|Never miss another article | Subscribe here|
With this article we want to awake you to a more curious look at the traditional Portuguese pavements. We’ll visit places where you can find animals and fantastic creatures in the Portuguese Pavement of Lisbon.
Throughout the city’s pavements and squares it’s possible to find a large variety of motifs and patterns: geometrical figures, plant-inspired motifs, architectural elements, objects, lettering, commercial brands…, and also representations of small and big fantastic or non-fantastic beings.
Where can we find the Animals and Fantastic Creatures in the Portuguese Pavement of Lisbon?
We’ve gathered more than ten examples in different areas of Lisbon, but there is one that is present a little bit everywhere.
We’ve found representations of creatures of several kinds: cartoon characters, beautiful insects such as butterflies, birds, domesticated animals and pets, and even a small rodent.
And we noticed that the paving technique applied on the oldest specimens is notoriously meticulous and reveals great mastery of this art.
So we’ll introduce you to these curious creatures, starting our tour in the eastern area, then passing through the Avenidas Novas area and the centre of Lisbon and ending in the western side of the city.
Parque das Nações
In Surprising Portuguese Pavement in Parque das Nações we showed you the works of six Portuguese artists, created for the Lisbon World Exposition 98.
Pedro Proença is the author of a range of animals and fantastic creatures in the Portuguese pavement that we can find next to the Lisbon Aquarium. We’ve identified snakes, fish, elephant seals, starfish, molluscs… which remind us of the sea creatures from medieval and renaissance sea charts.
In the same area, along Caminho de Água, there is a set of Rigo’s designs. We highlight a seagull and an aquatic animal that reminds us of fish from the sole family.
Rua Lopes de Mendonça
We’ve talked about this street in The Colours of the Portuguese Pavement in Lisbon, where we underlined the particularities of its magnificent designs, both technically and creatively.
Here among the many flowers we highlight 13 butterflies, all different due to the conjugation of colours.
At the number 10B of Roma Avenue, animated characters make us slow down for a closer look at the pavement.
They are Donald Duck, created by Walt Disney Studios in 1931, Calimero, the hapless chick created by Nino Pagot, Toni Pagot and Ignazio Colnaghi in 1963, and Bugs Bunny from the Looney Tunes series produced between 1930 and 1969, distributed by Warner Bros. Animation.
Cesário Verde Garden
The path of this small garden that evokes the poet of the 19th century, José Joaquim Cesário Verde, during its remodelling in 2020, was replaced by Portuguese pavement and there you can observe several artistic elements.
Among some plant-inspired motifs, a guitar and hearts of Viana, we highlight the animals: two butterflies, one black and the other multicoloured, and a large black and white cat with yellow eyes and a pink nose that is lying down and watching us.
Campo Mártires da Pátria
The remodelling carried out by the municipality in 2017, of Campo Mártires da Pátria garden on Santana Hill, brought general improvements, including to its pavement.
It was replaced with Portuguese pavement where the limestone mixed with granite, allowed a better anti-slip effect.
But what entices us in this remodelling are the animals, such as: butterflies, birds, cats, dogs, horses, ducks, roosters…
These animals remind us not only of the presence of a dog park where dogs have fun, but also of a specific characteristic of this garden, which is that it houses gallinaceous birds and anatidae that go around freely, bringing much animation and joy to the children who play there.
In Curious Secrets in the Portuguese Pavement in Lisbon we revealed some surprising virtuosic manifestations that many consider as signatures of the pavers.
But in our understanding, if some of these small notes refer to the fingerprint of these craftsmen, others manifest a provocative and subversive character, for they are elements that are foreign to the imposed standard and that we interpret as a call for attention from these men that already saw themselves as artists, but whose status was far from being recognised.
Of these unusual elements, we highlight two representations of animals: a small bird and what looks to us like the head of a goat or a donkey with its characteristic long ears.
We challenge you to go for a walk along Liberdade Avenue and discover these delightful details. ☺
Luís de Camões Square
Around the monument to the poet Luís de Camões we can see more examples of animals and fantastic creatures in the Portuguese pavement.
Here four reproductions of a mermaid on waves from which a fish emerges, alternate with four Portuguese ships, transporting us to the central theme of The Lusiads, the discovery of the sea route to India by the navigator Vasco da Gama.
On the pavement on the south side of this square there are several small figures in Portuguese pavement, allusive to local commerce: an icon representing restaurants, a logo, a pair of glasses and a mouse.
The small rodent related to the restaurant Central do Rato, at number 10B, refers to the toponymy designation of this place, which is linked to the nickname of the benefactor Luís Gomes de Sá e Meneses. He sponsored the Convent of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Trinas do Rato), built by his ancestors in the 17th century, located in this same square.
Monument of Pedro Álvares Cabral
At the roundabout, at the top of Álvares Cabral Avenue, you can find the monument to the Portuguese navigator, inaugurated in 1941.
On the pavement around it, there are alternately six reproductions of eight-pointed stars, three boats and three fishes on undulating lines.
It’s worth noting the meticulous work carried out on the scales and spiny dorsal fins of this fish, as well as on the entirety of this paving stone, where the difficult malhete technique is used, which consists of applying stones of irregular shapes, varying in size and cut to fit perfectly.
On the main stage where the Portuguese World Exhibition took place in 1940, we can walk on the artistic pavement designed by the architect Cottinelli Telmo for this grandiose event of the then dictatorial regime.
The project included a large armillary sphere repeated at four points of the Império Square. “Three around the Monumental Fountain (placed to the south, east and west) and another one also further west, in front of the colossal statue, centred on the Pavilhão Portugueses no Mundo. (…) The fourth element, further to the west, was removed during the construction of the Belém Cultural Center, which was to begin in 1989.”(1)
Each of the armillary spheres is diagonally crossed by a band with the six zodiac signs corresponding to the star constellations of: Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus and Gemini, “which represent the six months before the grand opening”(1) of the exhibition.
These specimens of animals and fantastic creatures in the Portuguese pavement reveal an astonishing mastery of the paving technique, an authentic exercise of virtuosity, where the malhete technique is also used.
We underline the magnificent scaled effect observed on the fish’s body, achieved through the use of fan-shaped carved stones.
(1)A cultura popular na pavimentação artística da Praça do Império na Exposição do Mundo Português, de 1940, Ernesto Matos, Cadernos de Arte Pública Vol 2, Urbancreativity.org.
Throughout the City of Lisbon
Throughout the city we can notice the presence of the crow, as it is an integral part of the symbol of the city of Lisbon.
The symbol of the Portuguese capital is represented in the urban equipment and properties belonging to the City Council, with the crows in pairs facing and perched, respectively, on the stern and bow of the boat.
For this reason, the Portuguese pavement, one of the city’s landmarks, also has representations of the coat of arms, where this black bird is a constant, both in older and more recent designs.
Having presented our collection of animals and fantastic creatures in the Portuguese pavement of Lisbon, we hope to have sparked your curiosity to look for other examples around this city and share them with us and our readers. ☺
The project getLISBON has been very rewarding and we want to continue revealing the singularities of fascinating Lisbon.
Help us keep this project alive!
By using these links to make your reservations you’ll be supporting us. With no extra costs!
• Look up the best hotels on Booking.com and get 15% or more off!
• Looking for a different experience? We can create a customised itinerary based on your interests. Contact us!
• Or if you prefer tours and other activities in various destinations, take a look at GetYourGuide.
• Save time and money with a flexible Lisbon Card!