Francisco ChacónSEGUIRCorresponsal in Lisbon Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *
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Lisbon it is the city of the world with the highest rate of bookstores per square meter, according to the list released by the specialized website The World Index.
His classification places the Portuguese capital in a fairly prominent position at the head of this important measure, which throws more of a surprise. So, Lisbon has 41,6 libraries per 100,000 inhabitants, the scale that serves as a reference.
In the second place, it is Melbourne , with a volume from 33.9 and in the third position stands Buenos Aires thanks to its to 22.6. The Top 5 is complete with Hong-Kong (17,8) and… Madrid , over Rome for five points and stood at 15.7 overall.
then, Toronto (12,4) and Tokyo (12,2) above to the glamorous Paris, which now occupies the ninth rank with 10.2 in front of New York and its a 9.4.
Just a simple walk by this Lisbon, which comes out of the landfill, with some concern at the rise in cases of coronavirus in the municipalities of the periphery as Seixal or Almada (located at only few minutes by ferry), to verify that not only it is easy to feel the presence of the spirit of Fernando Pessoa for those corners but the statue of Camoes traps us in the center of the plaza that separates the Chiado, the bairro Alto, just a few metres away from another statue dedicated to a guardian also essential to the soul lusa: the figure that reminds Eça de Queiroz there where was inspired to write ‘The capital’.
Lisbon oozes the literature from which one puts one foot in the middle of its seven hills, as is happening in these viewpoints that invite you to sit on a bench to read to José Luis Peixoto to Gonçalo M. Tavares to Dulce Maria Cardoso to Lídia Jorge to Ines Pedrosa and, of course, mr. Antonio Lobo Antunes, that is how he is referred to by the Portuguese, incredulous at how the Swedish Academy denied the Nobel Prize to the author of “Memory of elephant” or “Knowledge of hell”. So that continues to be José Saramago the only writer in language lusitana in obtaining the award, that magnificent day in 1998, three years after surprising all and sundry with “Essay on blindness”, effective unquestionable in these times of pandemic.
The oldest bookshop on the planet, Bertrand , is in Lisbon since 1732. First in its original location in the Baixa, and after the devastating earthquake of 1755, in its current location on Rua Garrett. Always with the commitment to the readers by the flag, standing during all these centuries, with the exception of the recent temporary closure to prevent possible infection, a prelude to reopening its doors in the framework of the new phase, which was decided by the Portuguese Government.
Better said, Bertrand is the chain of bookstores leader in Portugal, with premises scattered throughout the country, including paths openings in the capital of the island of Madeira, Funchal, and the other in Ponta Delgada, one of the three capitals official of the archipelago of the Azores, next to Horta and Angra do Heroísmo.
Also located in Lisbon, the library is the smallest in the world, Simao , with its meager four square meters in the Escadinhas de Sao Cristovao, at the intersection of the Rua Madalena and the neighborhood of the Mouraria, birthplace of fado.
let us also Not forget that the recognized as one of the libraries most beautiful in the five continents, Rsi Wander (Read Slowly), are settled in this city lyrics: back in LX Factory, a commercial complex postmodern in the area of Alcántara, under the iconic 25th of April Bridge, his new home since he left the Barrio Alto.
Also, it is a real pleasure to flick through old copies until 12 of the night in the Library Sá da Costa , only a few steps beyond the seminal Bertrand. There, on the slopes cobblestoned Chiado, it was common to see in his day the very Pessoa, letting himself be seen through the streets, nostalgic of a Lisbon that forever marked his melancholy because his parents moved to south Africa.
Try not to be photographed beside the statue that pays tribute to the author of the ” Book of disquiet “, to the side of the Café A Brasileira. It is an impossible mission: take a cream pie while deployed to a book on the terraces ‘coolest’ of Lisbon.