossing.

The Baroque altarpiece, in the shape of a permanent 'baldachin' or canopy over the altar, is by the prominent Lisbon sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro in the latter half of the 18th century.

An altarpiece in the chapel in the right transept

Once again the theme of the life-size figure of Christ with his cross, and above that, perhaps St Vincent himself (though they say he's usually shown wearing his deacon's suit)

The tombs of the Portuguese royal dynasty of Braganza were formerly here in the main church but have been moved to the former refectory of the old monastery to form its own pantheon (but we missed that).

We're on our way up still another hill towards the Castelo de São Jorge, or St George, as a tourist tram descends . . .

. . . followed by a convoy of tuk tuks.

Soon we're topping out at the Largo da Graça, which is alas on the wrong hill.

Along the Igreja e Convento da Graça . . . in search of the Castle of St George

Tiles and flowers

Late in our exhausting morning, we stop into the small restaurant A Mourisca for a light lunch, which turned out not to be so light.

With new directions and stuffed with lunch, we march down the Calçada da Graça full of hope.

And then turn up the next hill . . .

. . . on the left: encouragingly called the Costa do Castelo.

A nice view above us -- with the little steeple and façade of the Igreja da Graça, whence we've just come

And another nice view, in another direction

About a kilometre on, it dawns on us that we are walking all the way round the entire castle experience.

As the hours pass, we do not give up hope.

Good advice

Nearly 360° around the huge castle grounds, only one more little hill . . .

. . . to the Rua do Chão da Feira, or market street, directly in front of . . .

. . . the gate to the castle grounds.

Next: the Castelo de S. Jorge

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 26 November 2017.

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