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The Baixa is the Lisbon area that was rebuilt by Marquês de Pombal after the earthquake of 1 November 1755. The Baixa de Lisboa is the heart of the city of Lisbon, also called the Baixa Pombalina is characterized by the straight and wide streets that were drawn from Rua Augusta and in accordance with the professions that existed at the time, namely shoemakers, gilders and shoemakers. Rua Augusta paved entirely in Portuguese cobblestone, is one of the streets with more street entertainment in Lisbon. In Baixa, it is possible to watch a number of street artists during the day, namely men statues, violin and guitar players and, sometimes, music groups such as the Tunas Académicas and groups of African dancers. In Baixa there are traditional commerce establishments, restaurants with typical Portuguese cuisine, offices of companies from various business areas (banking, finance, jewellers, and others, luxury hotels and hostels, a viewpoint and various cultural spaces, including MUDE ( Museum of Design and Fashion). Baixa is much sought after by architecture aficionados, businessmen, investors, young people, or by tourists discovering the city. Baixa is the best place for those who want to stay in the center of the capital Portuguese and move without the need of your own vehicle.
Structure of this article from Lisbon Baixa:
Downtown Lisbon is limited to the north by Largo do Regedor, to the east by Rua da Madalena, to the south by Rua da Alfândega, to the west by Largo de São Julião and Rua Nova do Almada, it connects Chiado, Avenida da Liberdade and Alfama.
The Baixa is integrated by the Parish Council of Santa Maria Maior.
The Attractions of Downtown Lisbon (top 10)
1. Convento do Carmo: Convento do Carmo is one of the most important buildings in the city of Lisbon dating from the period before the earthquake of 1 November 1755. Convento do Carmo is located in Largo do Carmo – Chiado, integrating the National Archeology Museum since the 19th century, the main façade having been recently restored. The Convent is currently much visited due to the collection of important artefacts from the History of Portugal displayed inside the Museum and because it is an architectural testimony of the earthquake. Convento do Carmo presents the following main collections:
- Roman Epigraphy Collection;
- Collection of Pre-Columbian Ceramics and Mummies;
- Sarcophagus and Egyptian Mummy;
- Tomb of Dom Fernando I (1345-1383);
- Tomb of Queen Maria of Austria from the 18th century;
- Mozarabic stones from the 10th century;
2. Santa Justa Elevator: The Santa Justa Elevator is a funicular elevator located in downtown Lisbon built vertically in a cast iron structure. The main attractions of the elevator are the panoramic view of Lisbon and the structure’s architecture. The Santa Justa Elevator was designed by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard and inaugurated on July 10, 1902.
3. Casa do Alentejo: Casa do Alentejo has been the headquarters of Associação Regionalista Alentejana since 1928. Casa do Alentejo is part of a 19th century palace built by the Viscondes de Alverca family. The palace has had several functions over the years, including the first casino in Lisbon, known as “The Majestic Club”. Casa do Alentejo has a neo-Arab style architecture, having been designed by architect Silva Júnior. Casa do Alentejo is very popular for the following reasons: the beauty of the Salão dos Espelhos and the quality of Alentejo regional food served in the restaurants in the palace.
4. Igreja de São Domingos: The Igreja de São Domingos is one of the most important churches in the city, it is located in Largo de São Domingos, near the Praça Dom Pedro IV, known as the Rossio de Lisboa. The church was the target of two major catastrophes, the earthquake of 1755 and a fire in 1954. The Church of São Domingos stands out due to the large size of the interior, especially the ceiling built in a false barrel vault painted with manganese and ocher. The main highlights are part of Sister Lúcia’s scarf and Jacinta’s rosary used on May 13, 1917, during the Miracle of the Sun and the tomb of Dom João de Castro. The Church of São Domingos was the target of some remarkable events in the History of Portugal, namely:
- the Massacre of the Jews in 1506;
- beginning of the Inquisition’s Autos-de-Fé;
- place of secret meetings of Dom João IV and allies against Spain.
