Lisbon and the Tagus River
Cross over Praça do Comércio
Now head towards the statue in the middle of the plaza.
This is Praça do Comércio, which means commerce plaza. The locals still refer to this plaza by the name it had when Portugal was a monarchy: Terreiro do Paço, which means the grounds of the royal court.
Imagine what this plaza was like in the 16th century, when Portugal was one of the richest countries in the world. Miguel Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, visited Lisbon in 1581 and was so impressed that he wrote: “this is the land that offers the most copious and holy tribute to heaven.”
In June 1515, king Manuel I staged a rare event that attracted a huge crowd to Terreiro do Paço: a duel between an elephant and a rhinoceros. In case you’re wondering, the rhinoceros won because the elephant ran away.
Keep walking towards the statue.