It’s hard to wander around Lisbon and not notice the relentless trail of dilapidated buildings. Some totally abandoned with blocked doors and crumbled windows, sitting there longing to collapse. Others covered in colorful tile work with flowerpots hanging in the balconies, showing the delightful taste of their owners.
The massive surface of these abandoned walls make Lisbon the dream location for many Graffiti artists and no wonder why there are some pretty good ones to be seen around.
While the weariness of all these facades collides with the whole city, there is still a scrumptious feeling in how unique they stand out between all the others. Whether due to their tasteful colors of tile work or their beautifully designed railings, they dissipate a sense of authenticity into the thin air.
Depending on your taste these facades might come as an eyesore or they could actually make up for a quintessential Portuguese experience. But while you might come to cherish them as they are, they don’t hide the pitiful truth behind them. The fact that they are not there for your pleasure or the sake of heritage but rather for the lack of interest in their renovation.
There’s no doubt that the Portuguese government has far more things to take care of after 5 years of continuous economic crisis and though renovation on major landmarks does go on quite often, there are just far too many of these houses to take care of.
Some of these houses are completely uninhabited and by their features it’s not hard to tell they wont be standing for long. Others are inhabited by the middle class and even though not all of them are in severe conditions, their interiors are not so promising.
Lisbon was once hit by one of the biggest earthquakes which was accompanied by a tsunami that caused an absolute destruction of the whole city. I’d like to think that the memory of that disaster is still alive and people would actually care to prevent it from happening again. Yet the majority of houses in Lisbon are not even prepared for a fierce winter or a 40 ºC summer let alone a tsunami!! After all we always tend to learn from history when it’s too late! It’s seems to have become a part of humanity. A sad one indeed!
Nevertheless Lisbon has one of the most worn out city structures I have ever seen and it doesn’t end just there. You’d be surprised to see that Porto takes Portuguese old world charm to a whole new level. One that I have grown a love affair with and I will certainly miss when I leave.