The Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. Its name comes from the Arabic Al-hamma, meaning “hot fountains” or “baths”. The district includes the freguesias (parishes) of São Miguel, Santo Estêvão, São Vicente de Fora and part of the two streets, “Freguesia da Sé: Rua do Barão” and “Rua São João da Praça”. It contains many important historical attractions, as well as an abundance of Fado bars and restaurants.
Overlooking the Alfama is the mediaeval Castle of São Jorge, royal residence until the early 16th century and now offering the best views of the city. In the slopes of Alfama there are other terraces (miradouros) from which to see the city, like the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, near the church of the same name and over remnants of the Moorish city walls, and the Miradouro das Portas do Sol (Gates of the Sun). Near Miradouro of Santa Luzia is located the Museum of Decorative Arts (Museu de Artes Decorativas), a 17th-century mansion with magnificent interiors.
Among the churches of the Alfama are Lisbon Cathedral (12th–14th centuries), the oldest of the city and located to the West of the neighbourhood, the Convent of the Grace (Convento da Graça, 18th century), near the Castle, the mannerist Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (late 16th–18th century), where the Kings of the House of Braganza are buried, and the baroque Church of Santa Engrácia (17th century), now converted into a National Pantheon for important Portuguese personalities.