Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, may only have a population of roughly half a million people, but it nevertheless belongs to the select-few "Alpha cities", which is a group of only forty metropolises that experts consider most vital for globalization. One criterion for joining the club is, obviously, economic prowess, but geography plays an important role as well. In case of Lisbon, it cannot be denied that its strategic position is extraordinary: It has the perfect location for being a bridge between Europe and Northern Africa, but also it can be seen as Europe's gateway not only to the Americas (Lisbon is the place they reach first!), but actually to the whole world, possibly with the exception of Eastern Europe.

Now, in the age of globalization, Lisbon has a significance it hasn't had since the age of the Portuguese world empire around four or three centuries ago. The people of Lisbon have been very smart in the way they realized that geographic location is not everything, but that business thrives best in an environment of economic freedom and lack of bureaucracy - and that is just what they have created. In the future, it will be well worth it to further keep an eye on the city's development, as it clearly hasn't completely fulfilled its true potential yet. Within the elite club of World Alpha cities, Lisbon is one of the smallest members - and that means that it is still a place of unlimited opportunity and chance.

In the competition with the other Alpha cities, Lisbon has one huge advantage: Its topography. It is set right at the sport where the Tagus river flows into the Atlantic. Long ago, this river created a most wonderful natural bay, which the hills of Lisbon overlook. From there you can also see the open sea - and in every other direction there are mountains or at least notable hills. Lisbon can only be described as idyllic - and in the competition for creative and intelligent people from around the world, and isn't this the most crucial factor for success in business?, this is a tremendous plus. It is certainly "chic" to live in Lisbon these days. The city has a healthy real estate sector, but, like all of Lisbon's economic branches, it hasn't reached its peak yet. Of course, this does make it attractive for investors.

It is not exactly known how old Lisbon is - but it is undisputed that it is one of Europe's oldest cities. In 1755, however, most of Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake that may well have killed up to 100 thousand people. Lisbon was rebuilt as the then most modern city in the world, with wide avenues and lots of open space. This structure is still there, and it gives Lisbon a grandiose and fascinating atmosphere. Only the district of Alfama withstood the forces of nature, and with its small streets that were mostly built on a slope, it is a very enchanting labyrinth and can now be seen as the old town of Lisbon.

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