Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Praca do Comercio (Lisbon)

 

 

 

Bus: 2, 40, 714, 746
Trolley: 15, 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praca do Comercio or Plaza of Commerce has a shape of a wide rectangle surrounded by arcades and stairs that lead to the river. Local residents of Lisbon call it Plaza of a Palace. Royal palace was erected by Manuel I, however it was completely destroyed by a terrible earthquake of 1755. In the center of Praca do Comercio also contains equestrian statue of King reformer Jose I on a high pedestal.

 

 

 

The appearance of an urban settlement on the banks of the Tagus River is associated with the activities of King Manuel I, who built a new royal residence (Ribeira Palace) near the river, outside the city walls. The area was further developed in connection with the construction of the port, shipyard, House of India and other administrative buildings regulating trade between Portugal, other parts of Europe, as well as colonies in Africa, Asia and America.

On November 1, 1755, during the reign of Jose I, the Lisbon earthquake and the ensuing tsunami and fire destroyed most of Lisbon, including the Ribeira palace and other buildings on the Tagus River. The restoration of the city to Jose I was entrusted to his Prime Minister Sebastian Pombal, who rebuilt the square in the spirit of the Enlightenment. The royal palace was not restored, and the square itself received a regular, symmetrical shape.

The area was named Commerce, this determined its new functions in the economy of Lisbon. Symmetrical buildings on the square were filled with government bureaus that regulated customs and port operations. The main attraction was the statue of King Jose I in the center of the square, inaugurated in 1775. This bronze monument, the only one dedicated to the King of Lisbon, was designed by Joaquim Machad de Castro, a famous Portuguese sculptor of that time.

On February 1, 1908, the square became the site of the Portuguese regicide - the assassination of Carlos I, the penultimate king of Portugal. The king’s path from Vila Visoz to the royal palace lay through the Market Square. When on February 1, the carriage in which the king and his family were driving into the square, shots rang out from the crowd. The king died on the spot, his heir Luis Filipe was mortally wounded, and Prince Manuel, the future King Manuel II, was wounded in the arm. The killers Alfredo Costa and Manuel Buisa were shot dead on the spot by security guards, and were later identified as members of the Republican Party, which two years later overthrew the Portuguese monarchy.

 

 

 

 

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