Praça do Comércio: Royal Legacy
The History of Praça do Comércio
The Praça do Comércio, also known as the Commerce Square, is a historic square located in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal. It has a rich history that dates back several centuries, making it a significant landmark in the city.
The Royal Palace of Ribeira
Originally, the Praça do Comércio was the site of the Royal Palace of Ribeira, which was the residence of the Portuguese royal family. It was a grand palace that showcased the opulence and power of the monarchy.
The Great Earthquake and Reconstruction
In 1755, a devastating earthquake struck Lisbon, causing widespread destruction across the city. The Royal Palace of Ribeira was severely damaged and had to be demolished. The square was then redesigned and rebuilt in a more modern and functional style.
Architectural Marvels of Praça do Comércio
Today, Praça do Comércio is known for its stunning architectural marvels that attract tourists from all over the world.
Arco da Rua Augusta
One of the most iconic features of the square is the Arco da Rua Augusta, a triumphal arch that serves as the main entrance to the square. It is adorned with beautiful sculptures and offers breathtaking views of the city.
Statue of King José I
Another notable feature of Praça do Comércio is the statue of King José I, which stands proudly in the center of the square. The statue pays homage to the monarch who played a significant role in the reconstruction of Lisbon after the earthquake.
Cais das Colunas
One of the unique attractions of Praça do Comércio is the Cais das Colunas, which consists of two marble columns that stand at the edge of the square. These columns were once used as a dock for boats and have now become a popular spot for visitors to relax and enjoy the view.
Activities and Attractions at Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio offers a range of activities and attractions that cater to different interests.
Lisbon Story Centre
The Lisbon Story Centre is a multimedia museum located within the square that tells the story of Lisbon’s history through interactive exhibits. It is a great place to learn about the city’s past and gain a deeper understanding of its culture and heritage.
Riverfront and Outdoor Cafés
The square’s riverfront promenade is a popular spot for leisurely strolls and enjoying the scenic views of the Tagus River. There are also several outdoor cafés where visitors can sit back, relax, and savor traditional Portuguese cuisine while soaking in the ambiance of the square.
Events and Celebrations
Praça do Comércio is frequently used as a venue for various events and celebrations. From music concerts to cultural festivals, there is always something happening at the square that adds vibrancy and excitement to the atmosphere.
Guided Tours and Nearby Landmarks
To fully explore the history and significance of Praça do Comércio, guided tours are available for visitors.
Guided Tours for a Deeper Exploration
Guided tours provide a deeper insight into the square’s history, architecture, and cultural significance. Knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories and anecdotes that bring the place to life.
Explore the Presidential Palace
Nearby, visitors can also explore the Presidential Palace, which is the official residence of the President of Portugal. The palace showcases stunning architecture and beautiful gardens, offering a glimpse into the country’s political heritage.
Alfama District: A Step Back in Time
For those looking to immerse themselves in Lisbon’s rich history, a visit to the nearby Alfama district is a must. This historic neighborhood is known for its narrow streets, traditional houses, and ancient churches, providing a step back in time to the city’s medieval past.