Portugal was hit hard by the financial crisis in 2008,
which left a mark on the country's economy a long time
afterwards. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of PRT and acronym for Portugal. Unemployment in 2016 was still high (11.2 per
cent), which was, however, slightly lower than in the most
crisis-hit countries Greece and Spain. The number of
long-term unemployed (unemployed for more than 12 months)
was also high. The average income level is low and the
income distribution is high compared to other countries in
The percentage of poor people is high, despite various
types of income support. GDP growth has been low since 2008
but was lower than the EU average even before the financial
Portugal has the lowest fertility rate among EU
countries. In 2015, the expected number of children per
woman during her lifetime in Portugal was 1.31 children. The
corresponding figure for Sweden was 1.85 children, which was
the second highest in the EU after Ireland. The number of
foreign-born in Portugal is declining and there is a
significant emigration from the country, which together with
the low fertility leads to a significant reduction in
population. There is concern that many with higher education
are leaving the country to look for work elsewhere.
Portugal has implemented some changes to its social
policy. The number of days of parental leave in the first
month after birth was increased in 2015 from the previous 10
to 15 working days. There are various types of financial
support for the care of children. However, the cuts in the
social benefits for the nation's citizens have been more
prominent, not least for the elderly, which has meant
reduced pensions, increased retirement age and taxation of
pensions. There have also been major cuts in education.
More women are out of work than before, although the
proportion of women who are employed is still lower than the
corresponding proportion for men. In 2015, 65.9 percent of
the country's women aged 20-64 were employed. The
corresponding figure for men was 72.6 percent.
In 1978, a civil rights reform was implemented that
abolished the legal discrimination against women.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, located in central Portugal
on the north side of the river Tejo 17 km from its mouth in the Atlantic; approximately
548,000 residents (2011), with suburbs approximately 2 million residents (2011).
Lisbon is also the capital of the 2761 km² district of the same name, which,
after Portugal's division into statistical regions, has been split between the
smaller Lisbon region and the neighboring regions of Centro and Alentejo.
Lisbon has received a number of refugees and immigrants from the former
Portuguese colonies in Africa since they gained independence in the mid-1970's,
and the migration from the rest of Portugal is also noticeable.
The population of the surrounding municipalities is growing rapidly and
urbanization is taking place at a rapid pace, but some still live in barracks,
bairros de lata, around the city.
Lisbon is Portugal's cultural, political and economic center with the seat of
the country's president, parliament, central administration and national bank,
universities, business school, art academy, several vocational schools as well
as a number of museums and theaters.
Today, the city extends far beyond the seven highs on which it is founded,
and the towns on the southern shore of Tejo are long ago an integral part of the
urban area. The highest point is Forte de Monsanto (230 m) in the large Monsanto
forest in the western part of the city.
Apart from the public sector and service industries, the economic port is the
hectic port and the industrial city of Almada. Lisbon has the iron, steel and
cement industries, oil refinery, chemical and electronic industries, as well as
the food, machinery, glass and textile industries. Lisbon's most important
traditional industrial district lies towards the NE in the suburb of Sacavém.
Tourism is also of great importance for the city's economy.
In addition to buses, trams still constitute a significant part of public
transport. The city also has a subway system as well as bridge and ferry
connections across the Tejo River and international airport.
The large level difference between Baixa and Bairro Alto and other districts
is for pedestrians, among others. solved with the large elevator Elevador de
Santa Justa (1901), a steel structure designed by architect Raúl Mesnier du
Ponsard, and three cable cars, the best known of which is Elevador da Glória.
The individual districts
The commercial center of Lisbon is the Baixa neighborhood. It extends from
the river and the monumental square of Praça do Comércio, called Terreiro do
Paço after the former castle square, up to the squares Praça de Dom Pedro 4,
known as Rossio, and the adjacent Praça da Figueira.
The district was built by Marquês de Pombal after the earthquake in 1755 and
has a straight-lined street network with long arcades. In addition to banks,
ministries and government offices, Baixa also has a wealth of elegant
businesses. Old picturesque neighborhoods, including Alfama, extends eastwards
up the Castelo hill with the medieval castle Castelo de São Jorge at the top
(partially reconstructed around 1940).
Alfama is the oldest part of Lisbon, with traces left to both Romans and
Moors. The street network is almost labyrinthine with narrow steep alleys,
interconnected with stairs. Also located in this part of the city is Lisbon's
cathedral, Sé Patriarcal, founded in the 1100's.
On the ridge west of Baixa lies the Bairro Alto district, which was laid out
in the 1500's, after the city blasted its old frame. Near the Bairro Alto is the
ruin of the Gothic Carmo Monastery (1389-1423), which today is the
archaeological museum, the church of São Roque (1500th) with splendid interiors
and the Parliament building of Palácio de São Bento.
Bairro Alto is also known for cafes as well as restaurants serving the
distinctive Portuguese fado song. Part of the old vibrant Chiado commercial
district on the Baixa-Bairra Alto border burned down in 1988, but has been
To the north, east and west, modern Lisbon is spreading with wide avenues and
branched highways. Here lies, among other things. the airport, the university as
well as giant postmodern office and residential complexes and shopping centers
such as Amoreiras and Colombo, which are among the largest in Europe.
