Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square), Lisbon

Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square), Lisbon (must see)

Lisbon's waterfront Praça do Comércio was completely rebuilt after the devastating 1755 earthquake and subsequent tsunami (a small description of which was written by Voltaire in 1756 and can be found in his "Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne"), meaning that its overall layout that has been progressing throughout centuries was razed to the ground and its new symmetrical buildings were filled with government bureaus regulating customs and port activities (hence, "comércio").

The centerpiece of the 35,000 sqm square, the equestrian statue of King José I, on whose watch the earthquake happened and whose efforts initiated the city's massive rebuilding, is very interesting. Note an elephant on the eastern side of the pedestal – a symbol of the great overseas Portuguese empire, also featured in the 2008 novel, "The Elephant's Journey", by the greatest Portuguese modern writer José Saramago, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. A stylized elephant footprint can be seen today at the José Saramago Foundation, less than 5 minutes' walk from Praça do Comércio.

At the square's northern side, Arco da Rua Augusta – a triumphal arch linking the square with Rua Augusta – should not be missed; also, the Cais das Colunas, a small riverfront pier with two columns, or pillars, and marble steps, usually half-covered by water, that served as the "noble entrance" into the city, and through which kings, queens, heads of state and other official "celebrities" arrived during Portugal's maritime era, definitely merits a quick stop.

At the western side, the corner of Praça do Comércio and Rua do Arsenal, look up to discover a plaque commemorating the assassination of Carlos I, the then 44-year-old King of Portugal, who was shot at that spot, together with his 20-year-old heir apparent (Luís Filipe), by two assassins calling for a republican government. King Carlos I was succeeded by his other son, Manuel II, who would rule for only two years before the whole family was exiled and the monarchy jettisoned.

Of course, all around the vast and spacious square, under the arcades, there are souvenir shops, cafés, restaurants, wine cellars, etc., where tourists and locals alike come to enjoy a meal, watch ships sail by, look downstream at the 25 de Abril Bridge, or just get some air away from the sometimes cramped lanes and alleyways.

Tip:
Images of the pre-1775 square can be found through reproductions of the contemporary engravings from the 17th and 18th centuries, and on the modern ceramic tile mural ("azulejos") at the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, in Alfama.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Lisbon. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square) on Map

Sight Name: Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square)
Sight Location: Lisbon, Portugal (See walking tours in Lisbon)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Lisbon, Portugal

Create Your Own Walk in Lisbon

Create Your Own Walk in Lisbon

Creating your own self-guided walk in Lisbon is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Sao Jorge Castle to Lisbon Cathedral Walking Tour

Sao Jorge Castle to Lisbon Cathedral Walking Tour

This self-guided walk takes you from the breathtaking Sao Jorge historic castle to the city's oldest church, the Lisbon Cathedral, while taking in the picturesque Alfama district – where it is said Fado originated – along the way. Included also are several unique museums, as well as two viewpoints from where you can look out over Alfama and the Tagus River. A classic Lisbon walk!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Amoreiras Walking Tour

Amoreiras Walking Tour

Due to its excellent central location in one of Lisbon's most vibrant neighborhoods, Amoreiras marks one of the Portuguese capital's entrances as well as being one of its most sophisticated areas. This is where you'll find the emblematic Amoreiras Shopping Center with its eye-catching postmodern towers, housing international chains and a good food court. Take our self-guided tour to...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Lisbon Introduction Walking Tour

Lisbon Introduction Walking Tour

Legend goes that Lisbon's name has derived either from Allis Ubbo, meaning "safe harbor" in Phoenician, or from the pre-Roman name of the River Tagus, Lisso. Nestled at Europe's western edge and featuring numerous architectural styles, it ranks as the world's 10th oldest city and traces its roots back to the Phoenician Civilization, who settled it approximately three...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Souvenir Shopping Tour

Souvenir Shopping Tour

It would be a pity to leave Lisbon without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Lisbon, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. Take this tour to explore Alfama and Baixa districts souvenir shops.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Belem Walking Tour

Belem Walking Tour

Also known as Santa Maria de Belem, this district not far from the city center lines the Tagus River and is the original location of Lisbon's port – the epicenter to India, Brazil, Africa and the rest of today's known world. Beautifully aged, Belem is a masterpiece of architectural marvels and art at every corner. Notable among its historic and cultural landmarks are the Belem Tower,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Alfama Walking Tour

Alfama Walking Tour

Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon, whose name derives from the Arabic "Al-hamma" and means "hot fountains" or "baths". The district is a home to numerous historic attractions, including a former royal residence – the medieval São Jorge Castle, as well as numerous churches, of which the most prominent is Lisbon's Cathedral, oldest in the city, and the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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