5. Viewpoint of Arco da Rua Augusta: The Viewpoint of Arco da Rua Augusta is a privileged viewpoint over Lisbon, the Tagus River and the Arrábida Natural Park. The Viewpoint is integrated into the Arco da Rua Augusta, it was initially designed in 1759 by Eugénio dos Santos. The Rua Augusta Arch was inaugurated in 1875 with a project by the architect Veríssimo José da Costa. The Rua Augusta Arch is located at the north end of Praça do Comércio, connecting two buildings with Rua Augusta. It is one of the main attractions of Lisbon due to the sculptural set with representations of some of the most important figures in the history of Portugal, namely:
- the statues of Viriato, Vasco da Gama, Dom Nuno Álvares Pereira, Marquês de Pombal,
- the allegorical representations of the Douro and Tagus rivers by Vítor Bastos.
The statues at the top of the arch are allegorical representations representing “Glory crowning Genius and Valor” by the sculptor Anatole Calmels, a Latin inscription meaning “To the Virtues of the Greatest” and a clock inside the arch.
6. Museu da Guarda Nacional Republicana: The Museu da Guarda Nacional Republicana is located in the Carmo Quarter building. The Museu da Guarda Nacional Republicana is located in Largo do Carmo, opened to the public in 2015 with the aim of preserving and disseminating the history of the Guarda Nacional Republicana. The Carmo Barracks was the scene of one of the most important events in the history of Portugal, namely the Carnation Revolution that took place on April 25, 1974. The Museu da Guarda Nacional Republicana collection includes more than two thousand pieces dating from the 14th century to the 21st century, related to the various security forces that existed in Portugal, especially the Municipal Guard, the Lisbon Police Royal Guard and the Republican National Guard.
7. Dona Maria II National Theater: The Dona Maria II National Theater is a historic building, its objectives are to promote theater at a national level, to offer training for actors and technicians and to carry out national and international protocols for the promotion of Portuguese theater. The National Theater Dona Maria II was inaugurated on the birthday of Queen Dona Maria (1819-1853) April 13, 1846. The National Theater reflects the influence of writer Almeida Garrett, responsible for creating the General Inspectorate of National Theaters and Shows and by the Conservatory of Dramatic Art. The Dona Maria II National Theater was built in Praça Dom Pedro IV on the site of the former Palácio dos Estaus, former headquarters of the Inquisition before the earthquake of 1755. The current building of the National Theater was designed by Italian architect Fortunato Lodi. The National Theater was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1964, which led to reconstruction and reopening in 1978. The Dona Maria II National Theater features the main façade in Neoclassical style, the Sala Garrett , the Great Hall and the bookstore, the corridors, the sumptuous main atrium and the Café Garrett.
8. Museum of Money: The Museum of Money is a space where it is possible to observe the historical evolution of money in an interactive way, it aims to disseminate the history of money in the world and in Portugal, is part of the former Church of São Julião, in Largo de São Julião in Baixa Pombalina. The Money Museum is organized into eight spaces, namely:
- Playing Space / What is Money?;
- Space Swap / This is Money;
- Conconvenr Space / The Origin of Currency;
- Represent Space / Treasure Room;
- Narrating Space / Genealogy of Money and Banking;
- Space to Manufacture / Production of Coins and Notes; Illustrate / World Notes;
- Witnessing Space / Man and Money;
- Reveal Space / Site Memory.
The Money Museum features the following highlights:
- Igreja de São Julião;
- Don Dinis’s Wall;
- 12.6 kg gold bar;
- Chinese note: first note from the Orient of the 9th century AD;
- Portuguese of Dom Manuel I: gold coin minted between 1499 and 1521;
- Morabitino de Dom Sancho II: last morabitino coined in Portugal;
- Double of 24 escudos: the biggest and heaviest coin in Portugal weighing 85 grams;
9. Lisboa Story Centre: The Lisboa Story Center is a center for disseminating the history of Lisbon through presentations with virtual reality, it was created as a center for the interpretation of the History of Lisbon. The main objective of the Lisboa Story Center is the dissemination of the History of Lisbon through a multidimensional format with the help of an audio guide for an approximate period of sixty minutes. The Lisboa Story Center is located in Praça do Comércio. The Lisboa Story Center is organized into six main spaces:
- Core 1: Myths and Realities;
- Nucleus 2: Lisbon, Global City;
- Core 3: November 1, 1755;
- Core 4: Pombal’s Vision;
- Nucleus 5: The Square: Politics and Pleasure;
- Nucleus 6: Virtual Lisbon.
