Portuguese pavement workers are real artists! In Lisbon there’s always a lot of work to do, like in Rua da Rosa in Bairro Alto, one of the oldest districts.
Upon a well compacted trench of argillaceous materials, craftsmen lay a bedding of gravel, which will accommodate the stones, acting as a cement.
Lovely wave design “the wide sea”, Lisbon’s Rossio Square, the popular name of the Pedro IV Square (Praça de Dom Pedro IV), the ‘heart’ of Lisbon
Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II. You can discover the theater (or take the time to enjoy a good show). From Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 13:00/ 15:00 to 17:00 there are guided tours, in several languages, to the backstage of the theater. The pavement mostly is laid out in a repetitive pattern, or recreates symbols that are evocative of Portugal’s nautical past. Besides: the neoclassical Dona Maria II Theatre was built in 1842 on the site of the former Inquisition Palace where processions, auto-da-fés (execution by burning) and public executions took place from 1531 to 1777.
Beautiful pavement in Rua Áurea, a shopping street in Baixa
Besides: despite of the artistic appeal, this pavement is not really safe. The uneven surface makes it difficult to navigate. When the cobbles are wet, they are rather slippery. A reason for ladies not wearing high heels…..don’t forget your sandals!
Pavement Praço do Comércio,
a spectacular example of Portuguese calçada, made by hand.
Pavement Praça do Municipao with Lisbon’s beautiful City Hall (Câmara Municipal). Visitors can admire the interior on Sunday mornings.
Future: for pavement workers the future is unsure. Once an activity performed by hundreds of craftsmen in Portuguese cities and villages, traditional paving is increasingly becoming restricted to conservation works or important architectural projects. Less abundant materials, dwindling numbers of craftsmen and criticism to its widespread use are forcing municipalities to consider other alternatives.