Lisbon’s Biggest Square Reopens, Renovated

Comercio Square, Lisbon
Lisbon’s Comércio Square, under construction

It seems that over the past 10 years, Praça do Comércio (Lisbon’s monumental riverfront square) has never been without any construction work. First it was the opening of a tunnel for a new subway station, then works on the area’s sewage system, and then a brand new pavement and the closing to traffic of two of its sides. But finally this Saturday it will be completely open for everyone to sit and admire the surroundings. From the square you can gaze at the immensity of the river, admire the monumental architecture of the triumphal arch, and relax as you watch the ferries cross the Tagus.
For now, what’s new is a pavement that covers the square from East to West, removing traffic on two sides and providing space for café tables (cars and the city’s emblematic trams still circulate on the north and south sides of the square). Later this year the surrounding arcaded buildings will have new shops and a new restaurant is scheduled to open in October.
The first major event to take place in the renovated Praça do Comércio is an outdoor mass by Pope Benedict XVI this May 11th (a day to avoid this part of town for the non-devout). Activities from then until October will be the cleaning of the buildings’ façades and the addition of seats for tourists and locals to enjoy one of Lisbon’s grandest spaces.