While Lisbon was originally constructed on seven hills and offers unsurpassed views of the surrounding landscape, the Elevador de Santa Justa, or Santa Justa Lift, provides visitors with the opportunity to view the capital of Portugal from an entirely new vantage point. One of the oldest public metal lifts constructed for just such a purpose, the Santa Justa Lift opened to the viewing public in 1902. Located between two buildings, the Santa Justa Lift is the brainchild of designer Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard, who served as an apprentice to none other than Gustave Eiffel. Following his return to Lisbon, Ponsard issued a petition to the royal house to procure funding for his design. Following its construction, the lift was originally powered by steam. Five years later, it was converted to electrical operation.
Standing at a height of 45 meters and constructed of iron set with intricate filigree designs, the lift is capable of transporting 20 passengers in each of its two cages. The two cabins are paneled in wood and set with brass fittings. At the top of the elevator, a walkway connects the lift with Largo do Carmo. A spiral staircase leads to a café situated at the top of the elevator where visitors are encouraged to relax and enjoy refreshments while taking in breathtaking views of the Rossio Square, Lisbon Castle, Baixa neighborhood, and the river. Visitors will find the ticket office for the Santa Justa Lift situated behind the tower on the steps leading to Rua do Carmo.