Musical Theme: European
As one of the oldest cities in the world, Portugal's capital, Lisbon, has long been a prized trade hub on the Iberian Peninsula. Although Lisbon has existed in one form or another for thousands of years, the city became an integral part of the Roman trade network following their victory over Carthage during the Punic Wars. Growing over the centuries, Lisbon continually expanded as its port became the point of departure for Portuguese vessels sailing throughout the world. During the Age of Discovery in the 15th century, many notable Portuguese explorers set out from Lisbon, including Vasco da Gama, the first to sail from Europe to India.
In 1755, one of the deadliest earthquakes in recorded history, the Great Lisbon Earthquake, rattled the Iberian Peninsula, nearly destroying all of Lisbon. Modern historians estimate that up to 100,000 people may have been killed as a result of the quake, and extensive reconstruction efforts were required to rebuild the crumbling city.
In the present day, Lisbon is home to more than 500,000 residents and serves as one of Portugal's leading centers of commerce and trade. Lisbon is also a popular tourist destination, as the city features numerous examples of historic architecture, along with several famous museums and cultural festivals.