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Praça do Municipio, Lisboa, Portugal, 2017 [open in full screen]  


One of the squares planned after 1755 eartquake just west of previously mentioned Comercio Square, following Rua do Arsenal, is Praça do Municipio, a small peaceful square where the City Hall, Appeals Court and Navy Arsenal stand.

The City Hall building is a neoclassical palace with an elegant exterior featuring sculptures on the triangular tympanum supported by four paired columns. The interior, which can only be visited on free guided tours on Sunday mornings, is rich in works of art, including a painting showing Marquês de Pombal during the times of the reconstruction of Lisbon. The city hall is not only an important architectural masterpiece, it is also a significant political symbol.

  On October 5, 1910, the Portuguese Republic was proclaimed from the balcony of the city hall, an event that is celebrated annually at the square.

Outside the building on a platform in the middle of the Praça stands a spiral column built of a single block in the 18th century. The pillar, locally called pelourinho, symbolizes the enforcement of justice. Its frivolous design, consisting of three twisted fluted columns topped by a globe, belies the original purpose of pelourinhos. Condemned criminals were tied to the columns and often whipped or even hanged in public.

Many of the squares all over Portugal [Praça de Pelourinho, Ericeira, Praca Albuquerque, V. N. Xira Largo do Pelourinho, Ponta do Sol, Madeira, are in our collection] are hosting these peluorinho pillars, manly those where city halls or local police headquarters are located.

  Last image bellow right, is one very good example near the Se [cathedral] in Porto, our photo from 2002, where hooks at the top of the pilar are still visible.

This square is very often overlooked in the busy downtown Lisbon but now it is hosting very large Quiosque do Refresco – serving Lisbon's traditional refreshments, opportunity for pleasant quiet moments. Few pieces of public art are adding interest to the space.

Unusual shape of the square is result of difference of terrain levels. Other side of the building following the curve, is approximately 30m higher, notice that trees beside the yellow structure are at the level of roofs of the buildings in the first row.

menadering MEANDER ⇢ Portugal Squares

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Last time updated on June 13, 2020 13:51