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Lisbon downtown (Baixa)
Baixa is the area of Lisbon that was rebuilt by Marquês de Pombal after the Earthquake of 1 November 1755. Baixa de Lisboa is the heart of the city of Lisbon, also called Baixa Pombalina, it is characterized by the straight and wide streets that were drawn from Rua Augusta and according to the professions that existed at the time, namely shoemakers, gilders and brokers. Rua Augusta, all paved in portuguese pavement, is one of the most lively streets in Lisbon. In Baixa, it is possible to watch a series of street artists during the day, namely men statues, violin and guitar players and sometimes music groups such as Tunas Académicas and groups of African dancers. In Baixa there are establishments of traditional commerce, restaurants with typical Portuguese cuisine, offices of companies from various business areas (banking, finance, jewelers, and others, hotels and luxury hostels, a viewpoint and various cultural spaces, namely the MUDE (Museum of Design and Fashion). Baixa is very popular with architecture aficionados, businessmen, investors, young people, or tourists discovering the city. Baixa is the ideal place for those who want to stay in the center of the capital and move around without the need for a car.
Baixa de Lisboa 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 to Rua Nova do Almada, making the connection between Chiado, Avenida da Liberdade and Alfama.
The Baixa is integrated by the Parish Council of Santa Maria Maior.
The Attractions of Baixa de Lisboa (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 November 1, 1755. Convento do Carmo is located in Largo do Carmo – Chiado, part of the National Archeology Museum since the 19th century, the main façade having recently been restored. The Convent is currently very visited due to the collection of important artifacts from the History of Portugal exposed inside the Museum and because it is an architectural testimony of the earthquake. The Convento do Carmo presents the following main collections:
- Collection of Roman Epigraphy;
- Collection of Pre-Colombian Ceramics and Mummies;
- Sarcophagus and Egyptian Mummy;
- Tomb of Dom Fernando I (1345-1383);
- Tomb of Queen Dona Maria of Austria from the 18th century;
- Mozarabic stones of the 10th century;
2. Elevador de Santa Justa: The Elevador de Santa Justa 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 over Lisbon and the architecture of the structure. The Santa Justa Lift was designed by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard and opened on July 10, 1902.
3. Casa do Alentejo: Casa do Alentejo has been the headquarters of the Alentejo Regionalist Association since 1928. Casa do Alentejo is part of a 19th century palace built by the family of Viscounts of Alverca. The palace has had several functions over the years, namely that of Lisbon’s first casino, known as “The Majestic Club”. Casa do Alentejo has a neo-Arab style architecture, having been designed by the architect Silva Júnior. Casa do Alentejo is very popular due to the following reasons: the beauty of the Hall of Mirrors and the quality of Alentejo’s regional food served in the palace’s existing restaurants.
4. Igreja de São Domingos: The São Domingos Church is one of the most important churches in the city, located in Largo de São Domingos, near Praça Dom Pedro IV, known as Rossio de Lisboa. The church was the target of two major catastrophes, the 1755 earthquake 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 Autos-de-Fé;
- place of secret meetings of Dom João IV and allies against Spain.
5. Arco da Rua Augusta viewpoint: The Arco da Rua Augusta viewpoint is a privileged point of view over Lisbon, the Tagus River and the Arrábida Natural Park. The viewpoint is integrated in the Arco da Rua Augusta, was initially designed in 1759 by Eugénio dos Santos. The Rua Augusta Arch was opened in 1875 with a project by the architect Veríssimo José da Costa. The Rua Augusta Arch is located at the north top of Praça do Comércio, connecting to Rua Augusta and the union of two buildings. It is one of the main attractions of Lisbon due to the sculptural ensemble 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, Marquis of Pombal,
- allegorical representations of the Douro and Tejo rivers by Vítor Bastos.
The statues at the top of the arch are allegorical representations that represent “The Glory crowning the Genius and the Value” by the sculptor Anatole Calmels, an inscription in Latin that means “To the Virtues of the Largest” and a clock inside the arch.
6. Museum of the Republican National Guard: The Museum of the Republican National Guard is integrated in the building of the Quartel do Carmo. The Museum of the Republican National Guard is located in Largo do Carmo , was opened to the public in 2015 with the aim of preserving and disseminating the history of the Republican National Guard. 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 on April 25, 1974. The collection of the Museu da Guarda Nacional Republicana includes more than two thousand pieces dating from the 14th to the 21st century, related to the various security forces that existed in Portugal, especially the Municipal Guard, Royal Guard of the Lisbon Police and National Republican Guard.
