Largo do Carmo is a really nice square in downtown Lisbon, famous for its calm atmosphere and also symbolic historic relevance. It also gives you the chance of a great view over the city and access to an historic elevator and an idyllic museum. All in the centre of Lisbon.
Largo do Carmo is a really nice and quiet square in downtown Lisbon, with a great atmosphere, its pleasant cafés surrounded by trees and a central fountain.
Here you will find the Carmo Convent, built in the XIV century, once a magnificent church, it was almost completely destroyed in the famous 1755 earthquake that stroke Lisbon. At that time, it became partially demolished and is still now only partially renovated. It was left that way intentionally since most people found the ruins to create a unique and pleasant atmosphere.
It is here that nowadays you will find the Carmo Arquelogic Museum. It was built to protect the country historic patrimony, which was disparaging day by day, between the Napoleon invasions, internal conflicts, and others.
This square also has quite some historic significance. Although it is usually a very calm square, it wasn’t always so. It was here that in the April 25, 1974, the ruling dictator in Portugal at the time took refuge in the military barracks, from a revolution started by a military movement with support from most of the oppressed people. Thus giving a special meaning to this place since it was where the totalitarian rulers finally surrendered. This occasion is celebrated by an inscription on the ground. April 25 is celebrated as a national holiday in Portugal, dedicated to the freedom and to the (elective) democracy conquered that day.
The square also gives access to the famous Santa Justa elevator, whose ticket-line down below is usually packed full of tourists waiting to buy a rather overpriced ticket to ride the elevator to the top where you can find a bar. Although the ride can be a nice experience on its own (it’s a really old and historic elevator), in fact, if you take the square access, you can go see the views, no waiting lines, no tickets. Just access the square through an old big metal gate, walk between the brick wall and the old convent and you will find the top of the elevator and its curled stairs. Climb them for a really nice view over Lisbon downtown, castle, and river.
The square is in the city centre, near the famous “Baixa” and “Chiado” areas. The best way to get there is, well, on foot, either from the old “Rossio” train station or from near the famous mall “Armazéns do Chiado”, subway station “Baixa/Chiado”. Don’t forget to pass by this little lovely square on your downtown sightseeing.