10. Museu da Cerveja (Museum of Beer): The Museu da Cerveja is a playful and convivial space around the theme of beer, it was created with the objective of spreading the history of beer in Portugal and in the world. The Museu da Cerveja is located in Praça do Comércio, having been inaugurated in 2012. The Museu da Cerveja offers several cultural and gastronomic spaces, namely the Espaço de Cervejaria. The museum is organized into four main spaces:
- From the beginnings to the beginning of Industrial Production;
- The History of National Producers;
- Beer in Portuguese Speaking Countries;
- The Monastic Winery.
Other places to visit while exploring downtown Lisbon
Lisbon Geography Society: The Lisbon Geography Society is a place where you can learn about the Portuguese expansion and the Portuguese advance into Africa, especially between Angola and Mozambique. The Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa is located in Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, between Praça dos Restauradores and Largo de São Domingos. The Lisbon Geography Society was inaugurated on the 8th of July 1897, on the occasion of the celebration of the fourth centenary of the Discovery of the Maritime Way to India. The Palace where the society and the museum are located was designed by José Luís Monteiro, featuring the following highlights:
- Atrium: Set of six statues representing figures from the Portuguese Discoveries, namely Infante Dom Henrique, Fernão Lopes, Pedro Álvares Cabral, Azurara, João de Barros and Castanheda;
- Partners’ Social Room: large and airy living room that welcomes researchers and partners who attend the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa;
- Library and Library;
- Management meeting room: where you can see oil paintings depicting the various presidents of the society and King Dom Luís;
- Sala Portugal: this is where the Museum is located. The Museum features collections from various regions such as West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, India, China, Japan and Timor;
- Sala Algarve: here we highlight the presence of statues of Vasco da Gama, Infante Dom Henrique and Luís Vaz de Camões. In addition to these statues, it is possible to see the globe that was purposely designed for the 1931 Paris International Exhibition with the design of the routes of Portuguese navigators between 1482 and 1660;
- Sala da Índia: here it is worth mentioning the varied Indo-Portuguese furniture, the oil portraits of King Dom Carlos and Queen Dona Amélia and two terrestrial globes by Vicente Coronelli;
- Patterns Room: emphasis on patterns brought from Africa such as Diogo Cão’s Pattern from 1482;
- Library: the Library of the Lisbon Geography Society is recognized worldwide as essential for the study of the History of the Discoveries and Portuguese Expansion, Geography, History and Ethnography of the Community of the Portuguese-speaking countries. The library opened in 1880, with approximately 66,000 titles.
Café Martinho da Arcada: Café Martinho da Arcada is a historic local restaurant in Lisbon and is popular with locals and tourists due to its location, quality of food and service, and also because of its history. Café Martinho da Arcada is located in Praça do Comércio, opposite the Museu da Cerveja. Café Martinho da Arcada was inaugurated on January 7, 1782 as a liquor and ice shop. The Café Martinho da Arcada belonged to several owners, from the founder Reveiro-Mor of Casa Real Julião Pereira de Castro to the Italian Domenico Mignani who changed the name from “Casa do Gelo” to “Casa de Café Italiana”, Martinho Bartolomeu Rodrigues , changed its name to the current name of “Café Martinho da Arcada” in 1845 and António de Sousa. Café Martinho da Arcada began to gain notoriety among Lisboners due to the constant presence of several writers and intellectuals, namely Fernando Pessoa, Luís Machado, Eduardo Lourenço, Júlio Pomar, Siza Vieira, Amália Rodrigues and Mário Soares. Café Martinho da Arcada is also known for the quality of its cuisine, namely the custard tarts, the Bife à Martinho and the Bacalhau à Martinho.
Igreja da Madalena: The Igreja da Madalena is a church rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755 and currently used in religious ceremonies such as the Procession of Santo António. The church is located in Largo da Madalena, halfway between Baixa and Alfama. The Madalena Church was inaugurated in 1164, the current version being a restoration from 1783. The main highlights are the paintings by Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho (1730-1810) and Machado de Castro (1731-1822) in the interior and the entry portal in Manueline style.
