Portugal’s capital has largely eschewed the trappings of globalisation, but that’s not to say contemporary attractions, from directional wine bars to edgy art tours, aren’t flourishing, says Mary Lussiana
In Lisbon’s kasbah-like Alfama district, a work by Portuguese contemporary artist Sandra Baía is propped against a 15th-century wall. A crumpled Portuguese flag on which national proverbs have been painted, it’s entitled Portugal: País frágil em obras, or Portugal: Fragile nation under construction. It is waiting to be hung inside Santiago de Alfama, the capital’s newest boutique hotel, whose doors swung open in July. The political message on the painting, completed in 2012, is aimed at the sceptics who questioned Portugal’s ability to survive in the global downturn.