Duration - 2 hours
Difficulty - Medium
In this route you will know the churches of Downtown Lisbon and, at the same time, go through some of the places where the main events of the history of Portugal and the Church took place and came together across the times.
The Church of Saint Mary Major, the Patriarchal Cathedral of Lisbon, is the city’s only church in Romanesque style. Built after the conquest of Lisbon in 1147, where there would have been a Roman pagan temple and, later, a Visigothic Christian sanctuary. Over the years, the Cathedral suffered reconstructions and restorations still evident today. Here you can see remarkable examples of tombs, elements of Gothic architecture and beautiful paintings, carving and sculpture of various times.
Built in the bithplace of Fernando de Bulhões, Saint Anthony of Lisbon, born around 1189, it collapsed in the 1755 Earthquake and was later rebuilt. In the present Church, the decorativism in the outside unites with the vividness of colours in the inside.
The original church was contemporary of the Cathedral, having collapsed in the Earthquake. The rebuilding, boasts a portal with Manueline decoration and it is one of the Pombaline churches with the most richly decorated interior.
One of the gates of the old Moorish Wall, it connected the city with the beach.
With an original façade, it is one of the few 16th century houses that survived the 1755 Earthquake.
The result of the post-Earthquake reconstruction of the old church of Misericórdia, inaugurated in 1534, its façade is an important testimony of the Manueline style and its chancel of Mannerism. Inside, there is the image of Our Lady of Bethlehem, to whom have prayed sailors like Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral, before they left for the Discoveries.
Opened in 1782, it is one of the oldest and most remarkable cafés in Lisbon. In his later years, the poet Fernando Pessoa used to come here daily.
The city’s main square, since King Manuel I settled in this place in the 16th century. It was the place of departure and arrival of Carracks loaded with spices and gold, and the city’s administrative and economic centre. Here took place celebrations and royal weddings. Destroyed by the 1755 Earthquake, it was rebuilt by the Marquis of Pombal. Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the first Mass here during his apostolic visit to Lisbon in May 2010.
Many famous personalities arrived to and departed from Lisbon here. The last world figure to disembark at this pier was Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1957.
On the 5th of October 1910, José Relvas proclaimed the Portuguese Republic from the balcony of this building. This is the location of the old Patriarchal Basilica, destroyed by the 1755 Earthquake.
Rebuilt after the 1755 Earthquake, the church was later deconsecrated and sold to the Bank of Portugal. Today, it houses the Museum of Money and the Interpretation Centre for King Dinis’ Wall.
Currently part of a Pombaline building, it was founded by a couple from Guimarães in the 13th century. Inside, stand out the panels of tiles covering the walls.
It marks the place where King João IV suffered an attacked in 1648, when he was participating in the Corpus Christi procession. Destroyed by the earthquake, only the 17th century church survived, and later adapted. The pediment of the portal and the octagonal dome can be seen from the outside.
It is one of the oldest parishes in the diocese of Lisbon. Its early church was built in the 13th century. Rebuilt after the earthquake with a North-facing orientation, it is one of the most beautiful hall churches in Lisbon, a paradigm of the Pombaline churches. Pay special attention to the chancel and the varied collection from extinct convents.
Today integrated into the façade of a Pombaline building, its first construction was inaugurated in 1556 and had a hospice attached. Destroyed by the 1755 Earthquake, it was integrated into the city’s new urban mesh.
Founded in 1514, the Convent of the Holy Spirit was destroyed by the 1755 Earthquake. The Armazéns do Chiado now occupy part of the old convent.
Built by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard in 1902, it is 45 meters high and it is the city’s only vertical lift.
It is the oldest square in Lisbon, occupying the place of the Roman hippodrome. In medieval times, it was still a suburb of the city. In the 14th century, the site was kept within the new wall built by King Fernando. Rossio is the city’s main square and a meeting point for its people.
Between the East-facing façade of Rossio, where now is the Suiça Patisserie and Praça da Figueira, there was one of the most remarkable buildings of the 16th century Lisbon, built by King João II.
Here stood the old Estaus Palace, built in 1449 to accommodate visitors arriving in Lisbon. In 1571, it was the seat of the Court of the Holy Office, where countless executions took place. The National Theatre was inaugurated in 1846.
The place where D. Antão de Almada and other 39 Portuguese nobles planned the Restoration of the Portuguese monarchy in 1640. On the left side of the entrance, lays the image of Our Lady of the Conception, the patroness of Portugal since 1646.
Destroyed by a fire in 1959, the reconstruction gave it a strong scenic impact, by keeping the effects of the fire within the grandeur of the Baroque structure. The primitive church was part of the convent of Saint Dominic, one of the oldest in the city, founded by King Sancho II in 1242. In the fourth chapel on the left side, you can see part of the handkerchief that the shepherdess Lucia used on 13 October 1917, a true relic.
This was the site of the city’s necropolis. In the 13th century, the grounds of the convent of Saint Dominic occupied this area with gardens and farms, which later became a market for vegetables and fruit. It boasts the statue of King João I, the king who starts the Expansion and the Portuguese Discoveries.
It owes its name to the brave Martim Moniz, who, according to the legend, noticing an open door to the castle, kept it that way by jamming it with his own body, during the conquest of Lisbon, allowing the entrance of his companions into the fortress. It is the city’s most multicultural square, where you can find exotic products from the most diverse sources.
It is one of the few surviving towers of the old King Fernando’s Wall. Built between 1373 and 1375, the wall ended here and it was decisive in the defense of the kingdom when the forces of Castile sieged Lisbon in 1384.
Since 1506, there was a hermitage here, dedicated to Saint Sebastian, commissioned by the artillerymen of the garrison of Lisbon when the city suffered a violent outbreak of plague. It hosts the devotion to Our Lady of Health since 1662. Opposite to the chapel, there is a reproduction of the design of the façade in Portuguese cobblestone work.
The façade of the Caldas Palace has a plaque indicating that there died, on 1 October 1948, Father Francisco Rodrigues da Cruz, known as Padre Cruz, whose beatification process is underway. Today it serves as the main office of the Portuguese Popular party (CDS/PP).
Built in the 1st century A.D., the roman theatre of Olisipo (Roman Lisbon) could fit an audience of 4,000. It remained buried until the end of the 18th century. It is one of the oldest monuments in the city.
It was built by order of Queen Maria I in 1785, and was aimed to accommodate the beneficiaries who had the duty to attend the divine offices.