Sebastiao Jose de Carvalho e Melo, first Marquis of Pombal (Marques de Pombal) is, perhaps, one of the most resonant names of Portuguese statesmen and public figures to have ever been retained by the national history of Portugal. His chief contribution to the welfare of Lisbon comes down to having ordered and coordinated the reconstruction of the city (in particular, the Baixa Pombalina district) after the great 1755 earthquake which shattered Lisbon and destroyed much of its architectural and historical patrimony.

One of the venues which honor the name of the Marquis is Praca do Marques de Pombal. The square is located just between the Liberty Avenue (Avenida da Liberdade) and Eduardo VII Park, being located in the popular Baixa district, and it is a major public transport hub of the city (18 bus lines and 2 metro lines cross the square and its underground, respectively).

The ultimate highlight of Praca do Marques de Pombal refers to a monument dedicated to the marquis. The monument overlooks the square from the Liberty Avenue, and the bronze statue placed on top of the pedestal depicts the statesman with his hand resting on a lion (commonly and understandably construed as a symbol of power). The monument tries to render as closely as possible the impact and the influence of the marquis’s reforms on the educational system and agricultural life of Portugal in the time of his political glory (the mid to the late 18th century), by means of allegorical figures. The base of the monument is surrounded by randomly scattered blocks of stone which call forth the earthquake and the tsunami the effects of which were successfully, at least in part, removed by the marquis’s initiative.

The monument was built between 1917 and 1934, and required the valuable contribution of several architects and sculptors, such as Francisco Santos, Adaes Bermudes and Antonio Couto.

Praca do Marques de Pombal (Marquis of Pombal Square)
Praca do Marques de Pombal, Lisbon, Portugal
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