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Historical Lisbon, Global City

Date of Submission: 31/01/2017
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of Portugal to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
District and municipality of Lisbon
Coordinates: N38 42 27 E9 8 11
Ref.: 6208
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

Lisbon has witnessed the meeting and exchange of cultures that took place in the city throughout the centuries, from the diverse peoples who settled there since the 7th century B.C. and left their cultural mark, to the globalisation generated by the Portuguese discoveries, when the city became a precursor to the maritime exploration of the 15th and 16th centuries, transforming it into the largest port in the European Atlantic and inspiring the construction of new cities all across the world.

As a consequence of the extensive dialogue of civilisations that Lisbon established with Europe, Africa, America, and the East, which is reflected in the historic city centre, Lisbon stands out due to several features such as the exquisite manner in which it blends the diverse urban layouts and noteworthy buildings that are its hallmark, a testimony to the Roman, Islamic, and European cultures that shaped it; the unique way in which it has been adapted to a rugged terrain, which extends all the way to the riverfront; the setting for comings and goings during the days of the discoveries; and a mixture of monuments, squares, and port heritage, which are the traces of a former intense maritime and commercial activity.

Set between hills punctuated by belvederes with idyllic scenery, the Enlightenment-era urban layout is a standout feature, designed according to the unique Pombalino plan following the devastating 1755 earthquake that destroyed the city centre.

As a palimpsest, the city bears the traces of the successive transformations that have adapted it to new dynamics, from the silting of the river to reconstructions following the devastating earthquakes it endured, promoting the reintegration of past values, thus allowing it to create a narrative of its history.

This multi-faceted city was the stage for multiple cultural expressions, which have been retained and reinterpreted, conferring it with a unique quality, preserving its cultural identity, and reinforcing its inhabitants' roots. Azulejo (tiles), artistic cobbled streets, and fado (traditional Portuguese music), recently added to the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, are the ultimate exponents of these cultural expressions.

The property includes the following areas of the city:

The area surrounded by the Cerca Fernandina defensive wall, which is home to the city's oldest defensive structures, as well as the oldest settlements in Lisbon: Castelo, , Alfama, Baixa, Chiado, and Pena, structures and neighbourhoods (bairros) that exhibit influences from an array of civilisations from the Roman, Islamic, Medieval, and Enlightenment periods. Also included are the adjacent medieval areas of Mouraria, São Vicente, and Santa Clara.

The old Jesuit Colleges of Santo Antão-o-Velho and Santo Antão-o-Novo, both 16th-century constructions of significant cultural value, not only as architectural heritage but also as sites of innovative scientific teaching that contributed hugely to the field of navigation.

The Renaissance-era Bairro Alto neighbourhood, constructed following the population boom fuelled by the Portuguese discoveries, extends to the riverfront via the Bica neighbourhood, with its exceptional topography resulting from an earthquake that was embraced by the urban fabric. Also included is the 16th-century Mocambo neighbourhood in Madragoa, by the western approach to the city, which at that time was a suburb, inhabited by fishermen and the African population.

Noviciado da Cotovia, a Jesuit college established in the 17th century as a seat of scientific learning, the attached botanical garden, which is home to a vast array of plant species, including ancient and tropical species, and the neighbouring Príncipe Real Square, where the Society of Jesus began constructing a college, destroyed by the earthquake.

And the riverfront, between Cais do Sodré and Santa Apolónia, an area of embankments since the Manuelino period.

Of the viewpoints, which are privileged spots affording panoramic views over the characteristic features of the urban landscape and river, those of most significant value are included: Santa Catarina, São Pedro de Alcântara, Castelo de São Jorge, Graça, Campo de Santa Clara, Portas do Sol, and Santa Luzia.

The buffer zone covers the nearby surroundings of the proposed property and a wider area aimed at preserving the visual relationships established with it.

Given the characteristic physical geography of Lisbon's urban landscape, the sightline is made up of a series of sub-systems, which were considered when establishing the buffer zone boundary:

  • Riverfront: which protects the visual links with the estuary and river;
  • Prominent locations and main ridges: where visual relationships are established with the surrounding area, extending to the stream line;
  • Valleys: where visual relationships are established with the city's hillsides and low-lying areas, the valleys of Liberdade Avenue and Almirante Reis Avenue being of particular importance.

