Continuing with the series on the Gardens of Lisbon, I’m glad to tell you about the park that’s very different from previous ones. In the unassuming yet historically rich area of Estrela lies a very busy garden. Its actual name is Guerra Junqueiro garden, but to almost everyone it’s known as Jardim da Estrela.
This garden is located in an area of the same name. Estrela has a lot offer and is a quintessential Lisbon neighborhood. Right in front of the park is the very noticeable Estrela cathedral, a large and very well known cathedral with a lot of history, it is very sought after for the view for its rooftop. But the main attraction in this article is the neighboring greenery.
This park has been around since the 1850’s but had a very perturbed inception due to political tensions at the time, so it is normal that it has gone through a lot of changes, but it as always kept its english romantic style. A lot of old constructions are still there, some no longer in use other repurposed or restored. One thing that eventually was lost, was this park past as a small zoo, holding a lion cage that was very famous at that time.
Jardim da Estrela is very different from Gulbenkian or Amália Rodrigues. The previously mentioned are (most of the time) very quiet and serve specific functions. Gulbenkian is a beautiful exotic garden used to immerse yourself in the artistic aura of the foundation, while Amalia Rodrigues is a grassy park, filled with space for dogs to run and tracks to jog. In Estrela, the park is everything. With an immediate look, even from outside, you can see how important this park is for the life of the Estrela residents. I visited all of them in the weekend and Jardim da Estrela is the only one full of all kind of people, from older folks, sitting around the tables playing cards, to young people jogging or walking their dogs, to families having a weekend stroll, to young kids playing football. A real myriad!
All kinds of people go to this park because you can find all kinds of things to do! This garden distances itself from the other, more intimate, gardens because it fully embraces the city around it, and provides many entrances for the many citizens that go there either for a meal at its restaurant, a good read at the kiosk/library, some playing time at the football field or the playground, a causal stroll through its many corridors and pathways, to see a live show at the central bandstand or even just feeding the ducks. Jardim da Estrela is the full package!
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