Lisbon Museum: West Tower of Terreiro do Paço: The West Tower of Praça do Comércio is one of the five museum spaces that make up the Museum of Lisbon, namely the Palácio Pimenta, the Roman Theater, the Museum of Santo António and Casa dos Bicos. The Torreão Poente was the place where the Paço da Ribeira was located before the earthquake of 1755. The Torreão Poente is a space where temporary exhibitions related to the History of Lisbon are held
Roman Galleries of Rua da Prata: The Roman Galleries of Rua da Prata are a cryptoportico that extends along the streets of Prata, Conceição and Ouro. The cryptoportico was a physical structure often used by Roman engineering to level the underground and create greater sustainability for buildings built on the surface of ruins. Roman Galleries date from the 1st century AD Galleries were discovered in 1771, after the earthquake of 1755. Galleries have been explored over the centuries, and some myths have emerged, especially one in the 19th century where it was believed that the waters of the Galleries they had healing abilities for the eyes, being known as Rua da Prata Water Preserves. The Galleries can be visited on the Day of Monuments and Sites during the month of April and on the European Heritage Days during the month of September. There are eight Galleries possible to visit, spread over an approximate length of forty meters. The Galleries are composed of several structures, namely:
- Therms dedicated to Scapular, the Roman God of Medicine;
- City water distribution network ;
- Galeria da Nascente.
Church of St. Nicholas: The Church of St. Nicholas was inaugurated in 1280 with a project by Bishop Dom Mateus who consecrated it to St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was born in Turkey in 270 AD. C., being considered the patron of children, sailors and merchants. The current church was built between 1775 and 1850 under the guidance of Reinaldo Manuel dos Santos. The Church of São Nicolau is located on Rua da Vitória, in the heart of Baixa Pombalina. The main highlights are:
- Ceiling paintings by António Manuel da Fonseca representing Joy, Faith, Charity and scenes from the daily life of São Nicolau;
- Four medallions representing the four Evangelists. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John;
- Stations of the Via Sacra 1930 by Salvador Barata Feyo;
- Baptistery that came from the Convent of São Francisco, however destroyed by the earthquake of 1755;
- Organ that came from Convento do Beato in 1835.
Church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória: The first church was built in 1556, integrated in a hospice that was managed by the Hospital de Todos-os-Santos. The current Church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória was inaugurated in 1824. The main highlights are:
- Image of Christ Crucified;
- Stained glass from 1940;
- Chapel-Mor with images of Saint Peter and Saint Anthony;
- Image of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira by José de Almeida;
- Piping organ from 1822 by Machado and Cerveira.
Restaurant Gambrinus: The Gambrinus restaurant is a reference in Lisbon’s gastronomy. Gambrinus was inaugurated on July 14, 1936 at 23 Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, where it still stands. Gambrinus was launched by a German, Hans Schwitalla, and a Galician, Claudino Sobral Portela, with the aim of selling German beer and food. Gambrinus was purchased in 1964 and renovated under the guidance of architect Maurício de Vasconcelos for its current appearance. The interiors are the main highlights due to the unique decoration made with tables and chairs made of wood and Portuguese leather, porcelain pieces from Companhia das Índias, exotic woods, tapestries and stained glass by Sá Nogueira and a granite fireplace. Gambrinus is a luxury restaurant where you can enjoy Portuguese cuisine, namely the Sopa Rica de Peixe, the Empadão de Perdiz and the Arroz de Peixe.
Restaurant Solar dos Presuntos: The Solar dos Presuntos Restaurant is a gastronomic reference in the city of Lisbon, having been inaugurated on the 30th of October 1974. The Solar dos Presuntos is located in Rua das Portas from Santo Antão, close to Avenida da Liberdade, Rossio and Praça dos Restauradores. The restaurant is owned by Evaristo Cardoso, former head of the National Football Team. The restaurant’s main gastronomic highlights are Galician Octopus, Escabeche Lamprey, Oven Roasted Kid, Cod à Gomes de Sá or the Cozido à Portuguesa
Historical Shops in Downtown Lisbon (Top 10)
Confeitaria Nacional: It is a traditional patisserie awarded with the best international distinctions regarding national sweets and original recipes, it was inaugurated in 1829 by Balthazar Ruiz Castanheiro at Praça da Figueira in Lisbon with the aim of being a patisserie of luxury, like the pastry shops that existed in Paris. Confeitaria Nacional is known for the high quality of the sweets and cakes they sell, namely the Pasteis de Nata and the Bolo Rei (traditional cake from the Christmas season). The history of the Confeitaria Nacional is full of curiosities, namely:
- It was the first establishment in Lisbon to have a telephone in 1871;
- He was the cake supplier for the Portuguese Royal House in 1871;
- The first recipe for Bolo Rei in Portugal was imported from Paris by Balthazar Ruiz Castanheiro in 1875;
- He received several international awards, namely at the International Exhibitions in Vienna in 1873 and in Philadelphia in 1878;
- Received the diploma of Centenary House of the Commercial Association of Lisbon in 1940, given by the former President of the Republic Marshal Carmona;
- Confeitaria Nacional: is currently official supplier to the Presidency of the Republic.
