The museum of freedom and resistance – Aljube

Aljube Museum of Freedom in LisbonPhoto © Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

The Museu do Albuje / Aljube Museum used to be a prison, located right next to Lisbon’s Sé Cathedral, and since April 25 2015 it became Lisbon’s museum of freedom and resistance, by evoking the dark years of the Portuguese authoritarian dictatorship, known as Estado Novo.

This austere building has been functioning as a prison since the 8th century but it became famous for the wrong reasons during Estado Novo (1926 – April 25 1974), when it was transformed into a sometimes overcrowded house of horrors, where political prisoners were tortured, convicted without a trial, and in some cases murdered.

Nevertheless, you will not find there any shocking pictures, artifacts or even appalling objects.

The Aljube Museum of Freedom main mission is to keep the collective memory alive and to inform about what happened in Portugal during a big part of the 20th century, as a way of preserving freedom and democracy, and they do that by providing an historical, social and political context, alongside with many factual objects, as newspapers front pages, photos, statistical data or some testimonies.

Above all, the museum collection leaves room for reflection and for you to come up with your own conclusions.

The space is divided into several floors, inviting the visitors to learn about the rise and fall of fascism, what was like to live in Portugal between 1890 and 1976, the persecution of people by the regime, how did the arrests happen, what were the methods used to interrogate the prisoners and what was life in prisons like, namely at the Albuje (on the second floor you will be able to see a replica of the tiny cells where the prisoners were held – the real ones were destroyed by the fascist regime, in a naive attempt to erase what happened there).

Besides the permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Aljube Museum also promotes regular talks, where people, many times people that belonged to the resistance and survived the regime persecution, talk about the fight for freedom.

 

Museu do Aljube – Aljube Museum 

> Rua de Augusto Rosa, 42

> Ticket price: 3€

> Open everyday, except Monday and national holidays, from 10.00 to 18:00

> Insider tip: the last floor, design to have a cafeteria that is, for the time being, closed has a spectacular view over Sé Cathedral and some of Lisbon’s rooftops so make sure you go up there. This space is also know for being the stage of one of the few prisoner escapes that took place at Aljube, when it was still a prison.

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