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The Praça do Comércio (English: Commerce Square) is located in the city of Lisbon, Portugal. Situated near the Tagus river, the square is still commonly known as Terreiro do Paço (English: Palace Yard), because it was the location of the Paços da Ribeira (Royal Ribeira Palace) until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

After the earthquake, the square was completely remodelled as part of the rebuilding of the city, ordered by Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal, who was the Minister of the Kingdom of Portugal from 1750 to 1777, during the reign of Dom José I, King of Portugal.

On 1 November 1755, during the reign of King Dom José I, a great earthquake followed by a tsunami and fire destroyed most of Lisbon, including the Ribeira Palace and other buildings by the river.

José I's Prime Minister, the Marquis of Pombal, coordinated a massive rebuilding effort led by Portuguese architect Eugénio dos Santos. He designed a large, rectangular square in the shape of a "U", open towards the Tagus. The buildings have galleries on their ground floors, and the arms of the "U" end in two large towers, reminiscent of the monumental tower of the destroyed Ribeira Palace, still vivid in the architectural memory of the city. His plan was realised almost completely, although decorative details were changed and the east tower of the square and the Augusta Street Arch were only finished in the 19th century.

The square was named Praça do Comércio, the Square of Commerce, to indicate its new function in the economy of Lisbon. The symmetrical buildings of the square were filled with government bureaux regulating customs and port activities. The centrepiece of the ensemble was the equestrian statue of King José I, inaugurated in 1775 in the centre of the square. This bronze statue, the first monumental statue dedicated to a King in Lisbon, was designed by Joaquim Machado de Castro, Portugal's foremost sculptor of the time.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10649 W: 63 N: 29870] (130965)
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