Many are have already questioned themselves why Lisbon is called the city of seven hills. If you’re wondering why, or if you are just curious, we will unravel the mystery.
On the banks of the Tagus river, Lisbon was built on hills for over two thousand years. If you look at the design of the city, you will notice the numerous ups and downs.
The first quote alluding to the seven hills of Lisbon can be found in the book Livro das Grandezas de Lisboa from Frei Nicolau de Oliveira, wrote in the year 1620 – “the seven hills on which was based Lisbon”. Although it is known by seven hills, the reality is that today the city grew beyond that area occupying about 100 km².
The 7 hills taken into account are:
1- Hill of Santa Catarina – A hill overlooking the sea that goes from Largo de Camões to Calçada do Combro. This hill was the home of sailors and nacal workers. It presents some examples of religious art and tiles;
2 – Hill of Chagas – Today this area corresponds to the Carmo Neighborhood. On this hill are some of the oldest buildings in Lisbon;
3- Hill of São Roque – This hill is where is situated the typical and picturesque Bariro Alto where you can visit the overview of São Pedro de Alcântara;
4 – Hill of Sant’Ana – more central hill of Lisbon is defined by the bed of the streams of Valverde and Arroios. Catherine of Bragança, Charles II of England’s widow, comes to live here in a palace later used as a residence by some of the kings of Portugal. This raises the social status of the hill of Sant’Ana.
5 – Hill of São Jorge – the highest among the seven hills (actually the highest hill of Lisbon is the hill of Graça which is continuous to this one, but was not included at the time). It is believed that here was born the first town that gave birth to the city of Lisbon. Its area includes the neighborhoods of Mouraria, Castle and part of Alfama. The Castle Hill rises from the Tagus to the Moorish Castle.
6 – Hill of Santo André – was elected by noble families where they came to install their homes, building farms that later gave way to palaces that are located mainly along the sidewalks of Graça and Santo André.
7 – Hill of São Vicente – where is the current district of Alfama and the Convent of São Vicente de Fora.
Enjoy, discover and unravel the charm of each one of the seven hills!