Portuguese Fado: Sofia Ramos in Lisbon’s Baixo Chiado

Fado, roughly translated as ‘fate’ in English, is a type of music that started in Portugal in the early 19th century. A little like the better known Flamenco, the music traditionally shows an outpouring of grief, melancholy or bitterness and therefore many Fado artists sing about love and loss (saudade in Portuguese) More recently, Fado has undergone a…

In Pictures: The Palaces & Castles of Sintra

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sintra was once inhabited by the Moors who dominated most of the Iberian Peninsula from the 8th century onwards. The Moorish castle ruins atop Sintra’s hill peak are testament to their long and successful stay. After the Christian re-conquest of the area in the 12th century, Sintra became a…

A City For The Dead: Lisbon’s Famous Prazeres Cemetery

I was the only one in this community with a heartbeat. Manicured avenues of ornate marble houses replicate and stretch towards the edge of a hill that overlooks Vasco de Gama’s bridge. In between the neat rows, organised trees stand somberly over the silence. How many people surrounded me? Hundreds? Maybe even thousands, but the…