Lisbon Cleaning Up in 2009

Graça Viewpoint, LisbonAs such an old, decaying city, Lisbon is begging for rejuvenating works in almost every corner. While there’s some romantic charm in some of the dilapidation, much of it is sad evidence of decades of neglect after a large chunk of the city’s population moved away from the center and the river to the suburbs and uptown.

With this being an election year and with the center of the city finally going through a (very) slow renaissance, Lisbon will be under construction in several areas in 2009. The most important is in Comercio Square, whose entire center around its equestrian monument will be closed for a few months due to works on the city’s sewage system. You can still stand by its triumphal arch and go under its arched galleries, but you won’t have access to the benches in the center of the square to stop and rest a while.

Many of the city’s viewpoints will also be cleaned up. Last year it was the São Pedro de Alcantara viewpoint, this year will be half a dozen more, including the emblematic Santa Luzia, Graça, and Senhora do Monte.  Also promised is the continued effort to remove the graffiti from the walls of Bairro Alto, something that has already started in Rua do Norte, the city’s trendiest and most alternative shopping street. The young crowds that shop there for their clubwear and brand-name sneakers and backpacks, have already seen it graffiti-free since late 2008, and hopefully the entire neighborhood will see the same by the end of this year.