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Portuguese culture is an incredible amalgamation of foreign influences, from the extensive expeditions the Portuguese explorers made all over the world, to the Moorish and Roman invasions. In the streets of the city, travelers will be spellbound by the busy and energy of Lisbon, from the artists performing, businessmen bustling in their suits, vendors selling hot chestnuts, or children playing in the parks. The city itself is littered with historical landmarks, from the Baroque architecture to restored palaces, castles and regal churches. A mix of the old and new, Lisbon is overflowing with events, music, museums, and sights that display this diversity. Lisbon also seethes with gradeur, reminiscent of when this city was the heart of the most powerful, rich nation in the world.
In Lisbon, many different festivals are celebrated reflecting the people’s past beliefs in local pagan and roman gods as well as Christian saints. For instance, June is the most filled month in terms of Lisbon's festivals; these festivals honor different saints with parades and parties. In addition, on the second Sunday of lent, there is a parade of violet-covered litters in the Graça district; this ritual has gone on since the 16 th century.
In order to really live the June festivities in a local way, you should definetely visit the area of Alfama after 10 pm, around the area of Largo of São Miguel.
The famous music of Portugal is Fado, which means roughly ‘common human feeling.’ Much like its namesake, the music Fado is very emotional, if not melancholy in nature. The origins of the music are thought to be a combination of Arabic influence from progugese sailers and Africa slave music. Lisbon Fado (there are two types) is performed by women and communicates a mix of suffering, love, nostalgia and pain.
For music lovers, Lisbon has a host of world class music venues such as the Orquestra Sinfónica and the open-air amphitheatre of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. The Teatro Nacional de Dona Maria II, at the top of the Praça de Dom Pedro IV (Rossio), is the most striking.
For dance, there is the Companhia Nacional de Bailado (Portuguese National Ballet) is based at the Teatro Camões in the Parque das Nações. Other venues that host dance performances are the Centro Cultural de Belém and the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
Portuguese are also very passionate about poetry, whether it be from the 16 th century (i.e. Luis de Camões is one of the most famous) to modern (such as Alexandre Herculano or Fernando Pessoa). Triapsing through the streets of the old city, one can see why this culture is so conducive to poetry, romance and adventure. Fernando Pessoa is an amazing poet and you can get extremely inspired by his words!