Praça do Comércio means “Trading Square” and as you might expect from the name, it is the host of many historical trading centers.
Praça do Comércio’s Historical Background
Manuel I, the ruler of Portugal, built a residence here to be away from the city walls. In time, buildings related to trade were added to this complex. This is why the square is known to the locals by the name “Terreiro do Paço”, “paço” referring to the palace that was built for Manuel I. When looking back into most of the buildings in Lisbon, you will often encounter the same interruption, the Great Lisbon earthquake in 1755. After the earthquake, Sebestian Pombal, the prime minister of the time, was assigned with the duty of reconstructing Praça do Comércio. As this was the age of Enlightenment in Europe, he preferred to have it designed with the influence of Enlightenment, which meant clarity and geometrical designs of the architectural shapes and no restoration of the palace. However, the bronze statue of Jose I remains standing undamaged after the earthquake as a representation of the old monarchical glory.
In more recent history, Praça do Comércio also has significance in Portugal’s republican history. In 1908, during the revolution, the royal cortege was executed and the king Carlos I’s execution was carried out in Praça do Comércio. After two years, the king’s murderers took place in transforming Portugal into a republic.
Praça do Comércio Attractions
Praça do Comércio is the perfect candidate to be your starting point for the city tour. It is the central point to see many attractions around it. Let alone the other attractions, Praça do Comércio is worth seeing for its value as it one of the most iconic squares of Portugal. From Praça do Comércio, you can climb up Arco da Rua Augusta and enjoy the looking down at the geometrical design of the streets, the view of the river, and the calçada Portuguesa (Portuguese pavement). Don’t forget to take notice of the precious survivor of the Great Lisbon Earthquake, the statue of King Jose I, which was sculpted by Machado de Castro to illustrate the power of nobility and royalty.
You can also easily access to Lisbon Story Center, Pátio da Galé and Cais das Colunas from Praça do Comércio.
Why You Must Go to Praça do Comércio’s
Praça do Comércio is one of the largest squares in Europe. It is one of the first destinations of every tourist arriving in Lisbon. It offers a stunning view of the sunset and great street performances at weekends. You can take a tourist-bus from here to have a quick sight-seeing tour around the city. The square also hosts the oldest café in Lisbon, Café-Restaurante Martinho da Arcada.