7. Dona Maria II National Theater: The Dona Maria II National Theater is a historic building, aims to promote the theater at national level, offer training for actors and technicians and conduct protocols national and international events to promote 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 the writer Almeida Garrett, responsible for the creation of the General Inspection 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 Estaus Palace, former headquarters of the Inquisition before the 1755 Earthquake. 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 the reconstruction and reopening in 1978. The National Theater Dona Maria II presents as main highlights the main facade in Neoclassical style, the Sala Garrett, the Noble Hall and the bookstore, the corridors, the lavish main lobby and the Café Garrett.
8. Museu do Dinheiro: The Museu do Dinheiro 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, it is integrated in the old Church of São Julião, in Largo de São Julião in Baixa Pombalina. The Money Museum is organized into eight spaces, namely:
- Tocar Space / What is Money ?;
- Change space / This is Money;
- Conventional Space / The Origin of the Currency;
- Representar Space / Treasury Room;
- Narrar Space / Genealogy of Money and Banking;
- Space Manufacturing / Production of Coins and Banknotes; Illustrate / World Notes;
- Witness space / Man and Money;
- Reveal Space / Site Memory.
The Money Museum has the following highlights:
- Church of São Julião;
- Wall of Dom Dinis;
- 12.6 kg gold bar;
- Chinese banknote: first note of the 9th century AD;
- Portuguese by Dom Manuel I: gold coin minted between 1499 and 1521;
- Morabitino by Dom Sancho II: last Morabitino coined in Portugal;
- Twenty-four escudos: Portugal’s largest and heaviest coin weighing 85 grams;
9. Lisboa Story Center: The Lisboa Story Center is a center for the dissemination of the history of Lisbon through virtual reality presentations, it was created as a center for interpreting the History of Lisbon. The Lisbon Story Center has as main objective the dissemination of the History of Lisbon in a multidimensional format with the help of an audio guide for an approximate period of sixty minutes. Lisboa Story Center is located at Praça do Comércio. The Lisboa Story Center is organized into six main spaces:
- Core 1: Myths and Realities
- Core 2: Lisbon, Global City
- Core 3: November 1, 1755
- Nucleus 4: The Vision of Pombal
- Core 5: The Square: Politics and Pleasure
- Core 6: Lisboa Virtual
10. Beer Museum (Museu da Cerveja): The Beer Museum is a playful and convivial space around the theme of beer, it was created with the aim of spreading the history of beer in Portugal and in the World. The Beer Museum is located in Praça do Comércio, having been opened in 2012. The Beer Museum offers several cultural and gastronomic spaces, namely the Brewery Space. The museum is organized into four main spaces:
- From the beginning to the beginning of Industrial Production;
- The History of National Producers;
- Beer in Portuguese Speaking Countries;
- The Monastic Cellar.
Other places to visit while exploring Baixa de Lisboa
Lisbon Geographical Society: The Lisbon Geographical Society is a place where you can learn about Portuguese Expansion and Portuguese advancement in the interior of Africa, especially between Angola and Mozambique . The Lisbon Geographical Society is located on Portas de Santo Antão Street, between Praça dos Restauradores and Largo de São Domingos. The Lisbon Geographical Society was inaugurated on July 8, 1897, when the fourth centenary of the Discovery of the Maritime Path to India was celebrated. The Palace where the society and the museum are located was designed by José Luís Monteiro, presenting 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;
- Members’ Lounge: large and airy living room that welcomes researchers and members who attend the Lisbon Geographical Society;
- Library and Cartoteca;
- Board meeting room: where you can see pictures painted in oil depicting the various presidents of the company and King Dom Luís;
- Sala Portugal: 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 by Vasco da Gama, Infante Dom Henrique and Luís Vaz de Camões. In addition to these statues, it is possible to observe 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;
- Standards Room: highlighting the patterns brought from Africa like the Diogo Cão Pattern from 1482;
- Library: a Library of the Lisbon Geographical Society is recognized worldwide as essential for the study of the History of the Portuguese Discoveries and Expansion, Geography, History and Ethnography of the Community of Countries Portuguese language. The library was opened in 1880, with approximately 66 thousand titles.
