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Chiado and Bairro Alto
West of the Baixa is the fashionable shopping district of Chiado. A decade after the calamitous 1988 fire destroyed much of the area, an ambitious rebuilding program restored some fin de siècle facades. And a chic retail complex on the site of the old Armazéns do Chiado—once Lisbon's largest department store—has given the district a modern focus.
Uphill, the Bairro Alto dates back to the 17th century, but most of its buildings are from the 18th and 19th: an appealing mixture of old grocery stores, art galleries, and town houses with wrought-iron balconies. In the daytime, children scuffle amid drying laundry, and old men clog the doorways of bars; at night the area's restaurants, discos, and fado clubs come to life. The neighborhood has always been seen as rather rough-and-ready, and there are alleys where it would be unwise to venture after dark, but on the whole it's safe to walk around this remarkably compact but fascinating area.
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