"Beautiful Santa Engracia Church" Igreja de Santa Engrácia - National Pantheon Tip by dlytle

  Thieves Market and Santa Engracia Church
by dlytle

Nestled in the shadow of the great central landmark of the white-domed Santa Engracia church is the Tuesday and Saturday street market named Fiera da Ladra, or Thieves Market, which is open from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., and often later.

One of Lisbon?s most striking landmarks, the soaring dome of Santa Engracia punctuates the skyline in the east of the city. The original church collapsed in a storm in 1681. The first stone of the new Baroque monument, laid in 1682, marked the beginning of a 284-year saga which led to the invention of a saying that a Santa Engracia job was never done. The church was not completed until 1966.

The interior, paved with colored marble and crowned by a giant cupola, emanates a feeling of space. On request you can take the lift up to the dome and enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the city. The building is also noteworthy for its six marble cenotaphs that are dedicated to the memory of major Portuguese historical figures and the tombs of former Portuguese Presidents that rest here.

Opposite Santa Engracia, an 1880's wrought-iron farmer's market building is rimmed with a row of antiques shops. Also do not miss the very ornately appointed azulejos festooned buildings around the area of the church. These buildings often have beautiful wrought-iron balconies and pleasing archways and window treatments.

Booths, stalls, and vendors with treasures and junk laid out on the ground meander all through the historic site. Along the hillside road running down toward the wide blue waters where the Tagus estuary looks like a storybook backdrop for a 19th-century operetta, you can haggle over vintage clothes, "vintage" CDs, bright jewel-toned glassware, or a couple of lamps. Go early and stay late. There's so much to explore.

Address: Campo de Santa Clara, 1100-471 Lisboa
Directions: Alfama district
Phone: +351 21 885 4820
Website: http://www.patrimoniocultural.pt/en/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 4, 2003
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