Café Martinho da Arcada: Café Martinho da Arcada is a historic local restaurant in Lisbon and very frequented by locals and tourists due to its location, quality of food and service, and also for its history. Café Martinho da Arcada is located in Praça do Comércio, in front of the Beer Museum. Café Martinho da Arcada was opened on January 7, 1782 as a liquor and ice shop. Café Martinho da Arcada belonged to several owners, from the founder the Reveiro-Mor of Casa Real Julião Pereira de Castro and 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 designation “Café Martinho da Arcada” in 1845 and António de Sousa. Café Martinho da Arcada started 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 or Mário Soares. Café Martinho da Arcada is also known for the quality of its gastronomy, namely pastéis de nata, Bife à Martinho and Bacalhau à Martinho.
Madalena Church: The Madalena Church is a church rebuilt after the 1755 Earthquake and currently used in religious ceremonies such as the Santo António Procession. 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 1783 restoration. The main highlights are the paintings by Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho (1730-1810) and Machado de Castro (1731-1822) in the interior and the Manueline-style entrance portal.
Lisbon Museum: Torreão Poente do Terreiro do Paço: The Torreão Poente da Praça do Comércio is one of the five museum spaces that make up the Lisbon Museum, namely the Pimenta Palace, the Roman Theater, the Santo António and Casa dos Bicos. Torreão Poente was the place where Paço da Ribeira was located before the 1755 Earthquake. Torreão Poente is a space where temporary exhibitions related to the History of Lisbon are held
Roman Galleries on Rua da Prata: The Roman Galleries on Rua da Prata are a cryptocortico extending through the streets of Prata, Conceição and Ouro. The cryptopórtico was a physical structure widely used by Roman engineering to level the subsoil and create greater sustainability for buildings built on the surface of ruins. The Roman Galleries date from the 1st century AD The Galleries were discovered in 1771, after the 1755 Earthquake. The Galleries have been explored over the centuries, with some myths emerging, especially one in the 19th century when the waters of the Galleries were believed had healing abilities for the eyes, being known as Water Conserves of Rua da Prata. The Galleries can be visited on Day of Monuments and Sites during the month of April and at the European Journeys of the Heritage during September. There are eight galleries that can be visited, spread over an approximate length of forty meters. The Galleries are composed of several structures, namely:
- Spas dedicated to Scapular, the Roman God of Medicine;
- Water distribution network throughout the city;
- Source Gallery.
Church of São Nicolau: The Church of São Nicolau was inaugurated in 1280 with a project by Bishop Dom Mateus who consecrated it to Saint Nicholas. Saint 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 that represent 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 Way of the Cross from 1930 by Salvador Barata Feyo
- Baptistery that came from the Convent of São Francisco, meanwhile destroyed by the 1755 Earthquake
- 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 Church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória today was inaugurated in 1824. The main highlights are:
- Image of Christ Crucified;
- Stained glass from 1940;
- Main Chapel with images of São Pedro and Santo António;
- Image of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira by José de Almeida;
- 1822 pipe organ by Machado and Cerveira.
Gambrinus Restaurant: The Gambrinus restaurant is a reference point for Lisbon’s gastronomy. Gambrinus was inaugurated on July 14, 1936 at number 23 of Portas de Santo Antão street, where it is still located. Gambrinus was launched by a German, Hans Schwitalla, and by a Galician, Claudino Sobral Portela, with the aim of selling beer and German food. Gambrinus was purchased in 1964 and renovated under the guidance of the architect Maurício de Vasconcelos to the current aspect. 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 the Companhia das Índias, exotic woods, tapestries and stained glass windows by Sá Nogueira and a granite fireplace. Gambrinus is a luxury restaurant where you can enjoy Portuguese cuisine, namely the Sopa Rica de Peixe, Empadão de Perdiz and Arroz de Peixe.