The LMP (Lisbon Master Plan) and development and design plans are in force for the proposed property. Currently, 70% of the area is covered by urban regeneration and safeguarding plans that are either in effect or are being drawn up. The creation and approval of these land management instruments is undertaken with the involvement and participation of the areas inhabitants and civic forces, namely organisations and representatives of economic activities.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Historic Lisbon is a testimony to the influences, both tangible and intangible, of the different peoples and cultures that converged there, making it an excellent example of exchanges and dialogue between civilisations. Its outstanding universal value is based on the following:

Unparalleled role in the globalisation generated by the discoveries, from the 15th century onwards, during which time the Portuguese were precursors in terms of knowledge of the world, its peoples, and its resources, as well as the relationship between Europe and the New World, Southern Africa, the East, and America, effectively changing the face of human history;

Importance and enduring prominence of the port in international trade over more than two millennia, culminating in the maritime exploration of the 15th and 16th centuries, and as a place for commercial exchanges on the shipping routes that were consolidated in subsequent centuries and which enabled the circulation of new goods between the different continents;

Unique interconnection of urban fabrics and reappropriation of values from different periods, each with its own urban layouts, architectural styles, and ways of adapting to a terrain with a complex morphology. Lisbon's urban structure is a testimony to successive Roman, Islamic, and Medieval settlements, the organic urban features of which can be seen today in the Castelo, , Alfama, and Mouraria neighbourhoods. The city still retains districts that give it identity, most notably Renaissance ones such as Bairro Alto, built as a result of the population boom fuelled by the discoveries and formed by a grid layout with a hierarchy of roadways, and Mocambo, which also has an orthogonal layout;

These neighbourhoods have been continuously inhabited and retain numerous cultural expressions that make them unique, expressions that have been laid down and reinvented, maintaining the cultural identity and reaffirming the inhabitants' roots;

First modern city in the West, due to the Enlightenment-style reconstruction following the 1755 earthquake. With the Pombalino Plan, which prioritises uniformity, order, sobriety, and standardisation, the centre of Lisbon is renovated according to a rational and innovative model: it adopts the block as a unit of design, hierarchizes façades and stratifies uses in altimetry, recreates foundation and structural systems, standardises façade designs, defines regulations to protect against earthquakes (gaiola pombalina) and fire (firewalls), designs a sewage network, and finds an innovative method for the proportional redistribution of property, which today is called equalisation; the Plan is based on preserving the past by integrating existing spaces and buildings into the urban fabric;

Unique urban landscape with monumental buildings and belvederes that afford a succession of stunning views, establishing visual relationships between hills, valleys, riverfront, and river, in an unrivalled variety of landscapes and panoramas, with the sunlight reflecting on the colour and shine of the materials at various levels

The property provides visible testimonies to the significant cultural heritage of human history, as well as the influences from other continents, and offers a wide range of archaeological, architectural, and decorative remains, whether defensive, such as Lisbon's walls, religious, as seen in churches and convents, or residential, administrative, and infrastructural, as with the water supply, all of which represent the various phases of the city's development;

Lisbon contributed towards the exchange of ideas and knowledge as a meeting point of different peoples and cultures since the discoveries, when it played a significant role in the development of knowledge on navigation, strategy, and logistics, which were inherent to the expeditions. It influenced urban and architectural designs in the different continents where the Portuguese settled, namely through the application of the models used at the waterfront and in the Baixa Pombalina area. Also evident in the landscape heritage is the meeting of cultures, embodied by the gardens, which are still home to unparalleled collections of plant species from various continents, living testaments to the importance of the discoveries in the exchange of plant life across the world;

Multiple cultural expressions demonstrate the universal nature of the proposed property. Countless portrayals and descriptions by artists and writers of different nationalities and from different periods make Historic Lisbon one of the most mentioned and depicted cities in the world. The exceptional fado and azulejo are the major exponents of these cultural expressions.

In short, the 15th-century discoveries and 18th-century earthquake were fundamental events in the evolution of the city – moments when it was modernised by adopting innovative currents of thought. The medieval city expanded towards the river and became the world city that would later be reconstructed along Enlightenment lines. It is from this evolution, a constant adaptation to a complex terrain and the preservation of existing features, that Historic Lisbon emerges as a true Global City, with its unique mixture of urban fabrics, tangible evidences of an age-old history of exchange between cultures, peoples, and religions.

