The Great Earthquake of Lisbon

Thu, 10.05.2018

An afternoon among the ruins and the Pombaline style buildings

On the 10th of May, the students of our school experienced an interesting and beautiful afternoon. We met in Praça do Comércio, that in 1755 was submerged by a 20-meter-high wave that occurred during the Great Earthquake. The epicentre of the catastrophe was very close to the Portuguese capital and it’s estimated that it reached a magnitude of 8.7 on the Richter scale. The consequences were catastrophic: ten thousand of dead, half of the buildings destroyed (including 35 churches) and thousands of books and documents lost.

Immediately after the tragedy, the Marquis of Pombal lead the reconstruction of the city. He chose the architects and the engineers who used the most modern techniques of that time. Thus, Lisbon became a model to follow throughout Europe.

Then, we went to the Igreja do Santíssimo Sacramento. This church, built in 1600, collapsed completely due to the Great Earthquake. Here died 75 faithful who were attending the Mass of All Saints’ Day. It was rebuilt in the Baroque style and it currently represents one of main models of the Pombaline architecture. Inside this church, we could appreciate the wonderful paintings by Pedro Alexandro, depicting the scenes of the Gospel.

After that, we moved to Largo do Carmo, where is located the Carmo’s Convent, inhabited by Carmelites at the time of the Great Earthquake. It was founded in the 14th century by D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, a strategist and a general who collaborated in achieving independence from Castile. This building did not fall completely but remained without its roof. Entering in this open-air convent was a peculiar and very fascinating experience, especially with the sun present that day.

We concluded the walking tour tasting a fresh sangria, and discussing the new knowledge learned during the afternoon.

Here are some pictures of our walking tour. Follow our FB page and our page School events to know all about our weekly tours!


The catastrophe that destroyed half of Lisbon and killed almost a third of the population

On the 1st of November 1755 a catastrophic event struck the Portuguese capital: the Great Earthquake. Here you can see an effective reconstruction of what happened. On the 10th of May, our Language School in Lisbon will organize a tour through the places most affected by it. Join us, and you will learn more details about this episode, its consequences to the country and to its people. Together, we will also find out how the Portuguese managed to reconstruct the destroyed Lisbon.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, will guide us through the memory of the Great Earthquake, using both Portuguese and English. In this way you will learn history and culture while practicing your listening!

The tour will start in Praça do Comércio that was completely inundated by the seaquarke, caused by the shocks.

After a brief historic contextualization of the Lisbon before and after the Great Earthquake, we will go to Igreja do Santíssimo Sacramento. This building is symbolic, because in that day people were in church celebrating All Saints’ Day, and the church was completely destroyed. The last step of the tour will take us to Convento do Carmo. Its Gothic church was partially destroyed in 1755 and it was never rebuilt. Ripping Lisbon’s sky, it still stands as a testimony of the disgrace that devastated the city.

And speaking about the Great Earthquake is also speaking about the man responsible for the response to it: Marquês de Pombal. Join us and you will learn everything about it!

After the walk, we will enjoy a coffee with pastries while speaking with students from different countries and cultures.

Don’t miss the opportunity to spend some fun time together, while improving Portuguese and learning about the history of Portugal. You will not regret it!

We hope to see you there! Check the newsletter and visit our website, and have a look to our upcoming events.