A must-see when visiting Lisbon is Praça do Município or Municipal Square. Located in the Baixa district, the square is located adjacent to the Paços do Concelho or city hall. Dating back to 1755, the square was laid out in Lisbon following the tsunami and earthquake that destroyed significant portions of the city. A new city hall was also constructed in the square at the same time. Designed by Eugénio dos Santos Carvalho, the structure was later destroyed in a fire. The current city hall was rebuilt between 1865 and 1880.
Today, the new city hall is considered to be one of the most elegant structures in the city. The main facade of the building features sculpted pediments and ornaments. Beautiful Corinthian columns support the central pediment. Inside the building is a spectacular atrium complete with a beautiful marble staircase. The Portuguese republic was declared on the building’s balcony on October 5, 1910. Today, the event is celebrated at the square each year.
A pillar dating back to the 18th century continues to reside on a platform located in the center of the square. Featuring three intricate fluted columns, the pillar is intended to represent the enforcement of justice. In the past, such pillars, known as pelourinhos, were used for conducting public whippings of condemned criminals.