Restaurante Solar dos Presuntos: Restaurante Solar dos Presuntos is a gastronomic reference in the city of Lisbon, having opened on October 30, 1974. Solar dos Presuntos is located on Rua das Portas Santo Antão, near Avenida da Liberdade, Rossio and Praça dos Restauradores. The restaurant’s owner is Evaristo Cardoso, former head of the National Football Team. The restaurant has as main gastronomic highlights, namely Polvo à Galega, Lamprey de Escabeche, Roast Kid in the Oven, Codfish in Gomes de Sá or Cozido à Portuguesa
Historic Shops in Downtown Lisbon (Top 10)
Confeitaria Nacional: It is a traditional pastry awarded with the best international distinctions regarding national sweets and original recipes, opened in 1829 by Balthazar Ruiz Castanheiro in Praça da Figueira in Lisbon with the aim of being a pastry shop luxury, like the pastries that existed in Paris. The National Confectionery is known for the great quality of the sweets and cakes they sell, namely Pasteis de Nata and Bolo Rei (traditional cake of the season at Christmas). The history of Confeitaria Nacional is full of curiosities, namely:
- It was the first establishment in Lisbon to have a telephone in 1871;
- Was the cake supplier for Casa Real Portuguesa 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;
- He received the diploma of Casa Centenária from the Commercial Association of Lisbon in 1940 delivered by the former President of the Republic Marechal Carmona;
- The National Confectionery: is currently the official supplier of 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. The first Manteigaria Silva store was opened near Largo de São Domingos and Praça da Figueira. Manteigaria Silva currently makes its products available in four stores, namely at the Loja Histórico da Baixa de Lisboa, at the Loja da Mercado da Ribeira, at the Bairro do Avillez restaurant in Chiado ( www) and the Vela Latina cafe in Belém. Manteigaria Silva was opened in 1890, being one of the twenty-four butcher shops in Lisbon. Manteigaria Silva was initially launched under the name Bacalhoaria Silva* and in 1922 changed to its current designation due to the fact that butter is associated as an expensive product and only accessible to the wealthiest classes in the city. Butter was expensive because it came from the Azores and was sold by weight in small packages. Manteigaria Silva currently presents several products, namely cheeses, hams, cod, sausages, wines, spirits, preserves and dried fruits.
Chapelaria (Headgear) Azevedo: Chapelaria Azevedo is one of the historic stores that are part of the cultural characterization 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, namely the Panama Hat, the Portuguese Hat or the Top Hat.
Ginginha: Ginginha was the first store in Lisbon to sell the Ginja drink. Ginjinha is located in Largo de São Domingos, opened in 1840 by the Galician Espinheira. As of this year, Ginjinha Espinheira has become one of the most successful liquor stores in Lisbon. The sour cherry is produced in Arruda dos Vinhos, approximately forty kilometers from Lisbon. The production of sour cherry is around one hundred and fifty thousand liters per year. Cherry is a liqueur made with sugar, cherry, brandy and cinnamon stick. Sour cherry is synonymous with sour cherry and is said to 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. The sour cherry is produced in several 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 place very frequented by distinguished people from 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 World War II (1939- 1945). Café Nicola is also a coffee producer, exporting to several countries in 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 at Rua dos Bacalhoeiros. Conserveira de Lisboa was inaugurated in 1930 under the name Conserveira do Minho, and it was only in 1942 that it became 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 historic brands, namely Tricana, Prata do Mar and Minor. Canned food offers include tuna mousse, smoked octopus, horse mackerel with garlic and parsley or stuffed squid. Conserveira de Lisboa also offers Kasutera, a Japanese product in honey and green tea version.
Dolls Hospital (Hospital das Bonecas): Hospital das Bonecas is a doll repair shop to the smallest detail, in operation since 1830, opened by Dona Carlota in Praça da Figueira, considered one of the last doll hospitals in the world. Hospital das Bonecas was for many years the only doll hospital in Europe. The Hospital das Bonecas is a space composed of a store, a “hospital” and a museum. Inside the store we can have a set of dolls ready to be recovered by the owners or sold as repaired dolls. The Hospital das Bonecas museum features over 3500 different types of dolls.
João do Grão Restaurant: Restaurante João do Grão is a restaurant known for having the best cod with grain in the country. Restaurante João do Grão is located on Rua dos Correeiros , near Praça da Figueira and Praça Dom Pedro IV. João do Grão was opened more than two hundred years ago by Galician João do Grão and was open 24 hours a day. The João do Grão deserves a visit for fans of Portuguese gastronomy, namely for cod and Portuguese stew.
Ginjinha Sem Rival: Ginjinha Sem Rival is one of the oldest and most famous cherry shops 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, the grandfather of the current owners, and registered in patent in 1909. Ginjinha Sem Rival is integrated in a small store in Art Deco, maintaining today the original layout. Ginja Sem Rival has some curiosities, namely:
- The store’s founder initially worked at Ginja da Espinheira, however he decided to open a cherry shop in front of Espinheira due to disagreements with the old boss;
- One of the Ginja Sem Rival most well-known brands is Eduardino, in honor of a frequent shopper who regularly acted as a clown at the Colosseum;
- The building where the store is located was owned by the Portuguese actor Vasco Santana;
- The singer Amália Rodrigues was seen regularly selling lemons to Ginjinha Sem Rival.
