Africa Asia Europe North America South America Oceania
You are here: Home > Europe > Portugal


Social conditions

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 Western Europe.

Society of Portugal

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 crisis.

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.

Business community

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 rebuilt.

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 way.

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 1. Henriques.

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 in Europe.

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.


Other Countries in Europe

Homo Society Copyright 2002 - 2020 All Rights Reserved