Bairro Alto began its history as an expansion of the XVI cent (the first lot division of Vila Nova de Andrade - Bairro Alto in 1513, in the XVI century) of the discoveries city, programmed with its base in a modern urban planning, where the poplars and the aristocrats installed themselves side by side. Bairro Alto has been identified as a typical animation area since the XIX century. With a great liaison with the literary tradition, it attracted the press, and the bohemian life. It also reactivated new meeting places and promoted a new a cultural lifestyle that persists up to now.
A big attraction to all who want to be distracted, and a very animated place with local life, it is the center of most of Lisbon's agitated nocturne life with typical restaurants, bars, fados houses, bookshops, theaters, some of the most creative ateliers, fashion and design stores. With belvederes, turned to the beautiful landscapes of Lisbon city, Bairro Alto takes part today of the historic and typical areas (with perpendicular and straight streets and flower adorned windows) much loved by the Lisbon people.
We have in Bairro Alto some Portuguese baroque monuments with an exuberant decoration, many gold worked ornaments and worked glazed tiles, decorative painting, linked to a big creativity and innovation, and notable examples of the Portuguese art and the religious and civil architecture.
There is a clear difference between the urban planning from the two distinct phases of the urbanization (Vila Nova de Andrade/ Bairro Alto), and between the profile most popular in the south part and the more aristrocatic ambience in the north. Rua da Rosa and Rua do Século were the west limits and were important articulations to the rural tradition. The centers of the urban life were located from Adro de S. Roque to Portas de Santa Catarina and Chiado.
The North Zone (Bairro Alto): Linked from the beginning to the graphic arts sector, which comes from the press to nowdays design. The residents corresponded to social status known as poplars (workmen, artisans and employees), that lived in little houses. Due to a progressive substitution process, this zone has gradually lost place to new modern stores, restaurants, bars and traditional commerce.
The South Zone (Bairro Alto): There you'll find offices mainly. The residents' social composition was relatively differenced; the population was mostly bourgeois and lived in bigger houses (some of them with a Pombalin trace).