Lisbon, Portugal

Rossio (or Pedro IV) Square, Lisbon, Portugal, ca. mid 20th c., by Estúdio Mário Novais, via Art Library of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Commons on flickr (under CC license).

The Rossio has been an important central Lisbon square since the 14th century. Rossio roughly means “commons.” Its current appearance, however, was formed in the mid (paving) and late (fountains and column) 1800s.

The distinctive paving — calçada Portuguesa — is made up of small irregular cobblestones of white limestone and black basalt.  In 1842, the governor of São Jorge Castle, Eusebio Furtado, set prisoners to work laying an unusual zigzag pattern on its parade ground. The effect was so popular that in 1848 Furtado was asked to use the same sort of design (and prisoners) on the Rossio Square.  After that, “Portuguese pavement” spread across the city and country and ultimately out to the colonies of Brazil and Macau.

Although beautiful, it’s said to be extremely slippery when wet.

Lisbon, Portugal

Luís de Camões Square, Lisbon, between 1933 and 1983, by Estúdio Mário Novais, via Art Library of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Commons on flickr, under CC license.

The 1867 sculpture is of Camões, a 16th century epic poet. The square looks much the same today, but the design of the paving tile (Portuguese pavement or calcada Portuguesa) is different.

Life in gardens: elephant ride

Zoological Park, Lisbon, Bibliotheca de Arte, Lisbon, flickr.Jardim Zoológico, Lisbon, Portugal, 1927, by Mário Novais, via Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian on flickr (used under CC license).

The Lisbon Zoo was founded in 1884 and moved to its current location in 1905. This may be a photo of the zoo’s first African elephant, which it received in 1926, a gift from the King of Italy.