Posts About 'Lisbon in the World'

Now Playing at a Theater Near You: “The Mysteries of Lisbon”

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Mysteries of Lisbon
Now playing at theaters around the world: “The Mysteries of Lisbon.” In the United States it’s already playing in New York and will reach other cities soon (such as San Francisco on September 23rd at the Embarcadero Center Cinema). Apparently it’s already a box office success in Paris which has led to the novel of the same name to become a best seller at the FNAC store in the French capital.
This is a 19th century epic drama written by one of Portugal’s greatest authors, Camilo Castelo Branco, and takes place mostly in Lisbon. There are a few other scenes set in other European capitals such as Paris and Rome, but they were mostly filmed in Lisbon.
Directed by Raul Ruiz, this is a multiple-award winner at film festivals and awards shows, and has received only positive reviews by most critics, including those of The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly.

Filming locations in Lisbon included Foz Palace in Restauradores Square, used for ballroom dancing scenes. Other formerly grand spaces that are now mostly forgotten such as Palácio da Mitra and Quinta da Francelha doubled as other grand residences of the time. Palácio Quintela in Chiado is supposed to be a palatial home in Rome, and Quinta da Ribafria in Sintra served as a home in Portugal when filmed from the front, while the back was supposed to be a house in France. The scene of a duel supposedly set in Portugal’s Buçaco forest, was actually filmed in Lisbon’s own forest-park Monsanto.

You can admire these locations together with the acclaimed cinematography of the entire feature in theaters now (or soon, depending on where you are), and for a preview, here’s the trailer:

Greetings from Portugal in New York

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

J. Crew’s recent photo shoot in Portugal is not just featured on the company’s catalogue and website, it’s also an inspiration for its shops on New York’s Madison and 5th avenues (see photo below). And in May you can take a look at Portuguese design in New York, at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and buy it at the MoMA Store which will have a special display called “Destination: Portugal”. They’ll be pieces made of cork (very eco-friendly) such as umbrellas, purses, and watches. Portugal is the world’s biggest exporter of cork and these products are made by the Pelcor company which has a shop in Lisbon (Rua das Pedras Negras, 32)

J. Crew, New York

Lisbon in New York – Part II

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Aldea Restaurant, New York

It’s been a while since we brought you a Lisbon in the World post. Today we’re taking you once again to New York, pointing out the places where you can get to know a little of Portuguese culture across the Atlantic. In the previous Lisbon in New York post we highlighted the Big Apple’s Portuguese restaurants and the historical Portuguese Synagogue in the city, and had previously told you about how the borough of Queens is named after Portugal’s Catherine of Bragança.
Today we also remember Emma Lazarus (Lázaro), the poet of Portuguese Jewish background who’s best known for the sonnet “The New Colossus” engraved on the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”), and also tell you about the first non-native citizen of New York, Jan Rodrigues. His last name reveals his Portuguese background, and he was recently remembered in a New Yorker article about Governor’s Island south of Manhattan, where he arrived in 1613 on a Dutch expedition. Rodrigues lived in what was to become New York as a trader of Dutch weapons for the local Indian tribes, and later married an Indian girl.
Another historical personality of Portuguese background in New York was Benjamin Cardozo who was a famous lawyer who went on to become the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in the early 20th century.
Moving to the present day, a special taste of Portugal can currently be found in the SoHo neighborhood, at the Kiosk design shop. It sells products found during the owners’ travels, and until mid-February of next year Portugal will be the highlighted country. This is the second time Portugal is the featured country of a New York shop in the period of a year, as last year the popular “Whole Foods” showcased Portuguese cuisine in a special “Adventures in Portugal” month.
Other recent Portuguese-related news in Manhattan was the opening of Aldea Restaurant by Portuguese-American chef George Mendes. His specialty is Iberian cuisine, after having interned at one of Spain’s best restaurants, the three-Michelin-star Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian. The name of the restaurant means “village” in Spanish, perhaps chosen instead of the Portuguese “Aldeia” to look easier for American pronunciation. Although the dishes are Portuguese and Spanish, the wine list also includes labels from France and the United States.

The Portuguese Diamond: The World’s Most Valuable Gem and Other Portuguese Treasures

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

The Portuguese Diamond

The world’s most famous gem is probably the Hope Diamond due to the legend that says it is cursed. But the world’s biggest stone, the most valuable gem, with 127 carats is said to be the Portuguese Diamond. No one knows for sure where it originally came from, but it is thought to have once been part of the Portuguese crown jewels. It is currently in the Smithsonian in Washington DC, which acquired it in 1963 and has displayed it in the American capital’s Museum of Natural History.
With the wealthiest royal family in the world at one point, and with diamond-rich Angola and gold-filled Brazil as colonies, Portugal transported priceless treasures around the world, and many of them currently lay at the bottom of the oceans. Many shipwrecks traced back to Portugal’s voyages of discovery have been widely reported while many others have been kept largely in secret, but those interested in the subject will want to read an article in National Geographic magazine from a couple of weeks ago. It tells the story of a 16th century Portuguese ship carrying gold and diamonds to India that was blown off course by a storm and never reached its destination. It was only discovered in April of 2008 with thousands of priceless artifacts inside which is firing the imagination of the world’s archaeologists. You may read the entire article here: Diamond Shipwreck.
If you have the “treasure hunter” spirit, you should visit the Ajuda Palace when you’re in Lisbon. It’s the last royal palace built in Portugal, and the last official royal residence until the end of monarchy in 1910. It stands just as the royals left it, and shows off an opulent and extravagant collection of decorative arts. Other royal treasures are found in Mafra Palace and inside the “Disneyesque” Pena Palace in Sintra.

