Still known locally as Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square) thanks to its being the former location of Lisbon’s Royal Palace until its destruction in the great earthquake of 1755, Praça do Comércio was completely rebuilt in the late 18th century and is today an elegant square hugging the banks of the River Tagus.
Thanks to the vision of Portuguese architect Eugénio dos Santos, this vast square was built in a sweeping ‘U’ shape and is full of ornate arches and overblown civic buildings. It is dominated by a massive equestrian statue of King Jose I, while sights around the square include Lisbon’s historic Café Martinho da Arcada, dating right back to 1782 and famous for its coffees, pastries and ports. Lisbon’s main tourist information office is on the north side of the arcaded square, which is largely lined with outdoor restaurants. Along the riverbanks great marble steps lead down to the Tagus and historically formed the main entry to the city.
The Praça do Comércio is close to other downtown Lisbon attractions, including the city’s main public piazza, Rossio Square, and its main shopping street, Rua Augusta, which is entered through a triumphal arch adorned with statues of Portuguese heroes including explorer Vasco da Gama.
Located in Baixa (downtown Lisbon), Commerce Square can be reached by taking the metro to Terreiro do Paço.