The D. Pedro IV Square, usually known by its ancient and popular name: “Rossio” (literally meaning “large square“) delimits to north the area of the Baixa Pombalina (downtown) and has been, for six centuries, the heart of Lisboa.
The most diverse initiatives and events took place in this plaza, since bullfights, to festivals, military events, political assemblies and even religious trials in the epoch of the Inquisition.
Reborn from the debris left by the big earthquake of 1755 that devastated the Country, the Rossio with its cosmopolitan buildings, a sunny welcoming space got some animation with hotels (the majority no longer exist) that were filled with travellers, stores, tobacconists and, of course, a large number of Cafés (coffee shops) - a very Portuguese institution that still nowadays are used as forums for talk, conspiracy, politics and the arts.
Right in the centre of this Square, since 1870, in a column with 28meters high, rises the statue of kind D. Pedro the 4th, the first emperor of an independent Brazil. In the pedestal there are four female figures, allegories to the Justice, to the Wisdom, to the Force and to the Moderation, qualities attributed to D. Pedro. In 1889 two monumental fountains were increased, one on each side of the column, nowadays colored by the flowers sold by traditional Rossio’s florists.
The floor of the Plaza was covered with the traditional Portuguese cobbling, with black and white undulating motives, on the 19th century.
In North side of the Square is located the National Theatre D. Maria II, that received the name of the daughter of D. Pedro.
On the South side there is a graceful arch, from the end of the 18th century that establishes the connection with the Sapateiros Street.
Despite the numerous changes in the lifestyle along the six centuries of existence of this Square, many traditions are still maintained nowadays , and a stop in the Café Nicola (western side) or in the Pastelaria Suiça (oriental side) continues to be the typical everyday life of any Lisboa resident!