Lisbon can be an odd choice for tourists. While its origins predate most of the other European capital cities (including London, Rome, and Paris), there is little in the way of historical sites and attractions. While it was once one of the largest cities in Europe and the starting point for many of the Portuguese expeditions during the Age of Discovery, almost no buildings or artifacts remain from that time. This is due to a series of earthquakes (eight in the 14th century, five in the 16th century, and three in the 17th century) that cost widespread destruction and damage. The Lisbon 1531 earthquake destroyed over 1,500 homes while three city streets simply disappeared in the 1597 earthquake. But in reality, Lisbon divides its history into two periods: before the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and after it.