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The earthquake of 1755, the massive tidal wave, and subsequent fires killed thousands of people and reduced 18th-century Lisbon to rubble. But within a decade frantic rebuilding under the direction of the king's minister, the Marquês de Pombal, had given the Baixa, or downtown, a neoclassical look. Today full of shops, restaurants, and other commercial enterprises, it stretches from the riverfront Praça do Comércio to the square known as the Rossio. Pombal intended the various streets to house workshops for certain trades and crafts, something that's still reflected in street names such as Rua dos Sapateiros (Cobblers' Street) and Rua da Prata (Silversmiths' Street). Near the neoclassical arch at the bottom of Rua Augusta you'll find street vendors selling jewelry. Northeast of Rossio, the Rua das Portas de Santo Antão has seafood restaurants and two surviving ginginha bars—cubbyholes where local characters throw down shots of cherry brandy.
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