The earthquake of 1755, and the ensuing massive tidal wave and fires, killed thoUSAnds of people and reduced 18th-century Lisbon to rubble. But within a decade, frantic rebuilding under the direction of the king's minister, the Marquês de Pombal, had given the Baixa, or downtown, a neoclassical look. Full of shops, restaurants, and other commercial enterprises, it stretches from the riverfront Praça do Comércio to the square known as the Rossio. Pombal intended the various streets to house workshops for certain trades and crafts, something that's still reflected in street names such as Rua dos Sapateiros (Cobblers' Street) and Rua da Prata (Silversmiths' Street).
Near the neoclassical arch at the bottom of Rua Augusta you'll find street vendors selling jewelry. Northeast of Rossio, the Rua das Portas de Santo Antão has seafood restaurants, while the area also has three surviving ginjinha bars—cubbyholes where local characters throw down shots of cherry brandy. One is in Largo de São Domingos itself, another a few doors up Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, and the third 66 feet east along Rua Barros Queiroz.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Café Martinho da Arcada
One of the original buildings on Praça do Comércio houses the Café Martinho da Arcada, a literary haunt since 1782,…Learn More >
The formal name for this grand public square is Praça Dom Pedro IV, but locals prefer to call it by…Learn More >
Núcleo Arqueologico da Rua dos Correeiros
More than 2,500 years of history has been uncovered at this archaeological treasure trove hidden beneath a bank on one…Learn More >