In terms of protection, the property currently includes various buildings and groups of buildings under legal protection at a national level. It follows that any plans for urban development are reviewed by the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage, the government body responsible for managing the cultural heritage in mainland Portugal. Every building with legal protection has a protected area and any urban development plans within this area require evaluation by the aforementioned entity.

In addition, at a municipal level, all the immovable cultural property of recognised architectural, historic, landscape, archaeological, and geological interest forms part of the city's heritage and has intervention regulations set out in the LMP. For these, each intervention plan is preceded by the assessment and profiling of the building, with the values to safeguard and degree of permissible intervention being identified. The sightlines are also identified and safeguarded in the LMP.

Lisbon is, predominantly, in a good state of preservation since there has been heavy investment in regenerating the public space and buildings are, in the main, in a reasonable state of preservation. In fact, in a survey conducted in 2012, with subsequent updates, out of a total of 5027 buildings, 42% were in a good or excellent condition, 43% in average condition, and only 15% in poor or very poor condition.

Lisbon is, however, a vulnerable city with numerous natural and man-made threats:

Natural Phenomena: The most significant are earthquakes, for which preventive and/or mitigating measures are in place and specific legislation has been created with respect to buildings. In the event of an earthquake, the plan is for combined intervention from various institutions: civil protection, fire services, security forces, armed forces, and health services.

For other events, such as floods and tidal disruptions, the implementation of the municipal ecological structure and its connectivity with the river have been fundamental in minimising the risk. A new Drainage Plan is also being devised.

Population dynamics: the two biggest problems are the ageing population and the depopulation of the city. The Municipality has implemented initiatives to address the former and has more planned. The main measures include regenerating public space, promoting smooth and inclusive mobility, and encouraging the use of public transport over personal transportation. The depopulation process has shown signs of reversal in the past decade. In order to combat the phenomenon, the Municipality has made efforts to renovate buildings, namely through financing programmes and tax incentives, and create facilities, especially at a local level.

Urban developments: Some developments may have negative impacts upon heritage. To oppose this possibility, both the LMP and existing and draft protection and urban regeneration plans define rules on appropriate development. In a city such as Lisbon, it is also vital to establish protection measures against developments that may affect views. The sightlines are protected by the LMP and, as a result, the construction of high-rise buildings is limited.

Tourism: The current increase in the number of tourists visiting Lisbon, concentrated mainly in Historic Lisbon, may constitute a threat to the urban quality and identity of the neighbourhoods. The municipality is currently conducting studies on this impact with the aim of devising an action plan. The city has responded to this issue by creating infrastructures, upgrading facilities, particularly those of a cultural nature, improving accessibility, and creating accommodation and leisure areas. At the same time, the 2015-2019 Strategic Tourism Plan for the Lisbon Region contains a number of measures aimed at positioning the region at a new level of sustainable tourism excellence.

These measures seek to address the threats that Lisbon faces and it is essential to implement all the measures envisaged for Historic Lisbon through an integrated management plan.

Lisbon is currently the subject of an extensive programme focused on the environmental, scenic, and cultural enhancement of its wealthy heritage. The culmination of this programme is the reinforcement of the relationship between the city, the river, and the port, made possible by effective cooperation among institutions. Modern Lisbon embraces ancient Lisbon, builds new bonds with the river, and reinvigorates the riverfront. It protects its architectural, archaeological, industrial, and port heritage, integrating it into new spaces that are adapted to cultural and leisure functions. It is a city built on sustainable progress, totally in line with the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscapes.

Criterion (i): Lisbon encompasses a host of urban features from different ages and origins, including organic, Renaissance and Enlightenment valuable elements that relate to each other and are uniquely adapted to a complex terrain, creating an historical urban landscape of exceptional diversity.

The Baixa Pombalina area is a prime example. Constructed following the 1755 earthquake, it is a unique example of modernity from the Enlightenment period, the result of a rational, avant-garde plan developed by Eugénio dos Santos, under the command of the Marquis of Pombal. A masterpiece of human creative genius, it respects and integrates the pre-existing features and combines innovative systems for urban development, architecture, construction, security, and the distribution of property.

