Reviving the most dramatic episode of Lisbon’s History
On the 22nd of August our Portuguese language school did a tour about the catastrophe of 1755. Our students learnt that on the 1st of November of 1755 Lisbon was affected with an earthquake and a seaquake. Besides that, the fires that lasted five days damaged what was left. These disasters destroyed a huge part of Lisbon.
We started the tour in Praça do Comércio. This was the political centre of the city and the most affected area. The Royal Palace as well as the Opera, inaugurated months before the tragedy, were completely ruined. In that time, Lisbon had probably 200 000 people. It is estimated that the victims of this disaster were between 20 000 to 50 000. Many people were buried in the Tejo River, which was used as a graveyard to prevent plagues.
The so called “Baixa Pombalina” is the result of the urbanistic plans of the Marquis of Pombal. He was the responsible to give a new life to Lisbon with the most innovated anti seismic technology. All the buildings were built with the pioneer gaiola pombalina. It was made of wood, to make the walls resistant but also flexible.
After Praça do Comércio we went to the Santíssimo Sacramento Church that was also ruined in that day. Fifteen years ago the Church went through constructions and the workers found a skeleton of one victim of the earthquake. Then, we went to Carmo’s Convent. Built in the 14th century it was also turned into ruins in 1755. It was decided to leave it like that in memory of the victims.
We ended perfectly the tour in a terrace surrounded by beer and good people!
You can take a look at our photos and join us next time!
Chronicle of Lisbon’s history most tragic episode
Lisbon was deeply marked by the tragic events that occurred on the 1st November of 1755. People were celebrating All Saint’s Day in the churches when an earthquake and a tsunami devastated the city. During this important catholic day, the falling candles in all the churches of Lisbon created huge fires. The earthquake, the seaquake, and the fires destroyed the city. After 263 years Lisbon is still scarred by this tragedy. Join us in this tour to find out what changed in Lisbon after this catastrophe and what remains from that past.
On the 22th of August we’ll learn more about what happened in 1755 and its aftermath. We’ll start in Praça do Comércio, the area that was most affected by the disaster. Here, the theatre that was inaugurated only months before the tragedy, and other important buildings were turned into ruins.
Then, Indira Leão, our history teacher, will guide us to the Igreja do Santíssimo Sacramento. This church was erected in 1147 after the Christian conquest of Lisbon. It was restored in 1750 and five years later it was completely ruined by the catastrophe.
We’ll have a chance to see another impressive testimony of the tragedy that wasn’t restored: the Carmo Convent. This Carmelites’ convent, founded by Nuno Álvares Pereira in 1389, was destroyed by the earthquake and the fires. Catering to the romantic taste for ruins in the middle of the 19th century, the Convento do Carmo was not restored.
After the tour we’ll enjoy the afternoon with a drink and conversation!