It is impossible not to walk through the majestic Triumphal Arch of Rua Augusta; this impressive arch represents the monumental entrance to the city of Lisbon; it connects Commerce Square to Rua Augusta, one of the main shopping streets that takes straight to the heart of the old town. In addiction to all this, the arch is a great background for your travel photos.
If you are feeling adventurous, go to the top of the monument to admire the panoramic view of Commerce Square and Rua Augusta from above.
The project of this great triumphal arch dates back to the eighteenth century, to the times of the reign of Marquis of Pombal; the arch was meant to be celebrate the rebirth of the city after the devastating earthquake of 1755. In the original project the arch, which was meant to complete the northern wing of the newly restored Praça do Comercio (back in the time known as Terreiro do Paço), was supposed to be a bell tower.
The construction of the arch started in 1862 and it was completed in 1873.
The latin inscription “Virtvtibvs Maiorvm” (the greatest virtues), celebrates the great values of Portuguese patriotism.
The allegorical sculpture group adorning the top of Rua Augusta arch was made by the French sculpture Célestin Anatole Calmels, and it represents Glory rewarding Valor and Genius.
In order to be seen at the top of the monument, the statues had to be made of considerable size. The statue representing Glory itself is 7 meters hight.
The statues adorning four of the six columns of the arch represent some important Portuguese characters:
These works of art were made by the sculptor Vítor Bastos, whose name reminds of the one of a football player!
To complete the sculpture decoration there are the representations of the two main Portuguese rivers, Tagus and Douro.