Rossio Square is the popular name of the Pedro IV Square. It is located in the Pombaline Downtown of Lisbon and has been one of its main squares since the Middle Ages. It has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions, and is now a preferred meeting place of Lisbon natives and tourists alike.
The Rossio became an important place in the city during the 13th and 14th centuries, when the population of the city expanded to the lower area surrounding the Lisbon Castle hill. The name rossio is roughly equivalent to the word 'commons' in English, and refers to a commonly owned terrain. Around 1450, the Palace of Estaus, destined to house foreign dignitaries and noblemen visiting Lisbon, was built on the north side of the square. After the Inquisition was installed in Lisbon, the Palace of Estaus became its seat, and the Rossio was frequently used as setting for public executions.
In 1492, King John II ordered the building of one of the most important civil and charitative infrastructures in old Lisbon, the All-Saints Royal Hospital. The Hospital was finished in 1504, during the reign of King Manuel I, and occupied the whole eastern side of the square. Old pictures show the façade of the Hospital to consist of a long building with an arched gallery. The portal to the chapel of the Hospital, facing the Rossio, had a magnificent façade in manueline style.
Near the northeastern corner of the square, actually in the neighbouring St Domingo Square, is located the Palace of the Almadas, recognisable by its early 18th century red façade. In 1640, this Palace was the meeting point of Portuguese noblemen who conspired against Spain and led to the independence of Portugal from Spanish rule. The building is also called the Palace of the Independence for this reason. The Convent of St Domingo was established in the 13th century by the Rossio. Their church was greatly damaged by the 1755 earthquake and was rebuilt in baroque style. Its façade dominates the small St Domingo square.
Most buildings around the Rossio date from the reconstruction of the Pombaline Downtown carried out after the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which levelled most structures in the area, including the magnificent All-Saints Hospital. Only the Palace of the Independence survived the catastrophic earthquake. The rebuilding of the Rossio was undertaken in the second half of the 18th century by architects Eugénio dos Santos and Carlos Mardel, responsible for the typical Pombaline appearance of the buildings around the square.
From the Pombaline reconstruction dates the Bandeira Arch, a building at the south side of the square with a baroque pediment and a big arch that communicates the Rossio with the Sapateiros Street.
After a fire in 1836, the old Inquisition Palace was destroyed. Thanks to the efforts of writer Almeida Garrett, it was decided to build a theatre in its place. The Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, built in the 1840s, was designed by the Italian Fortunato Lodi in neoclassical style. A statue of the renaissance Portuguese playwright Gil Vicente is located over the pediment of the theatre. Ironically, some of Gil Vicente's plays had been censured by the Inquisition back in the 16th century.
In the 19th century the Rossio was paved with typical Portuguese mosaic and was adorned with bronze fountains imported from France. The Column of Pedro IV was erected in 1874. At this time the square received its current official name, never accepted by the people.
Between 1886 and 1887 another important landmark was built in the square: the Rossio Train Station (Estação de Caminhos de Ferro do Rossio). The Station was built by architect José Luís Monteiro and was an important addition to the infrastructure of the city. Its beautiful neo-manueline façade dominates the northwest side of the square.
The Rossio has been a meeting place for people of Lisbon for centuries. Some of the cafés and shops of the square date from the 18th century, like the Café Nicola, where poet Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage used to meet friends. Other traditional shops include the Pastelaria Suíça and the Ginjinha, where the typical Lisbon spirit can be tasted. The building of the Maria II Theatre and the Public Gardens to the north of the square only made the area more attended by Lisbon high society in the 19th century. Nowadays it is constantly populated by Lisboners and tourists.References:
Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.
At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.
During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.
In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.
The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.
The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.
After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.
When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.