Portugal’s Most Famous Product You’ve Never Heard Of

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Claus Porto Soaps

Famous names such as Nicholas Cage, Kate Moss, and Oprah Winfrey have been reported to be fans of one of Portugal’s most famous products. If you’ve guessed Port Wine, you’re wrong. They all love CLAUS PORTO soaps, a natural, creamy, luxury soap that’s been made in the city of Porto since 1887. They’re now sold at luxury shops around the world, in a colorful Art Deco-design packaging. In Lisbon you may get them at special gift shops such as Meio da Praça which we just told you about, as well as at a couple of museum shops such as that of the Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. In Paris you may find them at the Galeries Lafayette department store, in London you may look for them at Harrods, and in New York you may see them available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
These soaps have become more popular than ever in the last couple of years since Oprah Winfrey named them one of her favorite things on her program. She was introduced to the Portuguese soaps by Lafco, a shop in New York that had been sending her products to try over time. She never really responded until one day when the shop got a call from one of her show’s producers requesting more samples of the Claus Porto soap. As soon as Oprah mentioned the product on her show, the shop’s phones started to ring off the hook, and even now, a couple of years later, they still get calls asking for “Oprah’s soap.”
In reality these soaps have been a favorite luxury item of European elites for some time, with fashion names such as Chanel having requested custom-crested versions.
The main quality of the soaps that make them so unique and special is that they’re all traditionally made, using manual milling and drying processes. They’re therefore much more expensive than the typical supermarket soap, going for as much as 15 euros.

Lisbon in Amsterdam

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Go Lisbon has told you where to find Lisbon in London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. Now we let you know about the Portuguese presence in another major world city — Amsterdam. When you visit the Dutch capital’s most important museum, the Rijksmuseum, you not only see some of the best Old Masters but also get a history lesson on the role of the Dutch in world trade after the Age of Discovery. As written on one of the walls in the museum, and explained next to many of the pieces on display, the Dutch took over much of the Asian and American trade started by the Portuguese, leading to their capital becoming one of the richest cities in the world. Later, as a result of the Iberian persecution of Jews, many Sephardic (Portuguese and Spanish) Jews fled to Amsterdam, and that’s how the city’s most important synagogue was born. Today the Portuguese Synagogue has a beautifully restored interior and is open to visitors.
After that, if you’re still in the mood for something Portuguese-related, dine at Portugalia, a Portuguese restaurant in the center of the city. Those nostalgic for Lisbon and its music have had the chance to hear Fado on some special nights, while any time they show up there is always a wide range of Portuguese specialties available on the menu, from the “Seafood Festival” dish to the good-old cod in cream, “bacalhau com natas” which is always a favorite.

Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam

Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam

Portugalia, Portuguese restaurant in Amsterdam

The 7 Portuguese Wonders of the World Have Been Announced

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

7 Portuguese Wonders of the WorldAs Go Lisbon previously reported, the New 7 Wonders Foundation has been conducting a survey to select the seven Portuguese wonders around the world. The results were revealed yesterday, on Portugal Day. The candidates were structures in all corners of the globe mostly built during the Age of Discovery, and ranged from forts to monasteries. In total there were 27 nominees in 16 countries, and voted the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World were the Diu Fortress in India, the Mazagão Fortress in Morocco, the Bom Jesus Basilica in Goa (India), the Santiago Old Town in Cape Verde, Saint Paul Church in Macao (China), St. Francis Convent in Ouro Preto (Brazil), and another convent of the same name in Salvador da Baía also in Brazil.
These winners were chosen by close to a quarter million people who voted online, by phone, or text message, and were announced in a ceremony in the city of Portimão. Last night it was also revealed that there will be another Portugal-related vote next year, for the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, which will happen at the same time as the international 7 Wonders of Nature also by the New 7 Wonders Foundation.