Criterion (ii): Lisbon is an exceptional testimony of the exchange of human values over almost three thousand years, in a location of immense strategic importance, where the cultural traditions of Europe and the Mediterranean basin came together to create a vibrant mercantile-maritime community which would expand and influence the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans from the 15th century onwards.

Through its urban landscape, layout, architecture, decorative arts, and numerous cultural expressions, the city reflects its vast array of influences over the various phases of its construction and transformation.

Lisbon had a significant influence on the development of urban planning, architecture, building techniques, the decorative arts, and defensive and port systems, particularly in terms of trading posts and cities founded by the Portuguese in other continents.

Criterion (iii): 
As an age-old city, Lisbon is an outstanding example of the globalisation initiated by the 15th-century Portuguese voyagers, which made it the prime location on the maritime trade routes between East and West, from the South Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, as can be seen in its monuments and remains from bygone eras.

Criterion (iv): Lisbon is a prime example of adapting to difficult geomorphological conditions and integrating cultural values from the past into the development of its urban and architectural landscape over the last millennium.

The property area presents intertwined urban fabrics from different eras, with countless historical buildings, which differentiate it from other cities in the same geocultural area, in Europe and the Maghreb.

These characteristics can be seen in the diverse hills, the complexity of the urban fabrics from the Roman, Islamic, Medieval and Renaissance periods, and the prominence of some notable buildings; the Baixa Pombalina area boasts original Enlightenment-era urban development; the riverfront has narrow banks and artificial embankments, with regular urban plans and large squares, where commercial activities take place close to the port.

Criterion (vi): Lisbon retains cultural expressions that give its neighbourhoods identity and reaffirm its inhabitants' roots.

The city has created new forms of expression that bestow it with its own identity. Azulejo, artistic cobbled streets, and fado are the ultimate exponents of these cultural expressions.

Three millennia of history and a privileged location on the Tagus estuary and Atlantic Ocean have made it a city that has been the subject of countless visual depictions and literary references over history.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Lisbon is an evolving city, whose uniqueness results from the superimposition of successive civilisations and historical periods. Its urban fabric is the reflection of a continuous, age-old occupation of the land, interspersed with moments of abrupt change, when the city has witnessed devastating earthquakes and transformations to adapt it to new dynamics. Despite this, Lisbon retains characteristic structures from the various stages of its evolution, both in terms of the organisation of space and significant buildings, and boasts the necessary elements for expressing its outstanding universal value.

Lisbon's urban structure developed from a network of ancient access points that were established along the river, heading east, west, and inland. These still exist and have been significant in the planning of the city, as revealed by numerous cartographic and iconographic sources, including Panorâmica de Lisboa [Panoramic of Lisbon], which belongs to the University of Leiden and dates from the first half of the 16th century, the 1836 work Vista de Lisboa antes do Terramoto de 1755 (View of Lisbon before the Earthquake of 1755) by J.P. Aragão, Vista e perspectiva da Barra, Costa e Cidade de Lisboa (View and Perspective of the Coastline and City of Lisbon), by Bernardo Caula, from 1763, Planta da cidade de Lisboa (Lisbon City Plan), by João Souza, from 1875, and the azulejo panel Grande Panorama de Lisboa (Large View of Lisbon), depicting the riverfront between Algés and Xabregas, which dates from 1695 and is attributed to Gabriel Del Barco.

The oldest parts of the city retain the medieval layout, which can be seen in the Castelo, , Alfama, and Mouraria neighbourhoods, preserving important remains of civil, defensive, and production structures from the Roman period, examples of which include the Roman theatre, identified in the Mapa geral das escavações que se fez perto da Rua de S. Mamede por baixo do castelo desta Cidade de Lisboa (General map of the excavations close to S. Mamede Street below the castle in the City of Lisbon), which is attributed to Francisco Fabri and dates to 1798, the cryptoporticus in Baixa, the remains of the wall, and the garum vats that extend from the Casa dos Bicos to Augusta Street. Urban layouts from the Islamic occupation can be seen, as well as archaeological remains, in particular those that include the São Jorge Castle Archaeological Centre and those beneath the Cathedral.

