Mouraria district is part of ancient Lisbon from the time Portugal wasn’t even a country. Lisbon’s history goes back more than 2000 years combining Moorish and Roman occupation, battles, fight for power and influence, intrigue and treachery until the foundation of Portugal with king Dom Afonso Henriques (sec XII).
As the city grew and expanded its limits, Mouraria stood behind, forgotten, unaware of the changes and closed in on itself; it ended up being a place of refugees, poverty, a cultural mix of people from many origins and a bohemian nightlife of prostitutes and alcohol. On the hill to the castle, here people gathered to trade, do business or sell things outside the city’s walls; incredibly, it remains so until today – except that the city walls are long gone. I often heard its inhabitants, my neighbors, talk about those times and feel the difference between “high” and “low” Mouraria as if the wall was still there, separating them.
Renovar a Mouraria is an association working toward minorities’ integration, cultural activities and guided tours with the intent of showing and bringing people to Mouraria. At their headquarters you can eat, drink, dance, watch exhibitions, learn several languages and more.
As part of this mission and also of my fondness for board games, I go there every Thursday evening to promote and show board games as an entertainment that fits every age, gender, nationality or culture and as a way to blend everyone together having fun around a table.