Praça do Comércio

Lisboa, Praça do Comércio. Taagzicht zouden wij misschien zeggen. In 1974 centrum van de Anjerrevolutie, die een eind maakte aan de heerschappij van Marcello Caetano. Zelden een mooier plein aangetroffen.

We now reach the largest of Lisbon squares, the Praça do Commercio, formerly Terreiro do Paço, as it is still commonly known; this is the square which is known to Englishmen as Black Horse Square and is one of the largest in the world. It is a vast space, perfectly square, lined on three sides by buildings of a uniform type, with high stone arches. All the chief public offices are installed here – the Ministries (except that of Foreign Affairs), the Postal and Telegraphic Offices, the Customs House, the Attorney General of the Republic, the Emigration Office, the Administrative Court, the central office of the Red Cross, etc. The fourth, or South, side of the square is formed by the Tagus itself, very wide in this part and always full of shipping. In the centre of the square stands the bronze equestrian statue of King José I, a splendid sculpture by Joaquim Machado de Castro, cast in Portugal, in a single piece, in 1774. It is 14 metres high. The pedestal is adorned with magnificent figures depicting the rebuilding of Lisbon after the great earthquake in 1755. There is a figure guiding a horse which treads the enemy under its hoofs, another with the palm of Victory, Fame in another group; and the aggregate is remarkable indeed. Besides this, we can see there the Royal Arms and the portrait of the Marquis de Pombal, as also an allegory figuring Royal Generosity rebuilding Lisbon from its ruins. High railings, joined to columns, surround the monument, and marble steps lead up to it.

Fernando Pessoa, Lisbon, What the Tourist Should See (1925)

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