Bica

 

Bica is a picturesque old quarter, adjacent to Bairro Alto, where its residents always maintained a close liaison with the Tagus River. Composed of a series of sidewalks, stairs, and alleys, its origin was due to a natural disaster: in 1597, a land subsidence formed a valley that gave the appearance of steep Bica.


At this time, Lisbon was much sought out by people who wanted to work in the river. The population growth made this area typically inhabited by seafarers, fishermen, water bearers, "peixeiras" (fish sellers) and all kinds of sellers. In this neighborhood, were frequent the "pregões"* from the water bearers, which filled the streets with sounds and human presence.

In Lisbon, the lack of water was common. It is believed that Belo family was the most important of the district because of a water spring in their land, which supplied the riverside population, and should have given rise to the name of this sidewalk since Bica means fountain. At the time the fountains were meeting places for exchange of news and jokes.

The Elevator of Bica, is a funicular, opened on 28 June 1882, moving from the street of Bica Duarte Belo. The rugged topography of Lisbon has always been a serious obstacle to the movement of people and goods between the high and low zones of the city. Even the "Americans" (carriages pulled by animal and moving up on rails), which emerged in the late nineteenth century, didn't managed to respond to this problem in a satisfactory manner.

This elevator was originally moved by a water balance system ( the car that was going down filled a water tank located on the roof, with the strength resulting from this extra weight, combined with the gravitational force of the descent, it towed the car that was coming up. In 1896 was moved by steam and, later, in 1914 started to work by electricity.

The design is from the Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, also responsible for the lift of Glory, the Lavra and Santa Justa. Because of its enormous historical and cultural importance, the elevator was classified as a National Monument in February 2002.
Today is a place of attraction which at night is complemented by the adjacent Bairro Alto, expanding the demand for recreational locals, during day and night,of the most pure "fashion style!

* Pregões: Kind of song that announced the product the seller was carrying


   
     

 

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