A Lisbon-Style Las Vegas

Friday, May 29th, 2009

A place named Rossio, delicious custard tarts, baroque architecture, cobblestone pavements with black and white designs — but it’s not Lisbon. Gambling is the main attraction and there’s a monumental casino named The Venetian — but it’s not Las Vegas. That place is Macao, a Chinese territory not far from Hong Kong that was a Portuguese colony for almost five centuries until 1999. It was the first and last European colony in China but its present status as the world’s gambling capital (it has surpassed Las Vegas) has made people forget its ties to Portugal. Yet Portugal is everywhere, with reminders of Lisbon in every corner. Restaurants fuse Portuguese and Chinese cuisine, the European-style architecture has been preserved amid modern skyscrapers and flashy casinos, its main landmark casino is named “Lisboa,” there’s a sophisticated restaurant called “Rossio,” and everything from the old street lights to the pavements are just like those of Lisbon. Although it will be a decade at the end of this year since it became part of China, Macao remains the Portuguese capital of Asia, perhaps even more so than Goa in India.
On the video below you may see how the now-Chinese territory is still very much Portuguese-inspired despite its new role as an international gambling mecca. You’ll see that the Portuguese influences are still preserved in what remains from the past, but also provide the ingredients to make this a unique place in the present and the future.

(See also our other Lisbon in the World posts.)

Lisbon in London

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Lisbon in London

London’s Piccadilly Street that leads to one of the city’s most famous squares (Piccadilly Circus) used to be called Portugal Street. Although it has changed its name, there is still another Portugal Street in Westminster today. There is no particular reason why that street was given that name, except maybe for the fact that Portugal and England signed the world’s oldest alliance between two countries (for more about it, see Wikipedia’s article: Anglo-Portuguese Alliance). Among many other historical events, that alliance led to the marriage of Portugal’s Catherine of Bragança to King Charles II, with her becoming the Queen of England and introducing her adopted country to the 5 o’clock tea.

Today London is home to a sizable Portuguese population, mostly originally from the island of Madeira (also known as the birthplace of that famous FIFA World Player of the Year playing in Manchester, Cristiano Ronaldo). Naturally, the cosmopolitan capital also offers a number of Portuguese restaurants, including the famous Nando’s fast food/spicy chicken restaurant. It was actually born in South Africa, started by a Portuguese immigrant named Fernando Duarte. There are now branches all over the world, but more famously in London where there are over 50 of them, and that’s as close as you’ll get to Lisbon’s Bonjardim – O Rei dos Frangos while in the English capital.

Although codfish and seafood is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Portugal’s cuisine, the country is also known for its grilled chicken with “piri-piri” sauce, made with a spicy chilli Portugal brought back from its colonies. The best place to try it in Lisbon is at that Bonjardim Restaurant, or you could get a sample of it hot off the grill at one of London’s “Nando’s.” It’s not the same thing, but close enough.

If you know anything about Portuguese food, you probably have also heard about Lisbon’s music. Listening to Fado at a restaurant is one of Lisbon’s top tourist experiences, but you can get that in London too. Head to O Fado, a Portuguese restaurant in Knightsbridge that got a 4-star review in Time Out London Eating & Drinking Guide 2009. It’s the oldest Portuguese restaurant in the city, where low lighting sets the stage for some Fado singing.

But arguably the best Portuguese restaurant in London is Portal. It’s an elegantly-designed space that also adds some French flavors in the cuisine, although the menu lists many of the Portuguese classics such as Leitão à Bairrada (suckling pig). Going just for a cocktail at the bar is also possible, where you can choose the very Portuguese “White Port Cocktail” or a “Ginginha Velvet.”
For traditional Portuguese pastries at any time of the day, head to Lisboa Patisserie. Portugal’s famous custard tarts are good there too, but to try the real thing you have to go to Antiga Confeitaria de Belem in Lisbon.

See also:
Lisbon in New York
Lisbon in Paris
Lisbon in San Francisco

Lisbon in San Francisco

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Lisbon in San Francisco

They’re both built over a series of hills, are crossed by turn-of-the-century trams, have a big suspension bridge built by the same company as one of their icons, share a history of earthquakes, and offer a mild climate year-round. If there is such a thing as twin cities, they are Lisbon and San Francisco.

Another link to Lisbon in San Francisco is its most famous skyscraper, the Transamerica Pyramid. It was designed by the Portuguese-American architect William Pereira who also designed other projects around the world, and especially in Los Angeles (CBS Television City, Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Museum, Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and IBM headquarters).

There is no Portuguese community in San Francisco, but there is a significant Portuguese population outside the city and around California. In fact, it was a Portuguese explorer who discovered California. His name was João Rodrigues Cabrilho, although he is mostly known under the Spanish version of his name Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo since he was working for Portugal’s rival at the time. You’ll find the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, and there is also Cabrillo College in Aptos, the Cabrillo Bridge, and the Cabrillo Freeway traveling through San Diego’s famous Balboa Park.

Although a New World version of Lisbon somehow emerged in California as San Francisco, the only taste of the Portuguese capital found in that American city is at Grubstake Restaurant. It offers a menu called “The Portuguese Corner”, listing the most famous of all Portuguese soups, “Caldo Verde,” in addition to (you guessed it) a couple of codfish dishes.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Portuguese in California, visit the website of California’s Portuguese Museum.

Also see:
Lisbon in Paris
Lisbon in New York