Hidden under the pond in the park Jardim do Príncipe Real you will find Reservatório da Patriarcal, (Patriarcal Reservoir). From 1864 until the mid-twentieth century, this reservoir was an important part of the water supply for large parts of Lisbon’s city centre.
The reservoir, also known as Praça de D. Pedro V Reservoir, served mainly to regulate the supply of water between the Arco Reservoir at Rua das Amoreiras and the lower districts in the centre of Lisbon.
In total, the reservoir can hold about 900,000 liters of water and was designed by the French engineer Louis-Charles Mary. The attentive viewer will immediately see that the octagonally shaped space is exactly like the shape of the pond above it, in Jardim do Príncipe Real.
From the reservoir you can make a nice walk through the underground tunnels. We walked over 400 meters from the reservoir in the park to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. This walk, through a tunnel that is sometimes no higher than you can stand, follows a short (Portuguese) explanation of how everything works (don’t worry, you get a safety helmet).
During the walk we were glad we had flashlights on our phones, because sometimes it was quite dark and we could not properly see where the path went.
I did this little walking tour with my three year old daughter. It turned out to be a real hit, it was our little adventure.
It was a bit of a ghostly walk, in the semi-darkness through a tunnel under the busy streets of Lisbon. Of course it was a bit damp and our voices echoed and were carried along the tunnels.
The exit of the tunnel is at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, near the quiosque (kiosk) on the western side of the park. Very conventient, as you can go for a bica straight away.
Want to do this tour? In that case you should contact the Museu da Água in advance, they runs the thing. We sent an email to [email protected] and asked them when there was a tour and if we could join. In the end we had a very nice and unique trip under the streets of Lisbon, and it was only € 3 a person.
Do pay attention! The tour is only given in Portuguese. With the information booklet it is reasonably easy to understand everything if you do not know the language. But do not let this stop you, it is a unique experience during your city break in Lisbon.
How to get to Reservatório da Patriarcal
The entrance to the Patriarcal Reservoir is in Jardim do Príncipe Real, a lovely park in the Príncipe Real district. This is about 10 minutes walk from the upper end of Ascensor da Glória.
Address: Praça do Príncipe Real, Príncipe Real
Opening hours: there are guided tours every Saturday at 11:00 and at 15:00.
Entrance fee: €3 per person ( free admision under 12 year )
More info: Epal.pt