A Baixa translate as “ the lower neighborhood” in English. It is the main part of the center of Lisbon and is formed by parallel and perpendicular streets. It starts at the Rossio Square and ends at the Plaça do Comercio.
Walking along the Baixa you will find a multitude of souvenir shops, restaurants and coffee shops, most of them focused on tourists. It is one of the busiest areas in the city and you can find places such as the Plaça del Rossio (with its station with horseshoe-shaped doors), the Plaça do Comercio as well as some recommended places such as the Brazilian bakery, the National Confectionery , The Beira Gare cafe (2) or eat at the restaurant of My Story Hotel Rossio (3)
In the pictures, from the top to bottom you can see: a) Rua Augusta b) Elevator de Santa Luzia which connects the Baixa with the Bairro Alto c) Plaça del Rossio with the National theatre d) Trolley car e) Plaça do Comercio f) Train station with the horseshoe-shaped doors g) View from Santa Luzia elevator looking to the Tejo River h) Sao Domingos Church (51) i) Plaça do Comercio
In order to explain the reason of why the streets have this special structure, we have to go back to the earthquake that happened in 1755. In this catastrophe there was an earthquake followed by a tsunami and a great fire that devastated Lisbon, especially the Baixa. The Baixa’s, half pipe shape made it totally unprotected and helped to spread the fire.
If you go to Vila-real do Santo Antonio, a city placed to the South, close to the Spanish-Portuguese border, you can see the same street pattern for the same reason.
If you want further information about the earthquake that occurred in 1755, watch this video on youtube.