Amora, an urban village



With one arm leaning in the open window the old grandfather spends his lonely hours with looking around. Social controle as a daily routine. A few windows higher on the left side an overweighted housewive puts the laundry on a washing line outside. A mild breeze blows and the colourful line of laundry is dancing in the wind as if the building is celebrating it’s birthday. Life goes slow and the living is easy.

Amora is a small village inbetween Seixal and Almada at the peninsula Sétubal. It is surrounded with hilly landscapes of ancient trees and located ten kilometers from the longest coastline of the region. The old village is blessed with a beautiful view on the river Tagus and the skyline of Lisbon, but is like many other small villages swallowed by Lisbon’s urbanization. The historical centre, with it’s white fisherhouses, has a big backyard fully built with monotone blocks of concrete. Old trees and ruins of quintas give a friendly touch to the awkward environment of cheap construction that quickly arose after the Carnation Revolution of 1974.

On the other side of the street loud music is playing. Breakbeats fill the street accompanied with fat tuga – Portuguese slang. On the walls are some graffiti and in the corner of the street wanders around a lost plastic bottle searching for a new destination. In the morning people greet each other in the pastelaria, where locals drink their bica(espresso) before going to work, while others drink their wake-up moscatel, a sweet Portuguese wine. In the afternoon around lunch time the smoke of grilled sardinhas can be smelled everywhere in the village. Fresh fish straight from the barbeques that are exposed in the corners of the street. At night neighbours meet again in the supermercado, where they have a little chit, while they do their daily shopping.

Across the parks next to the river is a second hand shop. Descent dresses and retro fourniture for just for a couple of euro’s. A dark haired girl chews on her bubblegum, while she is waiting for visitors. A couple of streets away is a cultural house. Here young people learn breakdancing, while the elder sing their Fado’sduring singing classes. Just once a year Amora is crowded when the local Communist Party organize Festival Avante in September. This festival attract thousands of people from all around Portugal and Europe. There is music, food and performance three days long. Only then you can expect lines of cars on the roads which are normally almost empty.

Amora, a post-colonial meltingpot where the old rural life meets the urban generation: a wonderful hub with people from all around the world just fourty minutes from Lisbon on the other side of the river Tagus. Take a ferry to Seixal and from there a bus to Amora and look around in this eccentric urban village.



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