Plazas and squares, Lisbon
Lisbon's walls are full of graffiti, but there are quite a few corners in the city where the graffiti is more than just unreadable tags and "ACAB" messages. One of them is the Escadinhas de São Cristovão, a small passage connecting Rua da Madalena and Largo São Cristovão. On the walls you can find images of fado, Portugal's music export no.1, as well as lots of images that are typical for Lisbon. My favourite are the two gossiping grannies. When I passed the graffito a young guy was just telling the story of the graffito to his group, and he said that gossiping grannies are so typical for Lisbon that you can see them at pretty much every corner. He proposed shouting a codeword once the first granny was spotted by the group, and immediately after the group had left I heard one of them shouting the codeword! The graffito shows this typical situation quite ironically: one of the grannies has her cat by her side while the other is knitting and on the quiet telling the newest gossip about somebody else. A little crown above their heads symbolizes both the fact that they are the real queens of Lisbon and their halo. Just next to that graffito is another slightly bigger one with lots of sad-looking people singing the fado.
Until 1974 Carmo was only a touristy place, with its beauty and not many references. In April's revolution it was the surrendering place to the government, since then becoming a reference to freedom.
Still beautiful as before, or... even more!
Praça do Comércio is near the Tagus river, and is still commonly known as Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square), because it was the location of the Paços da Ribeira (Royal Ribeira Palace) until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon Earthquake.
Other squares include Marquess of Pombal Square which doesn't seem that square to me because it is a very big garden in a median. In the middle of the roundabout there is a large column dedicated to Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquess of Pombal, 1st Count of Oeiras
Restauradores Square isn't a square of restaurants, but is dedicated to the restoration of the independence of Portugal in 1640, after 60 years of Spanish domination. The obelisk in the middle of the square, inaugurated in 1886, carries the names and dates of the battles fought during the Portuguese Restoration War, in 1640
Remolares Square has a statue the sculptor José Simões de Almeida in memory of the Duke of Terceira, who commanded the wars in liberal constitutional troops, Following the 1755 earthquake, the area was rebuilt with new urban design, which was then referred to as the new Pombal square
Praça da Figueira (Square of the Fig Tree) is a large square in the center of Lisbon. The equestrian statue representing King John I (1357-1433), was not there when we made the tour in 1964 as it was not installed until 1971.
Cais do Sodré is a ugly square that most visitors need to use, either to take to train to Cascais or the tram to Belém. If it happens to you having some time in the area, forget the square and the river, and go across the avenue. The old Ribeira market keeps the beauty of its secular look, and is now a smart area of cultural events, gastronomy and crafts market.
The small gardens west of it are also beautiful.
Largo do Chiado is a very small spot, ever busy due to the metro entrance. The adjacent café terrasses makes it very cosy.
In the center is a statue of the 16th century poet Antonio Ribeiro, a.k.a. Chiado.
Praça do Rossio is an impressive and famous square in the centre of Lisbon. Its official name is actually Praça de Dom Pedro IV, named after Portugal's first liberal king – and there is a 23 meter high marble pillar with a bronze statue of Dom Pedro IV in the centre of the square. However, the more common name for the square is just Rossio, the Portuguese name for any large square.
Rossio is a quite lively place with locals doing their daily activities and tourists strolling across the square. Besides the monument of Pedro IV, there are two fountains, the cobblestones in wave patterns, and some beautiful surrounding buildings; for instance the Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II (from the 1840s) on the northern side.
Edward VII Park is Lisbon's Central Park.
You can get there going up from Marquês Pombal Square, and at the top of it you have a wonderful sight over the city.
On sunny and not too windy days a big Portugal flag is raised.
While climbing the park to the top you will find a big garden at the center, many benchs at both sides to take a rest and two estufas: the hothouse (with the more exotic plants) and the greenhouse ("Estufa Fria") filled with tropical plants, ponds, and endless varieties of palms and cacti.
It is a nice and mandatory walk if you're going to Lisbon. See the view from the top of the park, have a lunch at one of the benchs and... be happy!
Rossio Square is the new Center of Lisbon. It has benn built by Marquês de Pombal, (a portuguese minister) after the eathquake of 1755.
All the Lisbon downtown is full of Maçonic elements related the myth of the 5º empire, a spiritual empire.
In the center of the square there is a statue of D. Pedro IV looking forward to the Portuguese Arc of Thiumph, he is waiting for the emperor of the 5º empire.
At the base of the statue there are 4 more statues - Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. - Spades represents the justice.
- Hearts represents devotion so it is looking to Igreja de São Domingos (a church).
- Diamonds represents the future and the good luck, it is looking to Estação do Rossio (train station) where it is a statue of D. Sebastião (a young portuguese king who gone missing, the legend says he will return is a fog day to claim the 5º empire).
- The last one is Clubs (check photos), witch is looking to Convento do Carmo and Quartel do Carmo, it represents the force of Lisbon.
Above this 4 statues there are the Tágides (portugueses Nynphas) protecting D. Pedro IV.
While Rossio and the Praça do Comércio may impress with their size, and the latter at least with its grandeur, the Praça da Figueira is on an altogether more human scale. The name translates as “Square of the Fig Tree” but there are no trees to be seen – just the imposing figure of King John I astride his bronze horse and looking along Rua de la Prata towards the river Tagus. Around the edge are cafés, shops and other buildings in a harmonious style.
But it wasn’t always like this. Prior to the 175 earthquake a hospital stood on this site, the Hospital Real de Todos os Santos or All Saints Royal Hospital. After the earthquake it was found to be too badly damaged to be retained and was demolished. The square was left open for a while, home to a large market, and then in the late 19th century a covered market was built here. This was in turn demolished, in 1949, and since then the square has been an open space.
A small unpretentious café on its north side, the Casa das Bifanas, has been the location for several post-match drinking sessions for our group of friends travelling to support Newcastle in Lisbon.
A small garden adjacent to Empire square, in Belém, facing the presidential palace, has in its centre a Neo-Manueline monument built in 1902, topped with the statue of Afonso de Albuquerque, a famous governor of India.
A very beautiful square, with a high column topped by Pombal and a lion, is the main hub for transport in central Lisbon, and a mandatory visit to any foreigner.
Adjacent to it Edouard VII park deserves a visit, and it is a good starting point to stroll down to the centre. Do not miss the monument, where several artists represented the reforms made by Pombal in almost all cultural and economic sectors.
Jose I was the king when Lisbon suffered the earthquake. Shadowed by the great work of Pombal, José had, however a very hard work, creating educational em economical institutions to adapt Portugal to the Industrial revolution going on in Europe, while facing several wars with Spain and France.
It's fair, his statue in the middle of the central square, Praça do Comércio, created by Machado de Castro, nowadays the oldest statue in Lisbon.
The Portuguese cobblestone pavement is famous, enhanced by the used of contrasting colours in well elaborated drawings (black basalt in calcareous pavements). It may be seen in Lisbon almost everywhere, in some places with real artistic results.
Praça do Comércio was one of the places, but, wit successive modifications, it may change almost each day.
The main avenue in Lisbon descends from "Marquês de Pombal" square, to Restauradores, another square with an obelisk in its centre.
That's the monumento to celebrate the recuperation of nationality, in 1640, after 60 years of Spanish sovereignty.
Today it is the favorite place to all legal and illegal nationalist events.
Adjacent to Rossio, the main square, and maybe because of that, this square was neglected until not many years ago.
In Pombal's project it was the main market of the city, being demolished in the mid of 20th century.
Only by the end of the dictatorship the square received some investment and after being embellished with king João II's statue, now it shares with Rossio its Metro station and most of the commercial activity.