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Portugal: Baixa Lisbon

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Baixa Lisbon | Portugal | Europe

[Visited: March 2003 and several times before]

After the devastating earthquake of 1755, it was decided that a new city centre be built for Lisbon. It is obvious when walking around that the houses were all built in the same style. The neoclassical style gives a certain dignity to the city, and the grid system of streets and alleys makes it impossible to get lost here. There are several attractions to be seen in this area of the city. Coming from the wide Avenida da Liberdade (or even better, from the botanical gardens at the top of this avenue), you come across the Praça dos Restauradores which is the real beginning of the city centre.

Picture of Baixa Lisbon (Portugal): Arcade of Praça do Comercio, Lisbon

From here, it is a short hop to the Rossio, a popular square where traffic circulates around the central area which is a masterpiece of Portuguese squares. Spacious, well-equilibrated with fountains, the typical Portuguese mozaical pavement depicting waves and giving it a certain dynamism, the national theatre, train station and several bars and restaurants. This is the place where many people meet, the Baixa quarter lies at your feet. It is difficult to imagine that this square has been used, among other things, for bull fights.

Picture of Baixa Lisbon (Portugal): Typical tram in Lisbon

From Rossio, you can choose to take a small side street with unexpected little shops and bars, or the main shopping street of the city. Eventually, both options will take you to the Praça do Comércio, on the border with the river Tagus. After the 1755 earthquake had destroyed the palace on this square, it was transformed into an exemplary square of a new Baixa quarter. This square should be viewed both from its centre (ignoring people trying to sell sunglasses and other, more illegal, items), and by walking around the arcades - they will give you a different view. This is the end of Baixa - one more thing to do is to go up the elevator - you get a great view over the area.

Picture of Baixa Lisbon (Portugal): Baixa seen from above, Lisbon
Picture of Baixa Lisbon (Portugal): Fountain and statues in Rossio square, Lisbon
Picture of Baixa Lisbon (Portugal): Praça do Comercio, Lisbon
Picture of Baixa Lisbon (Portugal): Baixa, Lisbon: small shop
Picture of Baixa Lisbon (Portugal): Elevator with view over Baixa and Lisbon

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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