Marquês de Pombal Square, Lisbon

Situated at the north end of the main boulevard in Lisbon, Avenida de Liberdade, is Marquês de Pombal Square. Residing at the center of the square is a massive statue that pays tribute to the Marquis of Pombal, who served as prime minister to King José I between 1750 and 1777. As prime minister, the Marquis was a strong supporter of the enlightenment and worked to implement secular education in Portugal with a strong focus on mathematics and science. He also worked to incorporate other reforms, including in agriculture, the economy, and the political system. Today, the Marquis is most well known for his efficient handling of the crisis that followed the tsunami and earthquake that left much of Lisbon in shambles in 1755. As a result of his leadership, the city experienced no epidemic outbreaks and was able to recover in a swift manner. His recovery plans included a new modern district for the city within one month following the earthquake.

Standing at a height of 36 meters, the statue was constructed between 1917 and 1934. A number of well-known architects and sculptors collaborated on the construction of the monument, including Leopoldo de Almeida, Simões de Almeida, Francisco Santos, António Couto, and Adães Bermudes. The monument depicts a bronze statue representing the marquis and rests upon a pedestal. You may note when visiting that the marquis is shown looking in the distance toward the Baixa district, the same district that he was responsible for rebuilding. A lion, recognized as a traditional symbol of power, flanks the monument. Relief busts of the monument's collaborators are depicted just below the statue. The waves and rubble shown at the bottom of the monument are representative of the devastation Lisbon experienced in the wake of the 1755 tsunami and earthquake. The square is paved with a distinctive mosaic pattern that forms the coat of arms of Lisbon. Along with providing the opportunity to view this important monument to a critical time in Lisbon's history, Marquês de Pombal Square is a quiet place to relax while also providing excellent access to the rest of the city.


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