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The Bairro da Graça is a historic neighborhood located on Colina de Santo André, the highest hill in the city of Lisbon, with a wide variety of buildings, urban art murals, streets, squares, gardens, workers’ villages, viewpoints and palaces. In the streets of the Bairro da Graça it is possible to observe the constant movement of the inhabitants of a traditional village within a large city, the trams (the famous Tram 28 passes through here), the tuck-tuck, the public transport and cars.
Graça is one of the most typical neighborhoods in Lisbon, where you can feel what it is like to be from Lisbon, where you get fantastic panoramic views over the whole city, a place where we can sample Portuguese cuisine in one of the many local restaurants. It is a neighborhood full of its own life with countless shops, cafes, pastry shops, bakeries, fishmongers. We find a wide variety of attractions and local shops in the Bairro da Graça without needing a means of transport. It is all close in this neighborhood. The Bairro da Graça is close to Alfama, close to Castelo de São Jorge, close to Feira da Ladra … It is a village within the city where all people meet and greet each other. The Graça neighborhood has been much rehabilitated lately, which in recent years has led to an increase in demand from new national and foreign residents. It is a safe and quiet neighborhood.
Graça is administered by the São Vicente Parish Council.
Attractions to visit in the Graça neighborhood (Top 10)
- Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen viewpoint: Commonly known as “The Miradouro da Graça” is one of the most popular viewpoints for tourists and Lisboners to appreciate the beauty of the city, located in Largo da Graça in front of the Igreja da Graça, the viewpoint is one of the privileged places to observe Mouraria, Baixa, Alfama, the Castle, the 25 de Abril Bridge, the Tagus River and Serra da Arrábida on the other side of the Tagus. In this viewpoint there is a terrace to serve visitors. The main highlights of the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen are the panoramic view over the city of Lisbon, from the Tagus river to Avenidas Novas; the Graça Church and Convent; the terrace of the viewpoint where you can enjoy the view and the shade of the trees; and the Bust dedicated to the poet Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen opened in 2009 and sculpted by António Duarte.
2. Igreja e Convento da Graça is an 18th century building designed by architects Caetano Tomás de Sousa and Manuel Caetano de Sousa. The first convent was inaugurated in 1271 to house fifty monks of the Order of the Hermits of Santo Agostinho, being dedicated to the cult of Nossa Senhora da Graça.
The main highlights of the Igreja e Convento da Graça are:
- Cloister, the main attraction of the convent, built in Classical style, with 17th century tiles with themes related to birds and flowers; the Tiled panels with representation of Mercy, Faith, Hope, Justice, Freedom and Charity; and the Tiled panels representing scenes from the Passion of Christ.
- Main façade with emphasis on a medallion with the image of Saint Augustine from the 13th century, a niche with the image of Saint Augustine and a bell tower by Manuel da Costa Negreiros.
- Fachada Lateral Sul with reference to the dimension of the surrounding landscape.
- Church ceiling built in five sections, painted with scenes representing angels and a caption with “Ave Maria” by João Vaz and Elói Ferreira do Amaral.
- Main Chapel rebuilt twice, namely between 1765 and 1785 and 1896 and 1905. The main highlights of the Main Chapel are Central painting representing a scene from the life of Saint Augustine; the Four medallions with representation of the Evangelists Marcos, Lucas, Mateus and João; the Twelve canvases depicting the steps of Saint Augustine, authored by Pedro Alexandrino.
- Sacristy with emphasis on Paintings representing the Assumption of Our Lady and portraits of Frei António Botado and Mestre de Foios Pereira by Pedro Alexandrino; A marble sarcophagus by the Secretary of State for Dom Pedro II (1648-1706) Mendo de Foios Pereira; and the Seven 18th century tile panels representing the life of Santa Maria.
- Capela dos Pretos Cativos integrates the four images of black saints, namely Santa Efigénia, Santo Estêvão, Santo António de Notto and São Benedito
- Chapel of Senhor dos Passos with emphasis on the altar and medallion representing the Eternal Father, authored by Estêvão Rodrigues and the seven oil painted pictures representing scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, authored by Francisco José da Rocha.
