Rossio’s wild memories

Rossio, Maria José Rebelo, digital print image, 2012.

Rossio, one of Lisbon’s main plazas, is an aristocratic lady who has seen it all: prosperity, peace, poverty, and bloodshed. She also remembers crazy times, when bullfights were staged in the middle of the plaza. And that day in 1515! King Manuel had arranged a duel in Terreiro do Paço between an elephant and a rhinoceros. When the elephant saw the other beast, it broke its cage and fled to Rossio!

She remembers the story of the statue of D. Pedro IV, King of Portugal and Emperor of Brazil. His daughter, D. Maria II, inaugurated a monument that remained unfinished for 14 years. Finally, in 1867, a high column was built and a regal statue placed on top. A statue of emperor Maximilian was in Lisbon in transit to Mexico, when news arrived that Maximilian had been shot. Rumor has it that the statue was bought at a discount and used in Rossio. It was a fine way to save money, since all emperors look alike atop a high column.

But all that is the past. What matters is that every day Rossio is full of young people, and that their dreams can fill the future.

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