The renaissance era neighbourhoods such as Bairro Alto retain their authenticity both in terms of urban structure and typology, and have been the subject of several studies, namely those conducted by various Lisbon historians and other authors in works such as Bairro Alto, tipologias e modos arquitectónicos (Bairro Alto, architectural types and modes) by Hélder Carita and the recent publication Bairro Alto, mutações e convivências pacíficas (Bairro Alto, changes and peaceful interaction), which was coordinated by the same author.

In terms of the period of maritime expansion, the proposed property reflects the important role that Lisbon played in the globalisation process. The recently published work “The global city. On the streets of the renaissance Lisbon”, relating to two paintings at the Society of Antiquaries of London, which date to c.1550-1600 and depict Rua Nova dos Mercadores (New Street of the Merchants), demonstrates just how global a city Lisbon was.

Even though some significant constructions, erected in response to the pressing need for utilitarian structures to support expansion, namely those linked to maritime and commercial activities, as well as buildings that demonstrated power, such as the royal palace, were damaged by the 1755 earthquake, several hallmarks of this process of urban expansion still remain in the area. The riverfront, with its successive embankments and wharfs whose construction began in the 15th century, transformed the city’s contact with the river as recorded in the 1871 Carta Topográfica de Lisboa (Topographical Map of Lisbon). Structures linked to maritime exploration, namely granaries, fountains, and structures for the construction and repair of ships, are also identified in studies such as A Ribeira de Lisboa na época da expansão portuguesa (séculos XV a XVIII) (The Lisbon riverside at the time of the Portuguese expansion (15-18th centuries)), by Carlos Caetano, and important archaeological artefacts were recently found during the rehabilitation of public spaces such as Ribeira das Naus and D. Luís Square.

The property also retains other historical evidences associated with maritime exploration, such as the Aula da Esfera lecture hall at the Santo Antão-o-Novo college, where lectures took place between 1590-1759 on important scientific subjects linked to navigation, and the botanical garden that is now part of the University of Lisbon, which houses unparalleled collections of plant species from various continents.

The urban plan for Baixa Pombalina was implemented following its conclusion in 1758. The Cartulário Pombalino, a group of documents produced by Lisbon's Casa do Risco das Reais Obras Públicas (Planning Department for Royal Public Works), depict the effective practice of architecture and the establishment of regulations and the standardisation of construction processes, which characterise the regulatory plan for the reconstruction of Lisbon following the earthquake. Recent studies that contributed to the better dating of buildings have shown that a large number were constructed until the end of the first decade of the 19th century. Today, the road infrastructure and configuration of the blocks, as well as the design and shape of the façades and the spacing of openings in a significant number of buildings remain unchanged, with minor modifications that do not interfere with the interpretation and integrity of the ensemble. Over time, the need to make functional alterations to several buildings revealed the versatility of the spaces created by the plan. Of the numerous studies on Baixa Pombalina, special mention should be made to those by José-Augusto França, and the publication “Lisboa, o Plano da Baixa hoje” (Lisbon, the Baixa Plan today), an exhibition catalogue produced at the time of the 250th anniversary of the plan, which provided a lengthy reflection on the topic.

In Historic Lisbon, there are many well-preserved buildings of recognised historical and patrimonial value, representing various periods. Many bear witness to the transformations resulting from works carried out following the large earthquakes or, in the case of religious heritage, from the adaptation to new functions following the dissolution of the religious orders in Portugal in the 19th century.

The property exhibits a great variety of construction techniques and materials from different periods, such as the use of piling for foundations, the building of mortar and adobe walls, front and partition walls, gaiola or cage structures, perpent stone facing, stonework frames, azulejo panels, cobbled pavements in limestone and basalt, and roofing made from ceramic tiles, which reflect and enhance Lisbon's exceptional light.

The complex morphology that characterises the property is still intact from the ridges to the riverfront. As for the visual integrity of the property, a fundamental element in the identity of its urban landscape, the main viewpoints are preserved. The principal belvederes offer privileged views over the historic neighbourhoods that occupy the hills and valleys. The view from the river also offers clear visibility over the urban centre, with the Islamic-medieval section on the main elevation and the Enlightenment-era downtown area in the confluence of the two valleys being immediately visible.

The various plans to protect, preserve, regenerate, and manage the different areas of the property aim to promote the preservation of its historical and patrimonial character, as well as its transmission to future generations, through controlled development, improved environmental quality and, generally, sustainable enhancements.

