It’s made believed that Lisbon has seven hills, similar to great cities such as Rome and Athens. With a clear expansion of the city’s population and its geographical characteristics, this is not true, but let’s assume it is to maintain a certain magic. Lisbon, a mythical city, has seven hills. It tires a little your legs, but when we get to the top of each hill, you are always surprised. And here is the first surprise. Inspired by the arrival of spring, we went visiting the Colina de Santana.
The Colina de Santana belongs to the parish of Arroios. It’s the hill of hospitals and palace-like buildings. It is where we found the garden of Campo Mártires da Pátria and the pilgrimage of the saint; the Medical Science College, where Vasco Santana had his exam in the movie Canção de Lisboa; the garden of Torel where the same Vasco sang the student’s fado. A place filled with charm where we could close our eyes and forget the daily hustle, where few tourists pass by, where the old men spent their time playing cards and feeding the varied birds. These were roosters which sang loudly during the day, the ducks which played and bathed in the cool waters of the lake, delighting the eyes of happy children. Here ones learns what it means to feel well.
This hill is most known to be the hill of hospitals. Hospitals were former convents which have been transformed in health establishments after the earthquake in 1755. It is the birthplace of medicine in Portugal, with more than 500 years of history highlighting a rich heritage in the hospitals of São José, Capuchos and Santa Marta.
Campo Mártires da Pátria
This space has already been used a lot – it has been a bullring, a flee market and a vegetable market. Its name was given in the memory of eleven men who were executed under the suspicion of conspiracy against the English general Beresford, who governed the country after the French invasions. At the back of the garden, we could see a statue surrounded by tombstones in thanksgiving for miracles and promises. It is Dr. Sousa Martins’ statue, who despite not being recognized by the church as a saint, it was believed to have been a miracle performer by the folks.
The Torel garden
A small piece of paradise. A corner in the city that few know about, from where one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city. Originated from a 18th century farm, it owes its name to its former owner, of Dutch origin, Cunha Thorel. In January 1928, the land was given to the City Council, that built the garden and the viewpoint we know today. The garden is surrounded by 18th and the 19th century villas.
Other places of interest:
Xuxentude de Galicia
Not far away from the garden of Torel, we find the Casa da Xuventude de Galicia (Youth House of Galicia). Founded in 1908, this association has as main goal to the promotion and the spread of knowledge about the culture and the Galician traditions. Of the various activities that the associations organizes, the sevillanas classes and traditional music are those which stand out. The associations has a restaurant, as well.
The Lavra elevator
It is the oldest elevator in the city, and it supports the climbing and the descending from the Largo da Anunciada to Torel. For more information about this, you can read our article about elevators of the city here.
The Paço Real da Bemposta Palace
Currently is the Military Academy and its palace was originally built in the 17th century, meant to be the residence of D. Catarina de Bragança. It was destroyed by the earthquake in 1755, but then renovated. It’s worth visiting its chapel.
It is perhaps one of the best schools to learn German. And even if you do not have interest in learning the language, you can go there for lunch. You can choose from a vegetarian dish or the famous German sausages. All very well done. In summer it is even better, as you can have lunch in the terrace in a pretty calm garden. The institute organizes various cultural events. You can visit their website and check out their latest news.
Be it summer or winter, it is hard to resist going to the most famous ice-cream shop – Mu. It opened almost 4 years ago, selling 100% hand-made Italian ice-creams and they are a yu -muuuuy…delicious!
Another recommendation to fill up your stomach. Located in front of the Hospital dos Capuchos, it’s surrounded by a garden. The PSI restaurant is a place for the true fans of vegetarian food. The Dalai Lama approves, as he was a guest there once.
Translation by Ioana Bota