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Rua Augusta Arch - Lisbon, Portugal - Famous Gates
2197    Dibyendu Banerjee    04/07/2018

Rua Augusta Arch or Arco da Rua Augusta is one of the main spots of tourist attraction and important landmark of the central part of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Located at the northern end of the Praca do Comercio on Rua Augusta, the arch was built to commemorate the city's reconstruction after the devastating earthquake of 1755. It symbolises the rebirth of a new Lisbon after the tragedy of the earthquake, fire and tsunami that almost razed the city. However, the huge structure was officially completed only in 1875 and was dedicated to those, who worked hard to reconstruct the city. Though initially the structure was designed as a bell tower, ultimately after more than a century, it was transformed into an elaborate arch.

Triumph Arch in Rua Augusta, Lisbon
Triumph Arch in Rua Augusta, Lisbon
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The arch from the other side
The arch from the other side

The massive arch is supported by six tall columns, some of which are about 11 m high, and is adorned with statues created by Portuguese sculptor Vítor Bastos, of various historical figures, which include General Nuno Alvares Pereira and diplomat Marquis of Pombal on the right, and explorer Vasco da Gama on the left, along with Viriatus, the famous leader of the Lusitanian people that resisted Roman expansion into the regions of western Hispania. The two recumbent figures represent the rivers Tagus and Douro. The corresponding space is filled with the coat of arms of Portugal.

The decoration at the top of the arch
The decoration at the top of the arch

The top of the arch is classically decorated with a group of allegorical figures, created by French sculptor Célestin Anatole Calmels. The decoration represents Glory rewarding Valor and Genius. The relative figures in the decoration were made colossal, since the top cornice has a great height of over 100 feet/30 m. The female allegory of Glory,measuring 23 feet /7.0 m, dressed in a Grecian robe, stands on a three-step throne holding two crowns in her hands.Valor is personified by an amazon, a legendary race of female warriors, who is partially covered with a short cloak called chlamys. She is wearing a high-crested helmet with dragon patterns, which were the symbols of the House of Braganza, an ancient dynasty of Portuguese origin. In her left hand she holds the parazonium, a triangular dagger with a trophy of flags behind. The Genius surrounds a statue of Jupiter behind his left arm and on his left side are the attributes of writing and arts.

Western view from Rua Augusta Arch viewpoint
Western view from Rua Augusta Arch viewpoint
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The Exihibition Room
The Exihibition Room

Ascending the spiral staircase to the top of the building affords an amazing 360° panoramic view around Lisbon. Today, the visitors can also ride an elevator to a spacious and cool, stone floored room just below the top where the Rua Augusta Arch Clock can be seen along with the history of the arch in the exhibition. The present clock was built in Portugal in 1941.

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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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