Marquês de Pombal is one of the busiest traffic squares in Lisbon, I think it’s fantastic to drive to or from the Baixa via this roundabout.
It’s always a guess how many rounds you have to make before you take the right turn. Anyone who has driven around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris knows this feeling. Usually I don’t really have problems with this roundabout, probably because I’m not afraid to drive a second (or third) lap before I cathc my exit.
Marquês de Pombal is centrally located in Lisbon and connects the Baixa (city center) with Saldanha (financial district) at the Avenida da Liberdade. Not only is it a busy place, it is also an important hub for both traffic above the ground and for the metro and pedestrians.
The square lies at the foot of Parque Eduardo VII, from where you have a beautiful view of both Marquês de Pombal and the lower city.
Statue of the Marquis
Standing tall above the roundabout is the 9 meter high statue of the Marquis de Pombal. The Marquis depicted is Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the 1st marquis of Pombal and the 1st Minister of Portugal during the reign of King Joseph I. Sebastião de Melo has rebuilt Lisbon after the earthquake of 1755 Lisbon, the Baixa is also named him. The monarch gave him the title of Marquês de Pombal for all his merits.
For those of you that wonder what a Marquis is, it’s a title of nobility. In particular, they were charged with the supervision and management of one of several counties (larger districts).
Celebration of the championship
For the last four years in a row, Marquês de Pombal has been unreachable for traffic after the last football match of the season. When football club Benfica win the championship, supporters gather here to celebrate. Same goes for Sporting Clube de Portugal (Sporting Lisbon), but they haven’t won the title since 2002.
No matter how big the square is, it is completely filled with fans.