Portugal Praça Dom Pedro IV (Rossio)

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Sue Wolfe

About this spot
Praça Dom Pedro IV, known to the Lisboetas as “Rossio” is a square in the middle of old Lisbon. Rossio is in the Baixa quarter but is just a few streets away from both the Alfama and Bairro Alto neighborhoods.

In the Middle Ages, it was the place for executions, bullfighting, demonstrations, and meetings. After the 1755 Earthquake, all the buildings were reconstructed in the Pombaline style. Today is it known for outdoor cafés, shops, and as a central meeting point. Café Nicola, located on the southwest corner, was once frequented by writers, artists and intellectuals and is still a popular meeting place.

The square is made from the traditional calçada portuguesa black and white mosaic pavement laid in a Mar Largo (wide sea) pattern.

The statue of Dom Pedro IV, who served as first Emperor of Brazil (1822-1831) and King of Portugal for just a few months in 1826, stands 23 meters tall. At the foot of the column are images representing Justice, Wisdom, Strength, and Moderation.

The two identical baroque bronze fountains on the square were designed by French sculptors Mathurin Moreau and Michel Lienard. The top layer of the fountain is four fish shooting water into the top basin. Four children make up the next layer. Four mermaids carrying conch shells surround the lower basin with Acis, Galatea, Poseidon, and Aphrodite grouped around the fountain base.

Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II is located on the north side of the square. A fire in 1964 destroyed much of the works created by the 19th century Portuguese artists. The theater was completely renovated and reopened in 1978 and has been a National Monument since 2012.

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