Praça do Comércio, Commerce Square in English, is Lisbon’s main square. It was built on the site where the old Royal Palace used to exist before it was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755.
The southern end of the plaza is open and looks out onto the Tagus River. The other three sides have yellow-coloured buildings with arcades all along the façade. When the square was first built, the commercial ships would unload their goods directly onto this square, as it was considered the “door” to Lisbon.
On the river bank, near the square, is the Cais de Sodré ferry terminal from which several ferries depart down the Tagus River.
Things to do
Commerce Square houses two major points of interest:
Rua Augusta Arch
Located on the north side of Commerce Square is the Rua Augusta Arch that gives way to the boulevard Rua Augusta, the most prominent boulevard in Baixa.
This triumphal arch was designed by the Portuguese architect Santos de Carvalho to celebrate the reconstruction of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake. It was completed in 1873. On top of its several pillars, it is adorned with numerous statues that represent important Portuguese figures like Vasco da Gama and the Marquis of Pombal.
Equestrian Statue of Joseph I
The bronze equestrian statue of Joseph I of Portugal (1750 – 1777) was designed by Machado de Castro in 1775. Joseph I was King of Portugal during the Great Earthquake.