by, Luisa Gomes
Lisbon Tour Guides
Are you spending a few days in Lisbon? ? Probably you never heard of a woman called Gracia Nasi. Let me introduce this amazing woman to you.
Gracia Nasi was born in Lisbon in 1510 under the name Beatriz Luna. She was born in a Jewish family, being by then called “New Christian”. The New Christians had to hide their religion and traditions, because since the end of the 15th century, officially, there were no more Jews in Portugal.
She married Francisco Mendes at the age of 18. Her husband was also a new-Christian. He was a successful banker and business man involved on the trade of precious stones and spices . His brother was his associated and was based in Antwerp since 1512.
Gracia became widow at the age of 25 and she decided to carry on with her husband business.
But in 1536 the Inquisition arrives to Portugal. She plans her departure from the country where now her life is in danger. She left in 1537 with her daughter Reyna, her sister and two nephews.
She stayed in Antwerp until 1545 taking care of the family empire but also trying to help other families that wanted to escape from the religious persecutions in Portugal. In 1545 she moved to Venezia to the Rialto area. She kept her religion inside her house and she keeps receiving and hiding Marranos. Unfortunately, she was denounced to the authorities and put in prison accused of practicing Judaism. Gracia was rescued by the nephew João Micas and she decided to move to Ferrara. It is in Ferrara that she will meet Benvenida Abravanel, niece of Isaac Abravanel and she will be involved in the publishment of Hebrew books such as the “Ferrara Bible”.
Gracia decides to move to Istambul in 1522 . The sultan Bejazet II had invited the Sephardic Jews to settle in his lands. It is here that she will embrace the Judaism and use her Hebrew name. She no longer hides who she is!
She died in Istambul in 1569 at the age of 59, at the town she had dreamed as a place where all Jews could settle and live peacefuly with religious freedom.
Grácia Nasi, “ The Lady” , used her courage, her responsibility and solidarity to help the poor and fragile people.
Homage to Dona Grácia Nasi in Tiberias
by, Luisa Gomes
If you are planning to visit Lisbon and you only have three days, there are things that you should not miss. Let us help you to organise your time in order to see as much as possible.
The first day of your stay we suggest you to spend it in the old districts and centre of the city. For this first day you need to have very good comfortable shoes. The best way to discover the old districts is to walk. But keep in mind that Lisbon is not a flat city and lots of the pavements are made with cobbled stones.
The old districts that we recommend are: Alfama, Mouraria, Bairro Alto, Chiado and Baixa. They are all next to each other. In here you will enjoy the more authentic Lisbon, understand the way the city grew, and the way people still live their neighbourhood.
The sites that you should not miss are: the St. George Castle, Saint Luzia Belvedere, Commerce Square, Rossio Square, S. Pedro de Alcântara belvedere, the Saint Rock Church and Rua Garrett where we still find some of the oldest stores of Lisbon.
The second day should be spent in Belém district, the district connected with the Golden period of the Portuguese history – the Maritime Discoveries. It is here that we find the Saint Jerome Monastery, the Monument of the Discoveries and the so famous Belém Tower. But if you enjoy museums there are great museums such as: Maritime Museum, the Coach Museum and the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology). Do not miss the famous custard tarts.
If you still have energy stop at LX factory to have a drink, to eat or just to admire local art.
For the third day we recommend you to visit the Parque das Nações. It is the most modern section of Lisbon with contemporary architecture and the Lisbon Oceanarium, considered to be one of the best in the world. This day can be more relaxing enjoying the open space and doing some shopping.
If you still have time and like art museums do not miss Gulbenkian Museum that holds one of the best private art collections in the world.
The best way to take advantage of your visits and not to lose time is to have a certified guide with you. You will have more time to look at the monuments, take pictures, enjoy the moment instead of keeping your nose on a guidebook or looking at your smart phone.
Enjoy Lisbon! If you need the help of a certified guide, get in touch with us, we would love to take you around our city!
by, Luisa Gomes
Portuguese food: are you visiting Lisbon during 3 days? Do not forget to try some Portuguese specialities otherwise you will not have a truly local experience.
What are the musts you cannot go back home without tasting?
Chamuças – it is originally from India; it is made with chicken and curry but there are also some vegetarian versions.
Ameijoas à Bolhão Pato – clams with garlic, parsley, and olive oil. It is a perfect option for a snack. It is a hot day have it with Vinho Verde (green wine).
Bifana – a pork stake fried in a special sauce, served in a bread roll. Do not forget to add mustard.
Pastel de Bacalhau – Cod fish Cake – The Portuguese love it as a starter or a snack, the original version does not have a cheese filling. It can also be served as a main course with tomato rice and green salad.
Grilled sardines if summertime – it is a Portuguese experience that you should not miss. Served with boiled potatoes and a salad. Just be careful because it has scales and bones that need to be removed.
Grilled fish – Portugal has a big variety of good fish. Try seabass or golden bream, they are delicious!
Arroz de Marisco – We love rice and we eat more than any other European. One of the best options is seafood rice, it has a combination of several types of shellfish and fish.
Carne de Porco à Alentejana – pork meat with fried potatoes and clams. It is a speciality from, the Alentejo region in the south of Portugal.
Doces conventuais – It means conventual sweets because the recipes were originally from convents or monasteries. Very sweet made of sugar, egg yolk and sometimes almonds.
Pastel de Nata – The most famous Portuguese cake. It is a custard tart. Try it with a coffee and do not forget to sprinkle it with cinnamon!
Cheeses – Portuguese cheeses are not known abroad but we have great cheeses. Serra cheese, from the mountains area, it is a soft cheese or Azeitão cheese similar but smaller in size and normally served as an appetizer. If you prefer stronger flavours, there is Ilha cheese from the Azores islands or Serpa cheese from the Alentejo.
Wines – It is a sin to leave Portugal without tasting Portuguese wines, there are many different regions you should not miss Douro (North of Portugal) and Alentejo (South of Portugal).
You can not go back home without tasting Ginginha, the cherry liquor, if you are a chocolate lover you have the option of drink it in chocolate cup it is a delicious the combination and it is zero waste.
On a 3-hour walking tour on the city centre with one of our certified tour guides you may learn about the history, the culture and our gastronomy.