Lisbon Sights

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Rossio

National Theater in Rossio Square

Rossio Review

Lisbon's main square since before the Middle Ages is popularly known as the Rossio, although its official name is Praça Dom Pedro IV (whom the central statue commemorates). Even though it's jammed with traffic, it is a grand space, with ornate French fountains. Public autos-da-fé of heretics (a Catholic Mass, prayer, a public procession of those found guilty, a reading of their sentences, and most often burning at the stake) were once carried out here; the site of the Palace of the Inquisition, which oversaw these, is now occupied by the 19th-century Teatro Nacional (National Theater). On nearby Largo de São Domingos, where thousands were burned, is a memorial to Jewish victims of the Inquisition. You'll probably do what the locals do when they come here, though: pick up a newspaper and sit at one of the cafés that line the square, or perhaps have a shoe shiner give your boots a polish—just agree on a price first. Later, if you're daring, pop into one of the area's three surviving ginginha bars—all cubbyholes where unshaven gents and local characters stand around throwing down shots of eye-wateringly strong cherry brandy.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Lisbon
  • Subway: Rossio
  • Location: Baixa
Updated: 10-07-2013

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