June 24, 2020 getLISBON 0Comment

Príncipe Real Garden, in a romantic style with exotic plant species and small eclectic palaces around it, is one of the most beautiful quarter gardens.

The zone of Príncipe Real is situated between Amoreiras and Cais do Sodré and is considered one of the most cosmopolitan neighbourhoods of the city.

Famous or gourmet restaurants, cafés and shops with history or with alternative concepts, along with the proximity to Bairro Alto are more than enough reasons to visit this area.

But we’ll give you many other motives, such as two pieces of old urban equipment, in which one no longer exists.

Brief Historical Background

View of Rua da Escola Politécnica.
View of Rua da Escola Politécnica

This zone, a plateau known as Alto da Cotovia since the 15th century, underwent vicissitudes throughout the centuries.

The small palaces that had been projected, for several distinct reasons, ended up not being built and for a while, this privileged area wasn’t nothing more than a dump of Bairro Alto.

After the earthquake of 1755 the military regiments of the province that came to help the population of Lisbon set up camp here.

The Patriarchal Basilica, which had been recently built next to Tagus River, collapsed and it was here that the new Patriarchal was built and completed in 1761. But only eight years later a fire destroyed part of the building and two years after that another big fire destroyed the remains. From then on, it became known as Patriarcal Queimada (Burnt Patriarchal).

 A view of Príncipe Real Garden
Príncipe Real Garden

Only in mid-19th century were initiated the projects that resulted in the current space: the constructions of the Patriarchal Reservoir, the large pond and the garden, concluded in 1863.

The place’s designation changed over time and in 1859 the square was officially named Príncipe Real. From 1911 to 1919, in the context of the Republic, it was changed to Rio de Janeiro Square and the garden was called França Borges Garden.

However, nowadays thies area, the square and the garden recovered the previous designation of Príncipe Real.

Attractions of Príncipe Real Garden

The Organic Market that is held every saturday morning
Organic Market of Príncipe Real

Príncipe Real Garden has an organic character and a spontaneous look with winding flower beds that develop around a large octagonal pond. Plus, it is characterised by the presence of large exotic plant species.

Among them, we highlight the impressive rubber trees and the symbol of the garden, a Cupressus lusitanica, whose top is supported by a metal structure, resulting in a shadowed area of 20m of diametre. This was the first tree to be classified as public interest in Lisbon in 1940.

The garden also counts with a children’s park, drink kiosks and a restaurant.

But there are more reasons to visit it:

  • The Patriarchal Reservoir, which is part of the Water Museum and is located underground;
  • The Organic Market of Príncipe Real that is held every saturday morning and where you can find a vast variety of food products, from fresh produce to homemade products, sold by the producers themselves;
  • The Antiques and Crafts Fair of Príncipe Real, which takes place every last saturday and monday of each month.

Among these attractions and wonders of the nature, there are sculptures that you can get to know in Public Art in Príncipe Real Garden.

Do you feel like visiting Lisbon? Príncipe Real is in fact an excellent area for your stay. Find the best accommodations here.

Curious Facts

We also want to call your attention to two pieces of old urban equipment that we’ve talked about in the past.
In The Art and Design of the WC Kiosks of Lisbon we’ve told you about a type of urban equipment of 1913 of which four exemplars can still be seen.
In that same article we revealed that through old pictures we were able to identify a fifth WC kiosk in Príncipe Real Garden, as it is clearly shown in the photo of the inauguration of the bust of Sousa Viterbo in 1950.
Unfortunately, we don’t know the year of its demolition nor the new location of its tiles, which were probably from the painter J.Pinto.
Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa; Inauguration of the bust of Sousa Viterbo from the authorship of Francisco dos Santos; 1950; Claudino Madeira; PT/AMLSB/CMLSBAH/PCSP/004/MAD/000002

In Príncipe Real Garden you can also see one of the fountain-drinking troughs of Sociedade Protectora dos Animais offered to the city by Júlio Andrade in 1882. Although it still works, it could and would deserve to be in better condition.
 The fountain-drinking troughs of Sociedade Protectora dos Animais offered to the city by Júlio Andrade in 1882
The fountain-drinking troughs of Sociedade Protectora dos Animais in Príncipe Real Garden

Do you need any more reasons to (re)visit this magnificent garden? 😉


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