3. Nossa Senhora do Monte viewpoint located in Largo do Monte at approximately 90 meters of altitude, it is one of the highest viewpoints in the city of Lisbon. The viewpoint is a must-visit place for visitors due to the magnificent view over the city, the presence of bars, restaurants and cafes, always with the presence of locals and tourists, especially in the late afternoon to watch the sunset. . The main highlights of the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte are the view over the Castle of São Jorge, Baixa Pombalina, Convento do Carmo, Monsanto, Avenidas Novas, Penha de França and Mouraria; the Capela de São Gens in honor of the first Archbishop of Lisbon, murdered in this place by the Romans due to the spread of Catholicism. The highlight of the chapel is the Chair of São Gens which, according to the legend, helps to cure infertility.
4. Voz do Operário is an educational and charitable society in the city of Lisbon that presents innovative teaching methods, located at Rua da Voz do Operário. “Voz do Operário” was founded during the growth of the Movimento Operário in Portugal in the second half of the 19th century, related to the tobacco industry. This institution was created with the objective of literacy and organizing the strike movements carried out by a large part of the more than five thousand workers in this industry. The Voz do Operário had some important historical episodes, namely the founding of the newspaper “Voz do Operário” in 1879, the creation of the Cooperative Society A Voz do Operário, first School Commission in 1891 or the beginning of construction of the current building in 1912. This institution deserves a visit due to the Voz do Operário Social Library, one of the most important national libraries for the study of the 19th century union and labor movement.
5. Vila Berta: is a residential and office area, located at Rua do Sol à Graça, built at the beginning of the 20th century by businessman Joaquim Francisco Tojal with the objective of accommodating family, friends, masters and workers who worked at the Tojal Shipyard. Joaquim Francisco Tojal bought the land part of Quinta do Alcaide Fidalgo in 1887, having named the condominium “Vila Berta” in honor of his daughter. The Vila Berta was inhabited by tailors, dressmakers, artists, construction professionals, engineers, architects, and other workers, especially from the 1960s onwards. The main points of interest of Vila Berta are the architecture of the buildings; the Tiles in Art Nouveau; the wrought iron balconies.
6. Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Glória is an 18th century building, located at Rua de Nossa Senhora da Glória, with emphasis on the Ceiling decoration; authored by F. A. Martins; the Capela-Mor with 18th century tiles representing themes related to flowers, medallion related to the Virgin Mary, authored by Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho; and the gilded altarpiece by the carver António Nunes Colares.
7. Palácio dos Condes da Figueira is one of the few palaces in the city of Lisbon built before the 1755 Earthquake, located in Calçada da Graça. Dom João II authorized Dom João de Mendonça to build the palace near the Arco de Santo André in 1490, one of the entrances to Lisbon destroyed in the early 20th century. The palace came to be called “Palace of the Counts of Figueira” in the 19th century when Dona Maria de Mendonça married the First Count of Figueira. The main highlights of the Palácio dos Condes da Figueira are the main door dating from the 17th century raised by the coat of arms of Mendonça; and the 17th and 18th century tile panels
8. Palácio dos Senhores da Trofa is a 17th century building that integrates a hostel, located in Calçada da Graça. The main points of interest are the Central courtyard; the facade windows; and the 17th century gate.
9. Vila Sousa is a residential area, located in Largo da Graça. João Luís de Sousa built Vila Sousa in 1890, adapting an abandoned palace to that the family and the workers could live. The main highlights are the Main entrance with the inscription “Villa Sousa”, 1890 and “João Luís Sousa & Filho”; the central courtyard; and the decorated main facade.
10. Cine Royal (current Pingo Doce supermarket) is a building from the 1920s that houses a supermarket, located on Rua da Graça. The Cine Royal was the first sound cinema in Lisbon, with a capacity of 900 seats and an orchestra space, opened in 1929 with a project by the architect Manuel Joaquim Norte Júnior (1878-1962) owned by the Galician businessman Agapito Serra Fernandes. The building performed several functions, namely the departure point Ascensor da Glória, which connected Rua da Graça to Rua da Palma, was a cinema between 1929 and 1983 and a supermarket. The main highlights of the building of the old Cine Royal are: the main façade, the Clock, the Symbol designed at the top of the door.
Other Attractions to explore in the Graça neighborhood
- Bairro da Estrela de Ouro is a residential area made up of four streets: Rua Virgínia, Rua Rosalina, Rua Josefa Maria and Rua Serra Vidal, with a unique urban landscape that is visible in two-storey buildings and five-pointed stars shaped in stone in Portuguese pavement. The Bairro da Estrela de Ouro was built by Agapito Serra Fernandes in 1908 with the aim of installing the family and company employees. The main attractions are the houses painted in red and yellow, the stars drawn on the floor and in the houses, and Vivenda Rosalina, the former residence of Agapito Serra Fernandes.