Tabacaria Mónaco: Tabacaria Mónaco is a historic place in Lisbon where you can buy newspapers, magazines, tobacco or cigars. Tabacaria Mónaco is located in Praça Dom Pedro IV, next to Café Nicola. Tabacaria Mónaco was the place where personalities like Eça de Queirós, Fialho de Almeida, António França Borges or Bernardino Machado went to buy tobacco or newspapers. The Tabacaria Mónaco was inaugurated in 1875 by João Cruz, having received the nickname Chapel of São João Batista dos Cigars. The name Tabacaria do Mónaco appeared as a tribute to Prince Alberto I of Monaco, who visited Lisbon in the century XIX. The Tabacaria Mónaco deserves a visit for being a historic space, for the decoration of the interior responsibility of Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro and for the paintings by António Ramalho.
Other Historic Shops in Downtown Lisbon
- Arqui Chique
- Joalharia Ferreira Marques
- Au Petit Peintre
- Casa Buttuller
- Casa Forra
- Casa Macário
- Casa Pereira da Conceição
- Drogaria de São Domingos
- Espingardaria Central A Montez
- Farmácia Normal
- Ferragens Guedes
- Franco Gravador
- Joalharia Ferreira Marques
- Ginjinha Rubi
- Leitaria A Camponesa
- Leão d’Ouro
- Londres Salão
- Manuel Tavares
- Ourivesaria Sarmento
- Primeira Casa das Bandeiras
- Pérola do Rossio
- Quiosque Tivoli
- Restaurante João do Grão
- Retrosaria Bijou
- Sapataria Lord
- Soares & Rebelo
- Tabacaria Mónaco
- Óptica Jomil
Main streets and squares in downtown Lisbon
Rua Augusta: a Rua Augusta is the central street of Baixa de Lisboa. Rua Augusta was built after the 1755 Earthquake, establishing the link between 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: old Rua Nova d’El Rey
- Rua da Prata: old Bella da Rainha Street
- Rua dos Fanqueiros: old Rua Nova da Princesa
- Rua dos Douradores
- Rua dos Correeiros
- Rua dos Sapateiros
- Rua de São Julião
- Rua da Conceição
- Rua de São Nicolau
- Rua da Vitória
- Rua da Assunção
- Rua de Santa Justa
Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio): Praça do Comércio, named 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 spread 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 Praça do Comércio are the two square-shaped turrets, the Arco da Rua Augusta, the Cais das Colunas, the Equestrian Statue of Dom José I by the sculptor Machado de Castro and the various restaurants and museums that surround 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 Guarda Republicana. Largo do Carmo owes its name to the existence of the Convento do Carmo and the Church of Nossa Senhora do Vencimento do Monte do Carmo at the end of the century XIV. Largo do Carmo had the largest church in Lisbon until the 1755 Earthquake. Largo do Carmo deserves 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 people live and walk. It is common for Rossios to exist in several cities throughout the country, such as Évora or Aveiro. Rossios are usually central spaces and the place where local markets operate. Rossio appears referred to for the first time in 1419 as a space bordering and open to the city of Lisbon. Rossio was the scene of several events throughout history, namely the Autos-de-Fé da Inquisição where the punished were burned at the stake. The current name of Praça Dom Pedro IV was designated by decree of 31 October 1836. Praça Dom Pedro IV has several attractions, especially the two water sources, the Monument of Homage to King Dom Pedro IV, the Rossio Station, The Dona Maria II National Theater, shops, restaurants and the floor with drawings produced in Portuguese sidewalk. Rossio connects several streets and squares, namely:
- Restauradores Square
- Rua da Betesga: considered the smallest street in the country
- Rua Augusta
- Largo de São Domingos
- Rua dos Sapateiros
- Rua Áurea ou do Ouro
- Calçada do Carmo
- Rua do Amparo
- Rua Primeiro de Dezembro
- Praça da Figueira
Praça da Figueira (Figueira Square): Praça da Figueira is one of the biggest squares in Lisbon and connects 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 by the architect José Segurado and inaugurated on December 30, 1971, the gastronomic and artisanal fair that is held regularly, the Confeitaria Nacional, the Hospital das Bonecas the historical and symbolic tram stop 28. Praça da Figueira was the site of the Royal Hospital of Todos-os-Santos, considered the largest hospital in the country until it collapsed due to the 1755 earthquake. Praça da Figueira it 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 Companhia do Mercado at Praça da Figueira. During the first half of the twentieth century, it was the location of the city where the Festa dos Santos Populares was held.
