The Rua Nova,
with its arcades and selling spots,
was the centre of Renaissance Lisbon
(drawing: Alberto de Souza)
From the era of the Discoveries, the Baixa – or downtown Lisbon (situated between Rossio and the present location of Praça do Comércio) has boasted of all kinds of shops. Before the 1755 earthquake, the area was considerably different from what it is nowadays: it had a maze of winding, narrow streets with countless dead-ends. However, the main street was already the Rua Nova dos Mercadores (New Mercant Street). When being drawn up by the Marquis of Pombal's engineers after the earthquake, the new downtown area respected local, centuries-old tradition. The new streets, a lot wider now, were named according to the kind of trade going on there: Rua do Ouro (for the goldsmiths); Rua da Prata (for the silversmiths); Rua dos Douradores (Gilders Street); Rua dos Correeiros (Leather Merchants Street); Rua dos Franqueiros (Cutlery Merchants Street), etc.
Marina Tavares Dias
in Lisbon for the Tourist Who Loves History