Mouraria is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Lisbon and the most multicultural of all. The narrow and typical alleys and streets were once home of the Moorish inhabitants of Lisbon after the crusaders conquered the castle in 1147.
Around 60 nationalities live here nowadays, mostly from China, India, Pakistan and Mozambique and there are associations working towards minority integration (Renovar a Mouraria). This is actually the most Portuguese of all neighborhoods: It was disconnected from the rest of Lisbon until the recent “touristification” and renovation, home of Fado and birthplace of several famous Fado singers from Mariza to Severa. This is also the place if you want a good and authentic Fado house or a traditional Portuguese restaurant.
The quarter is famous for having the best Asian and African restaurants of Lisbon like “Cantinho do Aziz” and known for being one of the safest in town. It’s a small island inside the city where neighbors still take time to have a chat with you. Roads are mainly pedestrian only and car parking is chaotic and sometimes quite imaginative.
The strong aromas of Chinese soy sauce combined with the exotic Indian spices and the Portuguese typical smell of grilled sardines, should be protected by UNESCO as a symbol of tolerance and peace between different communities under the same roof.
Check the work of a fantastic photographer at Beco das Farinhas if you’re heading towards the castle! And if you’re thirsty grab a beer and a snack at Martim Moniz square.