“Ai mouraria, da velha Rua da Palma, onde eu um dia deixei presa a minha alma…”
The name Mouraria originated centuries ago, when the Moors were conquered and converted to Christianism. When they professed themselves as Christians they were sent to live in Mourarias. There are various in the country. This specific neighborhood was one of the poorest, even though you can find a few beautiful Palaces in the perimeter.
Mouraria’s fame grew due to fado. A Portuguese music genre and national culture icon. Music of longing, anguish and suffering, some songs are characterized by a sad tune but others are quite rhythmic. Severa, a former fish saleswoman used to sing at the local taverns to entertain the sailors, that used to come for amusement. Thanks to her, Mouraria is now considered the birth home of Fado, a valuable world heritage.
There are many Fado singers that were born in Mouraria or grew up there, such as Alfredo Marceneiro, Fernando Mauricio ou Marisa. Unfortunately, I do not sing Fado – that would be one of my weaknesses. I would love to sing “Lisboa não sejas Francesa” or “Lisboa menina e moça” but…oh well, God gave me some other talents, I can’t complain!
This neighborhood is very typical. Twenty three different nationalities inhabit this global village – Chinese, Indian and Pakistan the highest percent, however they are mixed amongst Portuguese. They become so tangled that for example some Chinese families name their daughters “Maria” and sons “António”. Two of the most typical Portuguese names!
The neighborhoods are also full of architectural gems. I LOVE to stroll around.
I grew up on 125 Rua dos Cavaleiros, and from the 4th floor I could see the fast speed pace that makes Lisbon – Lisbon.
Martim Moniz was my Playground (before the most heinous mall was built, but that is another issue for another day) and I loved to window shop. Currently the new “kid on the block” is the Intendente area. Now bohemian chic, once it was a red light district, but it has flourished; new stores, brand new hotels, cafes, and open areas just to walk around. The old Rua da Palma in intendente has been a huge hit.
There is so must more to say about my beloved Mouraria, but it’s better to go see for yourself. Go for a visit…