Lisbon is build on 7 hills. Brussels, Rome, Lisbon, Edinburgh, Istanbul and Amman share the same topographic characteristic, they are capital cities said to be build on 7 hills. In 2005, in pre-MovingCities-times, I started mixing these cities together in theory and presented in the context of the UIA2005-congress (Istanbul) the 7-project as a visual interpretation of cities built on the apocalyptic topography of seven hills. All equal in topography, all resembling and differing from the other. 7 is a mythical-critical interpretation of the image of these cities, broadens, resurrects and focuses on the accidental encounter between apocalypse, hill and metropolis.
The 7-paper I presented at the congress explores this idea through investigating and exploring the relations between mythology and the metropolis, topography and iconography, Roland Barthes, Kevin Lynch, Aldo Rossi and D.H. Lawrence:
This paper explores the reinforcing quality and quantity of architecture and urbanism through organizations, shapes, volumes and directions. In a changing world we forget the city’s image, form and geography. This image reads an identity, structure, and meaning. This paper, a mixture of intuition and ratio, focusses on an intriguing aspect of urbanity, the skeleton on which cities used to get form and organization, namely topography. Especially when it is mixed with power, ideology, and myth; when this topography announces the end of times, as is the case in the here discussed cities, cities all built expressing the utopian underground onto which myth can be constructed. That is the myth of the city with the seven heads or hills. Where does this myth comes from? I quote: ‘The woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. … Here is the mind which hath wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth.’ This quote comes out of the Bible, more precisely from Revelation 17:18,9.
The names of Lisbons 7 hills, or colinas, are Colina de São Jorge, Colina de São Vicente, Colina de Sant’Ana, Colina de Santo André, Colina das Chagas, Colina de Santa Catarina, Colina de São Roque. Last week we strolled in between the hills and captured the city from atop of Miradouro da (Nossa) Senhora do Monte and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.
Pictures by Mónica Carriço & Bert de Muynck | movingcities.org