Designed to symbolize the city’s recovery from a devastating natural disaster, Rua Augusta Arch is an icon of Lisbon and an important symbol of its resilience. Ride the elevator to the top for panoramas across downtown Lisbon and the River Tagus.
Find out about the symbolism behind the arch and the reason why it is of such significance to the people of Lisbon. It was conceived in the wake of a devastating 18th-century earthquake, which not only destroyed much of the city, but also killed tens of thousands of people. Although the earthquake hit in 1755, the arch was only completed in 1875.
Stand on Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) and view the arch from afar. The monument is supported by six columns, which are decorated with sculptures of leading figures from Portuguese history. Vasco da Gama, the 15th-century explorer who first sailed the route between Europe and Asia, and the Marquis of Pombal, an influential 18th-century leader, are both depicted.
Gaze up at the top of the arch where another sculpture can be seen. Created by Célestin Anatole Calmels, this sculpture shows an allegorical representation of Glory, who can be seen placing crowns atop the heads of Valor and Genius.
Head inside the arch to the Clock Room to browse exhibits detailing the arch’s history. Take the elevator to the top of the arch where you can enjoy 360-degree views across the city. Look east to see Alfama, west to Bairro Alto, north to Baixa and south to the River Tagus.
During the summer months, view the arch after dark when it is lit up and is occasionally used as a canvas for light shows.
The Rua Augusta Arch is on the north side of Praça do Comércio. Ride the metro, tram or bus to get here. The arch is open daily, from morning to evening. There is an admission fee for adults children under 5 years of age enter for free.