The museum is in a former prison
This museum occupies a building that was originally an ecclesiastical prison, later converted into an archbishops palace in the 1500s. It survived the 1755 earthquake, and was once again turned into a prison, this time for women.
Everything is explained in Portuguese and English
Starting in 1928, it was where political prisoners were interrogated and tortured by the political police, lasting until 1965. Among its thousands of prisoners were personalities that would become influential politicians and intellectuals, such as Miguel Torga and Álvaro Cunhal, and Mário Soares, who went on to become Prime Minister and President of Portugal.
The museum covers much of Portugal's social and political life in the 20th century
The museum takes you back to the building’s early origins through archaeological remains, while the permanent exhibition (spread over three floors) is dedicated to the memory of the fight against dictatorship and the struggle for freedom and democracy. It recalls the history of Portugal from between 1890 and 1976, and presents examples of censorship in the media and in artistic expression.
The tiny, claustrophobic prison cells are part of the museum
The third floor is dedicated to the fight for independence of the colonies and to the colonial war. There’s also space for temporary exhibitions, a documentation center, an auditorium, a shop and a café on the 4th floor with a beautiful view over the cathedral and the river.
View over the cathedral from the museum's café
How to Get to Aljube Museum
Trams 12 and 28 stop nearby, as does bus 737 that goes from Praça da Figueira to the castle. It’s also just a 5-to-10-minute walk from downtown, heading up the hill towards the cathedral, following the tram tracks.
You may ride the trams and the bus (and the city’s metro, funiculars, and trains) for free with the Lisboa Card.
Admission and Tickets to Aljube Museum
Admission to the Aljube Museum is €3.00. It’s free for Portugal residents on Sundays until 2pm (must show proof of address). It’s not included in the Lisboa Card.
It's closed on Mondays
The cathedral is across the street, facing the Church of St. Anthony. Continue up the hill, following the tram tracks, and you reach the viewpoints of Santa Luzia and Portas do Sol and the Decorative Arts Museum. The castle is also a short walk from there.