Traveling through Lisbon, one of the must-see attractions for tourists and residents alike is Rossio Square in the downtown area of the city. This square, also known as Pedro IV Square, is a bustling center of activity each day. Surrounding the area of the square are hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops, the Rossio Train Station and the Dona Maria II National Theater. Other nearby attractions include the Chiado Museum and the Santa Justa Lift. On any given day, you will find people relaxing, chatting and checking out the historical monuments on the square.
The origins of the square date back to the thirteenth century when it was the center of the city, hosting a variety of public events. By the time of the Inquisition, it was a place where public executions were held. Since then, Rossio Square has also been the place where the public came together for a variety of events including bullfighting, community celebrations and citizen revolts.
Like so many other places throughout the city, Rossio Square was also greatly affected by the 1755 earthquake. Nearly every building surrounding the square was reduced to rubble in the earthquake, and today tourists can see the Pombaline style in the reconstructed buildings. The only building to survive the earthquake was the Palace of the Independence, which still holds its place on the square today.
In the center of Rossio Square visitors will find the bronze statue of Dom Pedro IV. Not only was Pedro the king of Portugal, he also served as the first emperor of Brazil. The statue was erected in 1870 and features at the base all of the qualities embodied by the king.
Flanking the statue on either side of the square are two bronze fountains. These fountains were imported from France and installed in the square at the same time that the square was paved with the traditional Portuguese mosaic pattern. With plenty of space and beautiful surroundings, Rossio Square remains one of the highlights for tourists and locals alike.