Baixa

 

Europe's first urban planning -- Downtown Lisbon's broad squares and pedestrian streets

 

Baixa - or Lisbon's downtown - is the heart of the city. It is the main shopping and banking district that stretches from the riverfront to the main avenue (Avenida da Liberdade), with streets named according to the shopkeepers and craftsmen who traded in the area.

It had to be completely rebuilt after the Great Earthquake in 1755, with streets flanked by uniform neoclassical buildings, provided with the oldest anti-sismic system in Europe. This was Europe's first great example of neoclassical design and urban planning, and one of the finest European architectural achievements of the age (it is currently being considered to be listed as a World Heritage Site).

It remains an imposing district, with elegant squares, pedestrian streets, cafes and shops. Old tramcars, street performers, tiled Art Deco shop fronts, elaborately decorated pastry shops, and street vendors selling everything, from flowers to souvenirs, all lending a special charm to the surroundings.

 

 

   
     

 

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