Manteigaria Silva: Manteigaria Silva is a reference store in Lisbon due to its more than 100 years of existence and the quality of its products. Manteigaria Silva’s first store was opened near Largo de São Domingos and Praça da Figueira. Manteigaria Silva currently offers the products in four stores, namely the Loja Histórica da Baixa de Lisboa, the Mercado da Ribeira store, the Bairro do Avillez restaurant in the Chiado and at the Vela Latina cafe in Belém. Manteigaria Silva was inaugurated in 1890, being one of the twenty-four butters in Lisbon. Manteigaria Silva was initially launched under the name Bacalhoaria Silva and in 1922 changed to the current name due to the fact that butter is associated with an expensive product and only accessible to the wealthier classes in the city. Butter was expensive because it came from the Azores and was sold by weight in small packages. Manteigaria Silva currently has several products, including cheeses, hams, cod, sausages, wines, spirits, preserves and nuts.
Chapelaria Azevedo: Chapelaria Azevedo is one of the historic shops that are part of the cultural characteristics of the city of Lisbon. Chapelaria Azevedo is the oldest hat shop in Portugal, having been opened in 1886 by Aquino de Azevedo. Chapelaria Azevedo is located in Praça Dom Pedro IV, Rossio de Lisboa. The store sells hats of all kinds, including the Panama Hat, the Portuguese Hat or the Coconut Hat.
A Ginginha: Ginginha was the first store in Lisbon to sell the Ginja drink. Ginjinha is located in Largo de São Domingos, inaugurated in 1840 by the Galician Espinheira. As of this year, Ginjinha Espinheira has become one of the most successful liquor stores in Lisbon. Sour cherries are produced in Arruda dos Vinhos, approximately forty kilometers from Lisbon. The production of sour cherries is around one hundred and fifty thousand liters per year. Cherry is a liqueur made with sugar, sour cherry, brandy and cinnamon stick. Sour cherries are synonymous with sour cherry and may have come from the Caspian Sea or the Black Sea to the Iberian Peninsula during the Roman occupation. In Portugal, it was used for medicinal purposes during the 15th century. Sour cherries are produced in various regions of the country, namely in Fundão, Covilhã, Belmonte, Portalegre, Alenquer, Bombarral, Óbidos or Alcobaça
Café Nicola: Café Nicola is one of the best known and frequented places by Portuguese intellectuals and writers since its inauguration in 1779. Café Nicola is located in Praça Dom Pedro IV. Café Nicola was a frequented place by illustrious people of Portuguese society, namely the writer Bocage (1765-1805) and historical events such as having been a meeting point for English, American or German spies during the Second World War (1939- 1945). Café Nicola is also a coffee producer, exporting to several countries around the world. The main highlights are the paintings by Fernando Santos representing Bocage and the Art Deco architecture by Raúl Tojal
Conserveira de Lisboa: Conserveira de Lisboa is a traditional store that sells preserves. Conserveira de Lisboa is located on Rua dos Bacalhoeiros. Conserveira de Lisboa was inaugurated in 1930 under the name of Conserveira do Minho, and only in 1942 did it become known as Conserveira de Lisboa. Conserveira de Lisboa remained faithful to Indústria Conserveira, an important industry in Portugal during the 1960s and 1970s, with the maintenance of three historical brands, namely Tricana, Prata do Mar and Minor. Preserved offerings include tuna mousse, smoked octopus, mackerel with garlic and parsley or stuffed squid. Conserveira de Lisboa also offers Kasutera a Japanese product in honey and green tea version.
Hospital das Bonecas: The Hospital das Bonecas is a workshop for repairing dolls to the smallest detail, in operation since 1830, inaugurated by Dona Carlota in Praça da Figueira, considered one of the last doll hospitals in the world. Hospital das Dolls was for many years the only hospital for dolls in Europe. The Hospital das Bonecas is a space composed of a store, a “hospital” and a museum. Inside the store we can find a set of dolls ready to be retrieved by the owners or sold as repaired dolls. The Doll Hospital museum features more than 3500 different types of dolls.
