Lisbon, Portugal's coastal capital city, is the largest city in the country and the western most capital city on the European continent. It is also the only one on the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Around 10,000 years B.C. the region was inhabited by pre-Celtic tribes, but there did not appear to be any permanent settlements. Sometime around the fifth century, a series of Germanic tribes ruled the region, finally creating a settlement around 1256. Following the defeat of Hanibal during the Punic Wars, Lisbon fell under Roman rule ( at the time it was known as Olisipo). During the 8th century, the Moors captured and ruled the area until 1147, when it was recaptured by the Crusaders. The Muslim influence can still be seen all around the city. One of the first things we experienced upon our arrival, is how hilly the city is (and I do mean "hilly"; at times we felt like mountain goats). In addition, everyone seems to live in condominiums or apartment buildings on top of each other with neither personal yards, nor green spaces, to call their own. Lovely communal parks are located throughout the city, which do offer some semblance of outdoor life. All-in-all, though, this very cosmopolitan city looks like it will be fun to explore.
Constructed in 1779 on the order of Queen Maria I, the Basilica Estrela was the first church in the world dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.