Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. This was the solid piece of knowledge I had before visiting this city in April 2019, as part of my studying the course ‘Cultural Heritage and Politics of Memory’ within the framework of my ‘Master in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts.’
But like every visit which opens new horizons to the eyes of the visitor with all the new stimulation that it offers, my visit to Lisbon made me realize that Lisbon is a storyteller. It has been said that there is no greater agony than an untold story bearing inside us. Well, Lisbon bears no untold stories inside it. It is a city resembling the persona of a storyteller who speaks all existing languages to all people all over the world.
Lisbon tells the stories of its glorious past of the explorative nature of Portuguese, the navigators who managed to reach the Eastern world and connect it to the West and also went as far as the South America. Lisbon tells the story of its multilingual citizens who walk among the unchanged historical buildings and statues, the green parks, the paved, tiny streets, the old city in the castle, the coastline of the Atlantic, the vegan restaurants and the terraces of restaurants of worldwide cuisines and lively bars. Lisbon tells the stories of the street musicians, of Fado music, the traditional song narrating the nostalgia of Portuguese sailors, of its multiple museums.
An American proverb says : ‘Give me the facts and I will learn. Tell me the truth and I will believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever”. Lisbon told me its story which will live in my heart forever. A colorful story full of paintings, music, museum exhibits, ceramics, historical buildings, the traditional 28 tram and the Grandeur of Baixa.
The stories of Lisbon do not finish, and they do not get old or boring. Because Lisbon and its people keep telling their stories, the old ones and the new ones through their ongoing enriched perspective. Researchers, historians, musicians, lovers of art and culture, students, leave their own mark in the city through their interaction with it. Each footstep of each walker in the streets of Lisbon breathes out the lively heart of this city which opens its wide hug and embraces all people coming to listen to its stories. Lisbon listens to the stories that the waves of Atlantic whispers to her and she gathers all of us under the stars of her glorious past narrating the beauty lying in this magic power of this city to incorporate her glorious past into her living present, drawing new stories for her future.
Maria Papamargariti is a Greek and English Philologist, Substitute Teacher in ISL School (Luxembourg) and Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in Luxembourg. She holds a Bachelor in Greek Language and Literature (Philology) and a Bachelor in English Language and Literature, both from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She has published three books in the field of children’s literature, Books publication link. She speaks English, French and Greek. At present, she is completing her Master Studies in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts in the University of Luxembourg.