João do Grão Restaurant: The João do Grão Restaurant is a restaurant known for having the best cod with chickpea in the country. The João do Grão Restaurant is located in Rua dos Correeiros, close to Praça da Figueira and Praça Dom Pedro IV. João do Grão was inaugurated over two hundred years ago by the Galician João do Grão and was open 24 hours a day. João do Grão deserves a visit for fans of Portuguese cuisine, namely for the cod and Portuguese stew.
A Ginjinha Sem Rival: Ginjinha Sem Rival is one of the oldest and most famous sour cherry stores in the city of Lisbon. Ginja Sem Rival is located on Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, close to Praça dos Restauradores. Ginjinha Sem Rival was inaugurated by João Lourenço Cima in 1890, grandfather of the current owners, and registered under patent in 1909. Ginjinha Sem Rival is part of a small Art Deco shop, still maintaining the original layout. Ginja Sem Rival has some curiosities, namely:
- The founder of the store will have worked initially at Ginja da Espinheira, however, he decided to open a ginja store in front of Espinheira due to a breach of his old boss;
- One of the best known brands of Ginja Sem Rival is Eduardino, in honor of a frequent customer of the store who regularly worked as a clown at the Coliseum;
- The building where the store is located was owned by the Portuguese actor Vasco Santana;
- Singer Amália Rodrigues was regularly seen selling lemons to Ginjinha Sem Rival.
Tobacco Shop Mónaco: Tabacaria Mónaco is a historic place in Lisbon where you can buy newspapers, magazines, tobacco or cigars. The Tabacaria Monaco is located in Praça Dom Pedro IV, next to Café Nicola. The Tabacaria Mónaco was the place where personalities such as Eça de Queirós, Fialho de Almeida, António França Borges or Bernardino Machado went to buy tobacco or newspapers. The Tobacco Shop Monaco was inaugurated in 1875 by João Cruz, having received the nickname of Chapel of Saint John the Baptist of Cigars. The name Tabacaria do Monaco was named after Prince Albert I of Monaco, who visited Lisbon in the 19th century. The Tabacaria Mónaco is worth a visit for being a historic space, for the interior decoration by Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro and for the paintings by António Ramalho.
Other Historic Stores in Downtown Lisbon
- Archique Chic
- Jewelry Ferreira Marques
- Au Petit Peintre
- Buttuller House
- Casa Forra
- Casa Macário
- Casa Pereira da Conceição
- São Domingos Drugstore
- A Montez Central Shotgun
- Normal Pharmacy
- Guest Hardware
- Free Recorder
- Jewelry Ferreira Marques
- Ginjinha Ruby
- A Peasant Dairy
- Golden Lion
- London Hall
- Manuel Tavares
- Sarmento Goldsmith
- First House of the Flags
- Pearl of Rossio
- Tivoli Kiosk
- João do Grão Restaurant
- Retrosaria Bijou
- Lord Shoe Shop
- Soares & Rebellion
- Tobacco Shop Monaco
- Jomil optics
The main streets and squares of downtown Lisbon
Rua Augusta: Rua Augusta is the central street of Baixa de Lisboa. Rua Augusta was built after the 1755 Earthquake, connecting Praça Dom Pedro IV and Praça do Comércio, where the equestrian statue of King Dom José I is located. Rua Augusta was the place where there were shops selling silk
- Rua do Comércio: former Rua Nova d’El Rey
- Rua da Prata: former Rua Bella da Rainha
- Rua dos Fanqueiros: former Rua Nova da Princesa
- Rua dos Douradores
- Rua dos Correeiros
- Rua dos Sapateiros
- Rua de São Julião
- Rua da Conceição
- Rua de São Nicolau
- Victoria Street
- Rua da Assunção
- Rua de Santa Justa
Praça do Comércio: Praça do Comércio, designated as Terreiro do Paço before the 1755 earthquake, is the largest and most important square in the city of Lisbon. Praça do Comércio was designed by Eugénio dos Santos and Carlos Mardel. Praça do Comércio has a rectangular plan distributed over three U-shaped wings to the north and open to the Tagus River to the south over approximately 36 thousand square meters. The main highlights of the Praça do Comércio are the two square towers, the Rua Augusta Arch, the Cais das Colunas, the Equestrian Statue of Dom José I by the sculptor Machado de Castro and the various restaurants and museums surrounding the square.
