Legend has it that Lisboa was founded by Ulysses. The name comes from “Olissipo”, which has its origins in the Phoenician words “Allis Ubbo”, meaning “enchanting port”.
Most likely it was founded by the Phoenicians and styled by the Moores which shows in the strong Arabic influences. It was, after all, ruled by the Moors for 450 years. In the 12th century the Christians re conquered the city but it was not until the mid 13th century that Lisboa became the country’s capital.
With the beginning of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries, Lisboa enriched as a spice and jewellery trade centre.
The breakthrough for Portuguese expansion came in 1498 when Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India. This was indeed the beginning of a golden age, characterised by the Manueline architectural style named after King Manuel I, with its typical decorative use of maritime motifs. Over the centuries Lisboa naturally grew and changed. When the city centre was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, it was rebuilt by Marquise de Pombal, who thus created the Baixa Pombalina, a commercial area that still retains much of its original lay out.
Lisboa is a historic capital, a potpourri of unusual character and charm, where 800 years of cultural influences mingle with modern trends and life styles creating spectacular contrasts.