The entire property is situated on consolidated land. Conscious of the importance of maintaining the characteristics of this land, the plans in force and under development are extremely restrictive where demolition is concerned, opting for a considered use of the land.

Comparison with other similar properties

Seven characteristics of Lisbon's outstanding universal value were identified and constituted the criteria for selecting cities for comparison. This was focused on cities whose development was based on port and trade activities in a historically significant period, which were linked to the exploration of trade routes, and in which the urban landscape preserved the features of the successive phases of their evolution and influences. Another criterion was the presence of Enlightenment-era features. The comparison also included the connection between the different urban fabrics and between these and the morphology of the land, as well as the possibility of establishing scenic visual relationships. Like Lisbon, these cities have specific cultural features that reflect the influences and exchanges of the cultures with which they established relationships.

Twenty-seven cities with some of these characteristics were selected and Lisbon was compared with the fifteen that demonstrated most similar characteristics, including with cities that fall into the same thematic category, whether or not they are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The geographical contexts are: national, Mediterranean, northern Europe, and South America.

National context

Angra do Heroísmo: The city played an important role as a port of call and supply for ships, while Lisbon played a key role as a centre of exchanges and trade, as well as a centre of knowledge, logistical and naval construction base. Both cities received influences, but Angra do Heroísmo primarily reflects colonial urban development and architecture.

Lagos: Due to its prominent location facing Africa, the city of Lagos was also significant to maritime exploration as a port of arrival and departure for shipping. Its importance weakened in 1460 with the transfer of the Casa de Arguim and Casa da Guiné to Lisbon. The city's decline was accentuated by the catastrophe of 1755 and subsequent pirate attacks. The city retains isolated buildings and defensive structures, and Lisbon still has a complex urban fabric.

Porto: Like Lisbon, Porto is located at the mouth of major national rivers and has a complex south-facing morphology and a rich and diverse architectural heritage. The city was involved in the exploration of sea routes, while Lisbon stands out for having been the main stage of the discoveries, with the resulting economic development, port modifications, and urban expansion, assuming the role of capital of the colonial empire and a series of governmental, social and administrative functions.

Vila Real de Santo António: Founded by the King, it replaced the former Santo António de Arenilha, which had been built nearby but was destroyed by the sea in the 16th and 17th centuries. Designed by the Casa do Risco under the direction of Reinaldo dos Santos, the town was inaugurated in 1776. It is the culmination of the great Pombalino reform project and was destined as a factory town for processing fish and providing housing. With the removal of the Marquis of Pombal, the town began to be abandoned, only undergoing resurgence in the mid-19th century with the development of the canning industry. Vila Real de Santo António played an important regional role and the city urban layout reflects the symbolism of power, with the Praça Real (royal square) forming the town's civil and commercial centre.

Mediterranean

Istanbul: Usually compared with Lisbon due to its light, Istanbul also stands at a strategic location and has a renowned port activity. Like Lisbon, it was the stage of significant events in world history and inspired the creation of artistic and literary works. Both present a great diversity of urban fabrics.

Naples: The city had a profound influence in many parts of Europe and beyond. Like Naples, Lisbon also played an important international role during the period of sea route exploration. Lisbon also demonstrates a contiguity and integration of the various neighbourhoods and urban fabrics from different periods, and due to a particular geomorphological context, Lisbon offers a great diversity of observation points through the viewpoints on its hills.

Seville: Situated on low-lying terrain, the city has a remarkable monumental complex, wich includes the Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias. Like Lisbon, Seville played a prominent role in large-scale maritime trade, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, the main reason for its prosperity.

Northern Europe

Amsterdam: The city was Lisbon's contemporary in the exploration of maritime trading routes for a significant period in the 17th and 18th centuries. Amsterdam and Lisbon display different urban typologies, which influenced other port cities. The Amsterdam model is reflected chiefly in northern European cities, where artificial conditions were created, namely through canal systems.

Antwerp: Like Lisbon, its development has been largely based on a strong relationship with the river and port and trade activities, which were instrumental in the various phases of its evolution. Both maintained a close commercial relationship in the 16th century at the height of the exploration of sea routes by the Portuguese. However, they differ in the morphology of the terrain and the types of influences they assimilated, as reflected in their urban fabrics and the way that these are adapted to the terrain.