Largo do Carmo: Largo do Carmo is one of the best known squares in the city of Lisbon due to the existence of two buildings: the Convento do Carmo and the Museu da Republican Guard. Largo do Carmo owes its name to the Convento do Carmo and the Church of Nossa Senhora do Vencimento do Monte do Carmo from the late 14th century. Largo do Carmo had the largest church in Lisbon until the earthquake of 1755. Largo do Carmo is worth a visit due to the Convento do Carmo and the presence of terraces, restaurants, as it is the access point to the Santa Justa Elevator. It is in Largo do Carmo that we find the historic store Ginjinha do Carmo
Praça Dom Pedro IV: Praça Dom Pedro IV is known as the “Rossio de Lisboa”, a central and wide space in the city where the population lives and walks. It is common for rossios to exist in several cities throughout the country, such as Évora or Aveiro. Rossios are generally central spaces and the place where local markets operate. Rossio is first referred to in 1419 as a bordering and open space in the city of Lisbon. Rossio was the scene of several events throughout history, namely the Autos-de-Fé da Inquisition where the punished were burned in bonfires. The current name of Praça Dom Pedro IV was designated by decree of October 31, 1836. The Praça Dom Pedro IV has several attractions, especially the two water sources, the Monument in Homage to King Dom Pedro IV, the Rossio Station, The Dona Maria II National Theater, shops, restaurants and the pavement with designs produced in Portuguese cobblestone. Rossio connects several streets and squares, namely:
- Restaurant Square
- Rua da Betesga: considered the smallest street in the country
- Rua Augusta
- Largo de São Domingos
- Rua dos Sapateiros
- Rua Áurea, or Rua do Ouro
- Calçada do Carmo
- Rua do Amparo
- December First Street
- Praça da Figueira
Praça da Figueira: Praça da Figueira is one of the great squares in Lisbon and links Martim Moniz to Praça Dom Pedro IV. Praça da Figueira owes its name to having been the main open-air market. Praça da Figueira had several names, namely Horta do Hospital, Praça das Ervas or Praça Nova. Praça da Figueira is highlighted by the Equestrian Statue of Dom João I, designed by the architect José Segurado and inaugurated on December 30, 1971, the gastronomic and craft fair that takes place regularly, the Confeitaria Nacional, the Hospital das Bonecas the stop of the historic and symbolic Tram 28. Praça da Figueira was the site of the Hospital Real de Todos-os-Santos, considered the largest hospital in the country until it collapsed due to the 1755 earthquake. Praça da Figueira was one of the first places in the country in 1834 to have public lighting. Between 1885 and 1949 there was an open-air market managed by the Praça da Figueira Market Company. During the first half of the 20th century it was the place in the city where the Festa dos Santos Populares was held.
Municipality Square: Praça do Município is the location of the headquarters of the Municipality of Lisbon. Praça do Munícipio connects Rua do Arsenal and Largo de São Julião. Praça do Município was called Largo do Pelourinho due to the existence of Pelourinho in the center of the square. The Pillory symbolizes the presence of the municipal authority in the locality, being normally the place where the Senate and the houses of residence of the senators were located. Praça do Município acquired its current name on March 24, 1886. The highlights of Praça do Município are the Museu do Dinheiro and the Lisbon City Council building, inaugurated in 1875 with a project of Domingos Relative da Silva.
<h2Fairs, Festivals and Pilgrimages in downtown Lisbon
- Terreiro do Paço Crafts Fair: held weekly at Terreiro do Paço
- Opening of the Underground Roman Galleries: open annually in September
- Lisbon Fashion: held annually in March and October
- Lisbon Week: held annually in September
Tourism Developments in Downtown Lisbon
- Browns Boutique Hotel
- Lisbon Carmo Hotel
- Lisbon Hostel – Praça do Comércio, Small Luxury Hotel
- The Boutique Hotels Figueira
- The Seven Hotel
Transport and access to downtown Lisbon
Downtown has the following transport available:
- Lisbon trams (Trams): Numbers 15, 28 and 25
- Lisbon Metropolitan :
- Low Chiado
- Terreiro do Paço
Car parks near downtown Lisbon:
- Park of Praça da Figueira
- Park of Praça do Município
- Restaurant Park
History of Downtown Lisbon
The Baixa de Lisboa gained importance after the Earthquake of November 1, 1755. This earthquake was one of the largest ever in world history at 8.5 magnitude on the Richter scale and was responsible for the destruction of great part of the Portuguese capital, having destroyed approximately one tenth of the houses in Lisbon (some figures speak of 3,000 houses out of a total of 20,000) and led to the death of more than 10,000 people. Baixa Pombalina was built with the objective of having straight, wide and wide streets organized from Rua Augusta. The main driver of the changes in the city was Marquês de Pombal, who chose Eugénio dos Santos (author of the project) and Carlos Mardel to design the new Lisbon downtown. Baixa is one of the first urban projects in Europe with anti-seismic buildings and the first domestic sewage system in the country. The main driver of changes in the city was Marquês de Pombal. The center of Baixa gained ground from the Vale Pereiro and Arroios streams. After construction, the Baixa Pombalina de Lisboa was the inspiration for the construction of other cities, namely the Algarve city of Vila Real de Santo António, also known as the Cidade do Marquês.
