Rossio Square

Rossio Square (30A)

Just a few metres below the station, you will find the famous “Pedro IV” square, in Portuguese the “Praça Dom Pedro IV”, but otherwise known as “Praça do Rossio”.

This square is and always has been the centre stage of Lisbon’s urban life. Today it remains a meeting point for locals and tourists but in the past was a place which held bullfights, fancy dress balls, political demonstrations, and even public executions during the Inquisition.  

Its union with the square “Praça do Comerço” on the banks of the Tajo, was a principal objective of the Marquis of Pombal’s restoration project in the wake of the terrible 1755 earthquake that destroyed the lower part of Lisbon. The area, designed in a square formation, became a fine example of urban planning throughout Europe. 

Prior to the fatal day of the earthquake, the square was the site of some of the city’s most impressive buildings. Pombal’s reconstruction plan involved the construction of a number of neo-classic buildings, some of which can still be seen today covered by old-fashioned neon advertising lights.

In the middle of the 19th century, the square was paved with mosaics depicting ocean waves. The cut white and grey stone blocks used for this were the first in the city to incorporate this specific design. However, today only a tiny part of the original pavement remains. It is impossible not to pass through this square if you want to be in the centre of Lisbon’s action. 

At the square’s most northerly and southerly points, you will find two functioning baroque fountains, while in the centre stands a marble column supporting a statue of Dom Pedro IV, old king of Portugal and the first sovereign of independent Brazil. 

This bronze statue was erected in 1870, and at its feet there is a plinth which displays four allegoric figures representing justice, wisdom, courage and moderation, qualities all attributed to King Dom Pedro IV.

You will especially enjoy a stroll across this square if you have not yet had time to polish your shoes after a day spent on foot. Flower sellers and shoe-shiners abound the Rossio area carrying on these traditional professions. You will not be disappointed with its charm.

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