- Jardim da Cerca da Graça is the “largest green space of public access to the historic area and the second largest in Lisbon, after the Botanical Garden”, with approximately 1.7 hectares. The Jardim da Cerca da Graça is very visited by tourists and Lisboners during the day, especially at weekends due to the various attractions, namely, the View over the Mouraria, over the Castelo de São Jorge, Ponte 25 de Abril, the Cristo Rei and the Tagus River. In the Jardim da Cerca da Graça we find a central lawn, three viewpoints, a picnic area, a kiosk with a terrace, a children’s playground, and a bike path.
- Jardim Augusto Gil is a garden located in Largo da Graça, with a lake, a statue with the inscription “Mãe e Filho” and the fact that it is relatively close to the viewpoint and the Graça Church.
- Teatro da Graça
- Bairro da Estrela de Ouro
- Chapel of Santa Veronica
- Convento das Mónicas
- Gil Vicente High School
- Garden of Convento da Graça
- Figueira Palace
- Verónica Reservoir
- Quartel Sapadores
Historical Stores in Bairro da Graça
- Farmácia Morão is classified as Historical Store, located in Largo da Graça since its foundation in 1896 by the pharmacist José Augusto Morão
Main Streets and Squares of Bairro da Graça
Largo da Graça is one of the busiest streets in Bairro da Graça during the day, with the constant movement of trams, tuck tucks and taxis, tourists, neighborhood residents and firefighters, of the two barracks nearby. Largo da Graça, connects Calçada da Graça to Rua da Voz do Operário, with several attractions, including the Le Bar à Crêpes, The Pitéu da Graça and the Jardim da Graça. The Largo da Graça has been designated this way since 1700, due to the presence of the old Convent of Nossa Senhora da Graça.
Calçada da Graça is, along with Largo da Graça and Rua da Graça, the busiest area of this historic Lisbon neighborhood due to the proximity of important tourist spots, namely the Graça Church and Convent, the Graça Viewpoint, and the Palace of the Counts of Figueira. The Calçada da Graça connects Largo da Graça and Rua do Salvador.
Rua da Graça is one of the most important streets in this Lisbon neighborhood due to the large number of people, numerous restaurants, cafes, commercial establishments and public institutions that support the citizen. The Rua da Graça is one of the entry and exit points of Bairro da Graça through Rua dos Sapadores, which communicates directly with Bairro da Penha de França. Rua da Graça has several points of interest, namely Pingo Doce, where there was the Cine Royale, Bairro Estrela de Ouro or access to the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte through Rua da Senhora do Monte. The Rua da Graça is named after the construction of the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Graça
Rua da Voz do Operário is one of the streets that allows access to Graça and Alfama, being a little steep, with narrow sidewalks, tram tracks that make the slippery road. The Rua Voz do Operário is very popular due to the presence of the headquarters of “A Voz do Operário”, close to Feira da Ladra, the Church of São Vicente de Fora and Alfama. Rua Voz do Operário owes its name to the presence of the Voz do Operário company in this location since 1915.
Rua da Senhora do Monte is the steepest street in Bairro da Graça, giving access to the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte located approximately ninety meters above sea level, the highest point of this Lisbon neighborhood. Despite being located at this altitude, it is a must visit for anyone in Lisbon, due to the unique panoramic view over the Portuguese capital, with regular congestion of cars, tuck tucks, buses and vans. The Rua de Nossa Senhora do Monte connects the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte and Rua da Graça, being named after the foundation of the Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Monte and São Gens in 1147.
History of the Graça neighborhood
Graça was the location chosen by the first king of Portugal Dom Afonso Henriques to prepare for the conquest of Lisbon in 1147. It was in this neighborhood that the Arab cemetery was located that was later used for the construction of two convents: one donated to the monks of São Vicente and another to the monks of Saint Augustine. The two convents were dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Graça. The palaces of Graça were built between the 16th and 18th centuries. Graça was a rural area until the Lisbon Earthquake of 1 November 1755, having only resisted the Convento dos Agostinhos. The Graça neighborhood started to take on its current form, from the 19th century, with the construction of Largo da Graça and Calçada da Graça. The Graça neighborhood lost its rural characteristics after the construction of the Santa Apolónia Train Station, which led to the emergence of new residents, namely workers and entrepreneurs linked to the industry.
Location of the Parish of São Vicente (Graça) on the map of Lisbon
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