The capital of Portugal, Lisbon is situated at the mouth of the River Tagus on the Atlantic coast. The metropolitan area covers around 2,750km² and has a population of 2.1 million people. A financial centre and seaport, it is the wealthiest region in Portugal. Its economy is dominated by the service sector, which is led by trade, real estate and construction. The coastline provides two busy container ports, at Lisbon and nearby Setúbal, and a series of marinas.
Other service industries include software, telecommunications, logistics, finance and tourism. Lisbon is home to a relatively high concentration of universities, public research laboratories and other R&D facilities. The number of R&D staff hired by companies more than doubled between 2005 and 2009, while spending on R&D more than tripled over the same period, from €256 million to €829 million. Nevertheless, the Lisbon region still retains a significant manufacturing industry, with some 12,000 companies and 117,000 employees. The leading fields are food, automotive, non-metallic minerals and machinery and equipment repairs.
The old centre makes Lisbon a popular tourist destination. It has two distinctive architectural styles—the elaborate 16th-century of the Belém district and the elegant 18th century downtown, built after the Great Earthquake of 1755. Its major landmark, the Belém Tower, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the city is also popular as a venue for international conferences and congresses. Lisbon airport handled 16 million passengers in 2013.
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