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Urban Art in Lisboa 1: the trendy neighbourhoods

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In the last few years, Lisboa has been increasingly known throughout the world as a city of urban art. Dedicated galleries, street art shops and other original projects have been popping up all over the map to bring this often overlooked way of artistic intervention to a larger public. National artists are recognized world-wide, while international names travel here to leave their mark. New projects appear every day, while others are painted over or destroyed as the city grows. Artistic graffiti is now proudly embraced by oficial institutions, and actively too. And in the center of all of this, the mural paintings.

This series will give you a few tours around Lisboa, focusing on some of the best works you can find. To really be able to follow it is best to have a city map at hand! This is the first suggestion and it starts in the neighbourhood of Alfama, then through Chiado and arriving at Bairro Alto. You can also find some other trips of this series in the nearby neighbourhoods, the upper-city avenues, or going down the city hill and following the riverside.

Let's start at the top of the Alfama hill, close to the castle. In Calçada do Menino de Deus there is a work by Vhils, one of the biggest street artists of the moment. Using typical cobblestone pavement, he drew the face of Amália Rodrigues, the famous Fado singer and a major figure of portuguese culture. Then head down, past the Portas do Sol viewpoint, and you will find Travessa das Merceeiras, near the Sé de Lisboa. Here you can see a carved face in the facade of a traditional house, one of Vhils' first works.

Head further down the hill, until you reach Travessa da Mata. There is a mural painting by illustrator Nuno Saraiva who took inspiration from Étienne-Jules Marey's experiments with film and animation, and from the commotion of the royal mail horsemen of older times.

Now at the bottom of Alfama, you can head up to Rossio, crossing the busy Baixa. Going toward the back entrance of the train station, in Calçada do Carmo, you can find a small mural showing the station a few decades ago. It was made by brazilian artist Utopia63.

Climbing the long stairway right behind it, you will eventually reach Largo Trindade Coelho, and Bairro Alto is right next to it. Among the many streets and corners of this neighbourhood there is a lot to see. Try Rua da Vinha and Rua de São Bartolomeu for a start! A few works worth mentioning here are the maoist-inspired mural by RIGO and António Alves in Travessa dos Fiéis de Deus, remembering the leftist propaganda of the 70s, and further up the same street there is another mural by Sumo DoubleDevil.

Leave Bairro Alto and head to Calçada da Glória for the final spot of this trip! This is where you can find the famous Glória funicular that leads to Avenida da Liberdade, and the first trace of Galeria de Arte Urbana. Since 2008, there are 7 panels and temporary exhibitions held here. This street is a real open gallery, with many great works from different artists and collectives accompanying your descent.

Don't forget to check out Galeria de Arte Urbana, GAU for short, for a complete gallery of the oficial interventions throughout the city! But if all this is not enough for you, we have a few more street art trips in Lisboa you must check out!


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The author

Vasco Casula

Vasco Casula

I am Vasco and I come from Portugal. Alongside playing guitar and working on animation films, I like to discover and let you discover places, such as Portugal!

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