Where many of the great cities in the Western Empire acted as centres disseminating the teachings of Christianity, Ulyssippo would bear witness to several martyrs and by 356 CE boast its first Bishop. Unfortunately with the disintegration of the Roman Empire fifty years later, the city was occupied successively for the following twenty years as it changed hand between various barbarian tribes until the Germanic Suebi finally established their kingdom. For over a hundred and sixty years they would rule from their capital of Bracara Augusta before the Germanic Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo that ruled over the Iberian Peninsula consumed them in 585. But the city’s fortunes shifted again in 711 when Ulyssippo found itself changing hands as Muslim forces out of North Africa and the Middle East arrived. Building many mosques and establishing an administration to oversee the diverse population, the Moors permitted non-Muslims to practice their respective religion, and other than a surtax excluding them from duties like serving in the army, were otherwise equal to Muslims. However with the Reconquista in 1147 the city was returned to Christian control, that unlike their predecessors, forced non-Catholics to convert or face exile while all of the mosques were destroyed or converted into churches.

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While it would face periodic raids by Muslim forces out of the Al-Andalus for the following forty years, Lisbon would become the new capital city for the Portuguese kingdom and the site for the country’s first university in 1290. During the final centuries of the Middle Ages the city expanded substantially as it again became an important trading post with goods flowing from northern European and Mediterranean cities. In fact it’s due to the wealth generated from this commerce that the Portuguese kingdom would be able to finance the Age of Discovery expeditions which would include Count Vasco da Gama’s famed voyage to India in 1497 and launched Lisbon’s golden era as it became the hub of commerce between their traditional ports and the India and Far East markets now open to them. With the Manueline style in vogue at the time it would become synonymous with this period as monuments like the Jeronimos Monastery were erected to celebrate their country’s preeminence, unfortunately by the end of the sixteenth century Portugal would lose their independence and fight Spain in a war and a series of skirmishes over the following century before being able to reestablish their kingdom again.

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