Praça do Município (Town Hall Square): Praça do Município is the location of the headquarters of the City Council of Lisbon. Praça do Munícipio connects Rua do Arsenal and Largo of São Julião. Praça do Município was called Largo do Pelourinho due to the existence of Pelourinho in the center of the square. Pelourinho 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. 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 Hall building, opened in 1875 with a project by Domingos Relative of Silva.
Fairs, Parties and Pilgrimages in Baixa de Lisboa
- Terreiro do Paço Craft Fair: held weekly in Terreiro do Paço
- Opening of the Underground Roman Galleries: open annually in September
- Moda Lisboa: held annually in March and October
- Lisbon Week: held annually in September
Tourist developments in downtown Lisbon
- Browns Boutique Hotel
- Lisboa Carmo Hotel
- Pousada de Lisboa – Praça do Comércio, Small Luxury Hotel
- The Boutique Hotels Figueira
- The Seven Hotel
Transport and access to downtown Lisbon
Baixa has the following transportation available:
- Lisbon Trams: Numbers 15, 28 and 25
- *Metropolitano de Lisboa:
- Terreiro do Paço
Car Parks near Baixa de Lisboa:
- Park of Praça da Figueira
- Praça do Município Park
- Park two Restauradores
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 with an 8.5 magnitude of the Richter scale and was responsible for the destruction of much of of the Portuguese capital, having destroyed approximately one tenth of Lisbon’s dwellings (some numbers 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 changes in the city was Marquês de Pombal who chose Eugénio dos Santos (author of the project) and Carlos Mardel to design the new Baixa de Lisboa. Baixa is one of the first urban planning projects in Europe with anti-seismic buildings and with the country’s first domestic sewerage network. The main driver of changes in the city was Marquês de Pombal. The downtown area gained ground on the Vale Pereiro and Arroios streams. After construction, Baixa Pombalina de Lisboa served as inspiration for the construction of other cities, namely the Algarve city of Vila Real de Santo António, also known as the City of the Marquis.
Lisbon was a medieval city until the Earthquake of November 1, 1755, with curvy and disorganized streets, alleys and buildings built mostly of wood. Lisbon was built without an urban plan according to the needs of the residents. Lisbon was a labyrinthine and disorganized city. Baixa de Lisboa was no exception. Lisbon had few improvements 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 down and became the most important street in the Portuguese capital, with the construction da Cerca Fernandina in 1375 that surrounded the entire city from a wall during the reign of Dom Fernando I (1345-1383), the construction of Terreiro do Paço, current Praça do Comércio, construction of Casa da Índia, the Ribeira das Naus, the Market and the Casa da Alfândega during the 16th century and the widening of Rua dos Ourives da Prata due to the increased traffic of coaches in 1680.
Video of Queen Isabel II visiting Lisbon in 1957
The architectural project that gave rise to Baixa de Lisboa
Marquês de Pombal brought together a team of specialists composed of the chief engineer of the Kingdom Manuel da Maia, Colonel Carlos Mardel and Captain Eugénio dos Santos to rebuild the Baixa de Lisboa. Five projects were proposed for the reconstruction of Baixa, namely two that defended 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 of the area affected 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 Baixa. This is how the highly organized, beautiful and grand Baixa Pombaline emerged, with an octagonal grid of parallel and perpendicular roads, in which the main streets converge on Praça do Comércio, a wide square whose communication with the rest of the downtown area would be made by the river through the triumphal arch that crowned Rua Augusta, symbol of the supreme and sacred power.
Baixa hierarchy, names Innovations and why’s?
Baixa Pombalina was built hierarchically with main, secondary and cross streets and three types of buildings, namely:
- A, which has the richest facades;
- B, façades 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 a south-north direction and nine octagonal streets in an east-west direction, the Rossio and Terreiro do Paço squares, 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 Main Street, Rua Augusta, was built to honor the august figure of King Dom José I.
The Gombola Pombaline was another of the project’s innovations and was the Europe’s first seismic system.
The Pombaline Cage consisted of an innovative European reconstruction technique used in Baixa de Lisboa, consisting of a flexible wooden structure, built inside the walls of the buildings that originated a malleable oscillation that would not break in the event of a new earthquake, the adoption of roofs in style Germanic brick on top of 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 series production of some elements, such as balustrades and the tile panels, the construction of arches on the lower floor in order to ensure the solidity of the building, the existence of wooden stakes to help keep the building on the most unstable grounds in the area and the transformation of Praça do Comércio into a government zone , commerce and administration. Lisbon became the first modern city in the West after the earthquake of 1 November 1755.
Location of the Parish of Santa Maria Maior (Baixa de Lisboa) on the map of Lisbon
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