The secrets of Baixa Pombalina

Wed, 07.08.2019

A great afternoon in Baixa Pombalina!

On the last 7th of August, our Portuguese language school organized a walking tour in Baixa Pombalina.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, talked about the creation of Baixa Pombalina and showed us some spots with surprising stories!

We started at Praça do Comércio, one of the most important spots in Baixa. After the Great Earthquake of 1755, Praça do Comércio had to be rebuilt. Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, known as Marquis of Pombal commanded the project of Lisbon’s reconstruction. With the architects Manuel da Maia, Carlos Mardel and the engineer Eugénio dos Santos, Lisbon was able to reborn from destruction. Baixa Pombalina enjoyed the first European anti-seismic system. The name of the downtown: Baixa Pombalina was a clear homage to the Marquis of Pombal. As well as the name, Praça do Comércio honoured the merchants who financed the reconstruction of Lisbon.

Then, we walked to the centenary Elevador de Santa Justa. Built in 1900 and inaugurated in 1902, it was a success when it was open to the public. 3 000 tickets were sold in the opening day! The architect Raul Mesnier de Ponsard was pupil of Gustave Eiffel and projected a lift in Art Nouveau Architecture. Besides, until 1907 the lift worked with a steam engine.

After, we walked to the train station of Rossio. Built in 1890 in neo-Manueline architectural style, it hides a bloody episode in the history of Portugal. In 1918, the president Sidónio Pais was murdered.

In Largo de São Domingos, Indira told us about the slaughter against the Jews and new-Christians during April of 1506. Thousands of Jews and new-Christians were victims of the wrath of the Catholic population manipulated by the Dominicans.

We ended perfectly the walking tour with a tasty ginjinha!

Check out our photos!


A walking tour in Baixa Pombalina

Baixa Pombalina is considered the first European anti-seismic urbanistic projection after the Great Earthquake of 1755. A seaquake and fires that lasted five days succeeded the Earthquake. About 20 000 to 50 000 people died and thousands of building destroyed. The proposal of our Portuguese language school for the next 7th of August is a walking tour about the Baixa Pombalina. We’ll be able to explore the most central area in Lisbon.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, will guide during this afternoon. We’ll start at Praça do Comércio. Here, Indira will talk about the relevant role of the Marquis of Pombal in the reconstruction of Lisbon. Besides, we’ll be able to learn the history of the imposing equestrian statue of the king D. José I. Above our heads, we’ll contemplate the impressive Rua Augusta Arch inaugurated in 1873.  

Then, we’ll walk to the main street of Baixa: Rua Augusta. Augusta means divine in Latin. Consequently, the name of this street was a homage to the divine figure of the king. We’ll stop in the neoclassic lift of Santa Justa, built in 1900. Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, a student of the famous iron artisan Gustave Eiffel designed the Santa Justa Lift.

Later, we’ll go to Rossio, where we’ll visit Igreja de São Domingos. Due to the Catastrophe of 1755, this church was rebuilt in 1748 and hides an expressing and shocking History.

In the station of Rossio inaugurated in 1891, Indira will talk about its importance to the city.

Finally, visiting Baixa Pombalina and not going to taste the ginjinha is like going to Rome and not seeing the Sistine chapel. Therefore, we’ll take our students to taste the traditional ginjinha!

Join us and don’t miss our upcoming events on our website.