European Network on Quality of Experience in Multimedia Systems and Services



10-11th March, 2011


Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, Portugal


About Lisbon


Centuries ago an idyllic settlement took root on the hills, close to a river and not far from a vast ocean. The hills offered protection against the wrath of enemies and the river a mean of survival so that the settlement soon became a good place to live. Legend tells us Ulysses founded it during one of his famous journeys. Another chronicle reports that Elisha, grandson of Abraham, founded the city around 3259 BC.

But the local conditions are sufficient proof that it was well populated as far back as Neolithic times. The tribes that lived there originally were Iberians, a stocky, stout, dark-haired race.

Then the Phoenicians arrived by sea (c. 1200 BC) and founded a port by the name of Alis Ubbo ("serene harbour"). After the Phoenicians came the Celts (first half of sixth century BC) who mixed with the local tribes resulting in a people known as Celt Iberians. Later, around 205 BC. The Romans invaded the city and its name changed to Olisip.

Apparently it was also named Felicitas Iulia, after Julius Caesar, but this name was short lived. Time passed and once more new invaders reached that site on the hills with its calm river and mild climate. Among them were the Visigoths and the Moors. 

It was only in 1147 that D. Afonso Henriques, who was to be the first king of the territory Portus Cale, later known as Portugal, conquered it with the help of thousands of Crusaders from northern Europe. King Afonso III was very fond of Lissabona, as it was called then, and a century later he made what is now Lisbon the capital of the country. 

It stands on the most westerly point of the European continent, where the river Tagus flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is probably one of the mildest in Europe.

During the Portuguese Age of Discovery (15th and 16th centuries) the city was endowed with bigger and more luxurious buildings. In 1775 it was devastated by an earthquake, in which it is believed that about 30 000 lives were lost and more than 9 000 buildings destroyed. The city was rebuilt rapidly for that day and age under the direction of the Marquis of Pombal. The downtown part of Lisbon has retained its eighteenth century character.

Over the centuries, Lisbon has witnessed a great deal of change and development although many traces of the city's rich and troubled past have been retained. In 1994 Lisbon was the European Capital of Culture, and the city was promoted throughout the entire year in a wide variety of events. Art exhibitions, cinema, theatre and musical events all made Lisbon the right place to be, and in fact it still is!

In 1998, Lisbon hosted the last world exhibition of the last century, Expo´98, which was subordinated to the theme of the ocean because of Portugal's importance as a nation involved in discovery and sea-voyages.

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