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Lisbon Portugal
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Lisbon, Portugal

January 18, 2006
Twenty years separate these two Landsat thematic mapper images of the city of Lisbon , Portugal. They clearly highlight the growth that the city underwent during the 1980s by allowing a comparison between the 2004 image on the right and the 1984 image on the left.

The name of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, comes from “Olissipo”, which has its origins in the Phoenician words “Allis Ubbo”, meaning enchanting port.

It lies on the north bank of the Tagus Estuary, on the European Atlantic coast. It nestles against the seven hills of Castelo, Graça, Monte, Penha de França, S. Pedro de Alcântara, Santa Catarina, Estrela.

The Rio Tejo is the largest river on the Iberian Pennisula. The source of the Tagus is the Fuente de García in the Albarracín Mountains and it ends in the Atlantic Ocean by Lisbon. Its delta is partially inverted and forms a large lagoon. Comparing the two images, there is evidence of increased sedimentation in the 2004 image.

The comparison of the images shows the expansion of the city of Lisbon to its highly rural outskirts, overtaking the wide, highly productive basalt plains as well as alluvial areas. In the last one hundred years, Lisbon has experienced a ten-fold population growth and the demand for housing has nearly outstripped demand.

To curb this trend, the Portuguese government has created protected areas. The development of these areas can be traced by comparing the two images. In the 2004 image, you can see the Tejo Estuary where you can find the Tejo Estuary Nature Reserve. This area has developed in the last 20 years. As can be seen from the image, it currently corresponds to an inner delta, with wide alluvial spaces, reed beds and salt marshes.

In the 2004 image, you can see a white line which runs across the Tagus River. This is the Ponte Vasco de Gamma which was built in 1988.

The Ponte Vasco de Gamma leads to the Parque das Nações (former World Expo 98 site which is the bright white area to the left of the bridge) which is situated to the northeast of the city center.

The Parque Florestal de Monsanto - The Monsanto Woodland Park - can be seen as the large, green circular area to the north of the center.

The large green area which is situated 28 kilometers northwest of Lisbon is Sintra. It is situated on the northern slopes of the Serra de Sintra. The area is verdant and its vegetation and spectacular mountaintop views promoted the early Iberians to call the ridge the Mountain of the Moon and made it a center of cult worship (some of its strange effects are actually caused by massive deposits of iron ore).

Technical Information:
  • Satellite: Landsat
  • Instrument: Thematic Mapper
  • Acquisition: 07-Aug-1984
  • Center coordinates: lat. 38.71, lon. -9.13


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