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A Thousand and One Nights in Lisbon – Casa do Alentejo

Lisbon never stops surprising you. Where and when you least expect it you will find something which will leave you wondering.

So you are walking down the narrow streets near Rossio and Restauradores Squares, in the centre of Lisbon, you stroll right by the Lisbon Coliseum Theatre and all the typical restaurants around it and, barely noticeable, you stumble upon this 17th century palace, very discrete on the outside. Welcome to Casa do Alentejo, which has been a cultural centre entirely devoted to the beautiful Portuguese region of Alentejo. There is a tavern with traditional Alentejo food, of course, as well as a nicely decadent ballroom and a small Alentejo-themed museum. But what will enchant you is the exquisite and unexpected Islamic-style courtyard of this mansion, all tiles and fountains and ornamented arches. Go in and have a look, its free. It will immediately transport you to the Arabic folk tales of the Islamic Golden Age. It is also a reminder of the strong Arab and Moorish influence which is visible in parts of Lisbon and the southern region of Portugal, including in language and vocabulary.

Alentejo, so that you know if you want to venture further out of the capital, starts just south of Lisbon and extends all the way down to the Algarve, all plains and pastures, small villages and little white houses, peaceful and relaxing as no other.


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