Between the hilly districts of the Bairro Alto and the Alfama lies the Baixa, from the Portuguese for “low”. This part of the city was completely rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake by the Marquês de Pombal. The planned layout, greatly different from what you will see in the more ancient neighborhoods, is a testimony to the ideas of the Enlightenment.
How to get there
The bus 781 or 728 will take from the marina to the city center. Get off at Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s biggest square facing the river and a great starting point to visit Lisbon’s Downtown.
The neighbourhood features:
Praça do Comércio – This magnificent square, facing the river, is the beginning of Lisboa’s downtown. It is also known as ‘Terreiro do Paço’, meaning ‘Grounds of the Palace’, referring to its function before the Great Earthquake of 1755.
Rua Augusta’s Arch – Majestic and monumental this Arch is the symbol of triumphant Lisbon, reborn from the ashes after the 1775 Earthquake. Inside, visitors can learn about the history of Lisbon, from the start of the construction of the Arch in 1755 until its completion in 1875. This Neoclassical Arch marks the horizon of this historic area of the city and its gazebo offers a magnificent view of Terreiro do Paço square, the Baixa quarter, the Castle, the Cathedral and the Tagus.
Rossio – It is the main square in Lisbon, the equivalent of Madrid’s Puerta del Sol or London’s Trafalgar Square, and a common meeting place for locals. In this Square besides the monument of Pedro IV, there are two fountains, cobblestones in wave patterns, and some beautiful surrounding buildings; for instance the Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II, from the 1840s.
Santa Justa Lift – Standing on Praça do Rossio, you will see a high tower that rises above the square, it is actually a lift – called Elevador de Santa Justa – and it connects the lower streets of downtown Lisbon with the higher Largo do Carmo. This structure built in 1882, by Raul de Ponsard, an apprentice of Eiffel.
The main attraction of the lift is the viewing platform on the top. At the top, one gets an unbeatable view of historic Lisbon, the Castle and the wide expanse of the Tagus delta just beyond.