Mouraria neighbourhood is becoming cool. It is where fado, tradition and multiculturalism are joined together. Smells, colours and sounds make this neighbourhood something special, in the heart of Lisbon. We went for a walk on its streets, discovering several worlds.
Everything begins with the arrival of D. Afonso Henriques with his troops in Lisbon. The city was conquered by the christians in 1147 and the moors were ”invited” to leave. Part of the Muslim population occupied a new area, out of the city walls. Mouraria was born.
Through the years, this neighbourhood in the middle of the city, was always considered as an outcast, a different world. It grew living with narrowed and labyrinthine streets, impoverish people, prostitutes and men looking for bad company. It is told that Fado was born here and this theory is proudly defended by the neighbourhood’s residents. Severa, a beautiful courtesan, passionate and of strong personality was its first diva. Her love with the Count of Vimioso took her to a tragic end , but she managed to take Fado to the high society, starting, this way, its fame.
After Severa came Amália, Argentina Santos, Fernando Maurício, the favourite son and Mariza, among other names which build the history of fado and of Mouraria.
Nowadays this neighbourhood is full of contrasts. It has evolved into a place where several communities from several continents live together. Arriving in the lower area of Mouraria, where we include Martim Moniz we witness this peaceful living. It’s a meeting point for the several communities which live and work in this meighbourhood. It is the Fusion Market with world gastronomy. A trendy place to spend the end of the day, where two concrete buildings stand out. They are two shopping centres with little architecture attention which house many shops mostly from Asia. We get inside and we surprise ourselves with the bustle and cultural diversity.
We also find another world walking on Bemformoso street. The bustle at the sound of other languages, other costumes and other commerce. At the highest area of the neighbourhood, in Farinhas street, you find the tastes and sounds from Africa. In this area you find other atmospheres. A contrast of elderly people, tradition and the coming of new residents. The gentrification is invading little by little.
A visit to Mouraria is all of this and much more. A neighbourhood in Lisbon, several worlds in a neighbourhood.