This is the most central area of the city of Lisbon, and it has always been its core. It has distinctive areas, with very different urban, topographical and architectural traits. The Baixa (“Downtown”) stands on a flat area, and was reconstructed after the 1755 earthquake according to a very modern, rational plan and presenting the very first anti-earthquake structures. Therefore, it is an example of an ordered, meticulous plan stretched over a flat surface.
From this area and up the hill to the São Jorge Castle, you find the boroughs (“bairros”) of Alfama and Mouraria, which consist of a tight, intricate arrangement of small houses that make up a labyrinthine of pathways all the way to the old Castle overlooking the city.
After the Chiado, the Bairro Alto is another borough of small, intricate streets. It houses modern and avant-garde shops, including fashion designers and at night it is the bohemian spot par excellence in Lisbon, with many bars, pubs, restaurants, Fado houses and clubs with a penchant for alternative music.