North of the center is also the Gulbenkian Museum (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian)
with exquisite arts and crafts from around the world. The collection was
testament to Portugal by the oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian.
Of the other museums in Lisbon, the art museum, Museu Nacional de Arte
Antiga, is to the west of the center of the Lapa district. The museum has a fine
collection of older European masters in painting and sculpture, as well as major
works in Portuguese art, such as the painter Nuno Gonçalves' six-winged
altarpiece São Vincentes worship from the mid-1400's.
A distinctive feature of Portuguese architecture is the use of ceramic
decoration. The tile museum, Museu do Azulejo, in the Xabregas district east of
the center can show examples of the development of this ceramic art. The lavish
use of tiles, patterned as well as entire storytelling series, can be seen in
the prestigious country house Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira in the suburb
of Benfica, just as many of Lisbon's older house facades are decorated in this
Ca. 10 km southwest of the city center is the suburb of Belém with Jeronimo
Monastery, Belém Tower, Maritime Monument, Caret Museum and Presidential Palace,
Palácio de Belém. Belém is inextricably linked to Portugal's heyday as a
maritime nation in the 1500's. From here, the explorers set off, and here Vasco
da Gama cast anchor after finding the sea route to India in 1498.
The Jerónimo Monastery, built in gratitude for this, is a unique example of
the special Portuguese Manuelin style, estilo manuelino, which marked Lisbon's
first architectural flourishing period in the period 1490-1540. Several
Portuguese kings rest in the church, as well as sarcophagi for Vasco da Gama and
Portugal's national poet Luís de Camões. The Belém Tower (1514-20) in the river
secured the entrance to Lisbon and at the same time served as a beacon and a
beacon. Until 1828 it was a state prison.
In 1960, the giant Maritime Monument was erected on the occasion of the 500th
anniversary of the death of Henrik the Mariner. Halfway between downtown and
Belém, the 2277 m long suspension bridge, Ponte 25. de Abril, crosses the Tejo
River to the Arrábida Peninsula to the south.
On the Arrábida side stands the colossal 28 m high Christ Monument (1959),
Monumento a Cristo Rei, on an 82 m high pedestal. From the northeastern part of
the city is the longest bridge in Europe (17.2 km), named after Vasco da Gama
and inaugurated in 1998 at the World Exhibition EXPO'98, which also gave rise to
the conversion of large port districts into the residential and recreation area
Parque das Nações with a huge oceanarium.
The Lisbon Riviera begins on the other side of Belém and extends all the way
to the fashionable seaside resorts of Cascais and Estoril.
Due to Lisbon's classic name, Olissipona, the tradition has designated the
Greek legend hero Odysseus, lat. Ulysses, as the city's founder. However, it was
Phoenicians and not Greeks who established the support point of Alis Ubbo on a
small bay where the center of Lisbon is today.
The city came during the Roman Empire in 205 BC under the name Felicitas
Julia and a significant administrative center in the province of Lusitania. In
585 Lisbon came under the Visigoths, but became Moorish in 714. The Christian
reconquest happened during the Second Crusade, where the city, with the
participation of crusaders in 1147, was taken by Portugal's first King Alfonso
From 1255 the king resided ever more frequently in Lisbon, eventually gaining
capital status. It was founded here in 1290, Portugal's first university, which,
however, was transferred to Coimbra in 1307-38, 1354-77 and permanently from
1537, so that Lisbon first gained its own university again in 1910. The
discovery of the sea route to India in 1498 made Lisbon an international center
of commerce, and with 165,000 residents, the city could be counted among 1620
Lisbon has been hit by several earthquakes, thus in 1531, probably the most
devastating, and in 1755, the most powerful so far, when approximately 40,000 people
perished, many of them due to the subsequent fire. The reconstruction, which
dates far into the 1800's, radically changed the center of the city, in
accordance with modern principles with buildings of the same height and facade.
In the spirit of mercantilism, the new streets were named after precious metals
and professions, and the former palace became the Praça do Comércio splendor,
the "Place of Commerce", with a triumphal arch and royal equestrian statue.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Lisbon was occupied by a French invasion army,
and the Portuguese court and state administration were evacuated to Brazil in
1807-21. Together with Brazil's independence in 1822, this hit Lisbon noticeably
like the subsequent troubled years of civil war.
In the last decades of the 1800's, when the growth of the city increased
sharply and the population rose from 300,000 in 1890 to 700,000 in 1930, Lisbon
became the center of intense republican agitation and social unrest. In 1908,
the king and his successor were assassinated on an open street, and on 5.10.1910
the kingdom was overthrown by a revolution in Lisbon. Here, too, was the "
Carnival Revolution " on April 25, 1974, which restored democracy after nearly
40 years of dictatorship.
In recent years, Lisbon's external appearance has changed through an almost
explosive modernization, which has, however, left the historic districts largely
intact, but also in some decay with respect to private rental properties. With
an average income above the EU average, Lisbon is today Portugal's richest city
and is increasingly distancing itself from the inner part of the country as the
growth center of the dynamic coastal region.