Historic sites in Lisbon, places to visit for their cultural significance.

There are several historical sites in Lisbon that merit special mention for their cultural or architectural significance. One such landmark is Palácio Fronteira, sited near the city’s Benfica area. The mansion is noted for its stunning 17th-century tiled panels. On the other side of the city is the Panteão Nacional-Church of Santa Engrácia where the tombs and cenotaphs of many eminent Portuguese citizens are situated. Under the streets in the Baixa (downtown) district, the foundations of a 13th-century wall, the D. Dinis Wall, can be viewed as part of a permanent exhibition. Meanwhile, those interested in religious sites have two very special churches to investigate, Igreja de São Domingos, known for its fire damaged interior, and Igreja do Carmo, one of the few buildings to have withstood the great 1755 earthquake. Meanwhile, another subterranean historical site is the Núcleo Arqueológico, sited under a bank. And once a year an opportunity arises to go underground and explore the fascinating nearby Galerias Romanas. It’s worth waiting in the long queues for! Over towards Alfama, the Sé de Lisboa Cloisters surround the foundations of a Moorish mosque. In fact, the excavations are linked to the Museu do Teatro Romano, sited further up the hill where the ruins of a Roman theatre can be viewed. Away from the city centre is Museu da Água Príncipe Real-Reservatório da Patriarcal, a 19th-century reservoir and cistern complex, again hidden underground and another one of Lisbon’s more unusual historical sites.     

This compelling visitor attraction is hidden under the pretty and well-tended gardens at Praça do Príncipe Real. Underneath the central pond and fountains is a 19th-century reservoir, part of Lisbon's extensive network of cisterns and...  Read More

This historic site, located in Lisbon's Alfama district, exemplifies Roman presence in the city. Combining a museum with the ruins of an ancient theatre, the Roman Theatre Museum works as a cultural space to promote the ruins, which date from 57...  Read More

Unbeknown to many visitors to Lisbon's 12th-century cathedral is the fact that it was built on the foundations of a mosque, constructed when the Moors held sway in their 'Lishbuna'. But long before their arrival, the Phoenicians, Romans and then...  Read More

Every year for one weekend in September the public is allowed access to one of the most remarkable historical sites in Portugal – the Roman Galleries. On this rare occasion, the Lisbon authorities unlock a trap door imbedded in Rua da...  Read More

A bank is probably the last place you'd expect to find one of Lisbon's great cultural assets, but hidden beneath the Millennium BCP branch in Rua dos Correeiros is an archaeological site that is layered with remarkably well preserved remains of...  Read More

The atmospheric ruins of the Carmo church and convent is one of the more poignant of Lisbon's historic sites. Built between 1389 and 1423, this was once the city's grandest church. But on the morning of All Saints' Day in 1755 a violent...  Read More

Revered by locals as a very special place of worship, the Igreja de São Domingos stands on the site of a long ruined convent in Lisbon's Baixa (downtown) district. It's one of the oldest churches in the city, with foundations dating back to...  Read More

Set underneath the Church of S. Julião in Lisbon's Baixa (downtown) district is the D. Dinis Wall, a section of medieval wall unearthed during the rehabilitation of the neighbourhood in 2012. Constructed near the river on the orders of King...  Read More

Despite the fact that the building wasn't completed until 1966, Santa Engrácia can still be considered an historic site due to the fact that, as the National Pantheon, the church houses cenotaphs of several Portuguese heroes, figures such as...  Read More

Sete Rios/Benfica

Hidden away on the northwestern outskirts of the city, the Palácio Fronteira is one of those rare historic sites that still function as a private residence. The manor house, built originally as a hunting lodge in 1640 for João de Mascarenhas,...  Read More


Meet Paul Bernhardt

Paul Bernhardt cut his teeth as a press photographer in England before leaving the UK to settle in Portugal, where he has lived for over a decade, and where he started to focus on more...  More About Paul