Lisbon was a medieval city until the earthquake of 1 November 1755, with curvilinear and disorganized streets, alleys and buildings made almost entirely of wood. Lisbon was built without an urban plan according to the needs of the residents. Lisbon was a labyrinthine and disorganized city. Downtown Lisbon was no exception. Lisbon had little improvement in the urban plan until 1755, namely the construction of Rua Nova dos Ferros during the reign of Dom Dinis (1261-1325), where the city’s merchants settled and became the most important street in the Portuguese capital, with the construction from the Cerca Fernandina in 1375 that surrounded the entire city with a wall during the reign of Dom Fernando I (1345-1383), the construction of Terreiro do Paço, today Praça do Comércio, construction of the Casa da Índia , Ribeira das Naus, the Market and the Casa da Alfândega during the 16th century and the widening of the Rua dos Ourives da Prata due to the increase in coach traffic in 1680.
Video of Queen Isabel II visiting Lisbon in 1957
The architectural project that gave rise to downtown Lisbon
Marquês de Pombal brought together a team of specialists comprising the main engineer of the Kingdom Manuel da Maia, Colonel Carlos Mardel and Captain Eugénio dos Santos to rebuild Lisbon’s downtown. Five projects were proposed for the reconstruction of the Baixa, namely two that advocated the reconstruction of medieval and disorganized Lisbon, the construction of Lisbon elsewhere, the construction of a city practically unchanged but with lower buildings and wider streets, another the total destruction the area hit by the earthquake and the construction of a new and organized city in the area of Belém. King Dom José I and Marquês de Pombal opted for project number five by Eugénio dos Santos, which included the total reconstruction of Downtown. That is how the Baixa Pombalina, highly organized, beautiful and grandiose, emerged, with an octagonal grid of parallel and perpendicular streets, in which the main streets converge in Praça do Comércio, a wide square whose communication with the rest of downtown would be made by the river through the triumphal arch that crowned Rua Augusta, symbol of the supreme and sacred power.
Downtown Hierarchy, Innovations names and why’s?
Baixa Pombalina was built in a hierarchical way with main, secondary and alleyways and three types of buildings, namely:
- A, the one with the richest facades;
- B, facades poorer than the first but richer than the last;
- C, which presents the poorest facades.
Baixa was rebuilt with an urban grid of eight vertical streets in the south-north direction and nine octagonal streets in the east-west direction, the squares of Rossio and Terreiro do Paço, renamed Praça do Comércio. The most important streets were named after the professions that existed there, namely Rua do Ouro, Rua dos Sapateiros and Rua dos Fanqueiros, the secondary streets were named after saints, especially Rua de Santa Justa and Rua de São Nicolau and the main street, Rua Augusta was built to honor the august figure of the King Dom Joseph I
The Pombalina Cage was another of the project’s innovations and was the first anti-seismic system in Europe
The Pombalina cage was an innovative European reconstruction technique used in downtown Lisbon, it consisted of a flexible wooden structure, built inside the walls of the buildings that caused a malleable oscillation that would not break in case of a new earthquake, the adoption of roofs in style. Germanic brick on top of the roofs in the form of “attic”, the standardization in construction that allowed the construction of many elements of the buildings to be carried out outside the city of Lisbon, and the serial production of some elements, such as the balustrades and the tile panels, the construction of arches on the lower floor to ensure the solidity of the building, the existence of wooden stakes to help keep the building on the most unstable terrains in the area and the transformation of Praça do Comércio into a government area , commerce and administration. Lisbon became the first modern city in the West after the earthquake of 1 November 1755.