Bordeaux: Bordeaux is a port city that is directly related to wine production and is included on the World Heritage List by virtue of its extensive urban and architectural ensemble, created according to Enlightenment principles. It differs from Lisbon in the morphology of its terrain, which is practically flat and has a predominant architectural style. In terms of Enlightenment urbanism, Bordeaux displays an extensive spatial and temporal continuity and monumentality, while Lisbon stands out for the fact that it is the result of a single overarching plan that innovatively combined building techniques, risk prevention regulations, standardisation, and the proportional redistribution of property.

St. Petersburg: This city has strong links to the river and its urban landscape is marked by magnificent buildings and gardens. The two cities differ in terms of the type of terrain, with St. Petersburg being vast and flat with canals, while Lisbon is formed of hills and valleys and is more compact. Both express the Enlightenment period of the 18th century, although in St. Petersburg this style dominates, while in Lisbon other features from significant periods also attain prominence and are integrated into the terrain on an accessible scale. St. Petersburg began maritime exploration in the 19th century, cemented its trading status within the context of the Baltic, and profited from its strategic location as the most western port in Russia.

South America

Rio de Janeiro: The city was founded by the Portuguese, and as Lisbon and other Portuguese colonial cities, it has been adapted to the morphology of the land and has an urban centre with favourable defence conditions next to a natural port. Today, most of the original urban structures have undergone extensive changes, with some roadways and architectural ensembles remaining from the original urban layout. In terms of maritime exploration, the two cities played different roles: Rio de Janeiro was originally linked to the cultivation of sugar cane and coffee, while it was also the capital of Brazil between the 17th and 20th centuries. Lisbon centralised the trade of products and raw materials from the colonies, as well as all the activities related to the exploration of new sea routes. Like other colonial Brazilian cities, Rio de Janeiro reflects the mixing of cultures from the African, European, and South American continents. The urban landscape of Rio de Janeiro has been evoked in music, poems, and paintings, which has contributed to its global renown. Throughout its history, Lisbon has also served as inspiration for artistic and literary works.

São Luís, Maranhão: The city was founded by the French in 1612 and taken by the Portuguese two years later. The Enlightenment-style historic centre was adapted to the climate. During the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the city was an important regional port for the export of goods.

Salvador: Influenced by Lisbon, and faced with the morphology of its terrain, the city is organised into two distinct areas: the riverfront, situated in the lower part of the city and linked to port and trade activities, and the upper city, which overlooks the lower city and which is more associated with religious, residential, and defence activities. Salvador followed the trend of creating a Portuguese city, with differences in terms of the morphology of the terrain and the time period in which the two cities developed. Both are related to global exploration yet their roles were different. Lisbon was the centre of exchanges, trade, and knowledge, as well as a logistical and naval construction hub, while Salvador was established as the capital of the Portuguese colony of Brazil, a place where slaves were traded and sugar was exported to Europe.

Valparaíso: Similar to Lisbon in terms of the morphology of its terrain, with its riverfront, narrow banks, and steep hills, which include an array of urban fabrics. However, its urban landscape differs from that of Lisbon in terms of the urban fabrics and architectural structures; this is due, on the one hand, to their geocultural context and, on the other, the historical periods in which they evolved. Lisbon became established from the end of the 15th century with the discoveries, while Valparaíso is connected with the globalisation of maritime trade from the end of the 19th century.

In summary, at the national level, Lisbon stands out from the other cities, since in addition to its trade, it has a long history of maritime exploration beginning in the 15th century, while it was also the capital of the Empire. It also exhibits urban fabrics from different periods, which are interconnected and uniquely adapted to a terrain with a complex morphology, giving it an urban landscape like no other city. At the international level, Lisbon equals the other port cities analysed and has played an outstanding role in world history due to its pioneering spirit, its extensive, large-scale involvement in global maritime trade, and its cultural importance in terms of the exploration of new global routes. The authenticity of its neighbourhoods and Enlightment city centre is linked to the diversity of peoples, cultures and influences that contributed to its permanence in time as a truly multicultural and vibrant capital, reflected in the sustainable preservation of its many tangible and intangible cultural heritage elements and the unique nature of its historic urban landscape.