When exploring Lisbon, you might come across the Santa Justa Lift, a remarkable structure that connects history and modernity. This beautiful iron elevator is more than just a mode of transport; it’s a tribute to Lisbon’s rich heritage and impressive architecture. Let’s take a look at the intriguing history and captivating design of the Santa Justa Lift, as well as what you can expect when visiting.
The Santa Justa Lift, also called the Carmo Lift, holds a unique place in Lisbon’s urban history, dating back to the early 20th century. It was conceived by the ingenious Portuguese engineer of French descent, Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard.
Construction of the lift began in 1900 and was successfully completed in 1902. Initially, it relied on steam power and played a pivotal role in connecting the lower streets of the Baixa district with the elevated Carmo Square. At a towering height of 45 meters (147 feet), the lift quickly earned admiration for its practicality and its striking neo-Gothic architecture.
Throughout its existence, the Santa Justa Lift has experienced several notable changes. In 1907, it transitioned to electricity, enhancing its functionality and reliability. Despite facing competition from more modern transportation options like trams and funiculars, the lift persevered and continued to enchant both locals and tourists.
Designed by Raul Mesnier du Ponsard, the lift exudes an air of romanticism and sophistication, reminiscent of the architectural trends of the late 19th century.
The elevator’s ornate ironwork, intricate filigree, and neo-Gothic embellishments make it a true work of art. Its arches and detailed latticework are not only visually stunning but also functional, providing structural stability to the tower.
What’s particularly fascinating is the lift’s seamless integration with the urban fabric. It connects the bustling Baixa district, with its neoclassical buildings, to the historic Carmo Square, where the Carmo Convent stands as a haunting reminder of the devastating 1755 earthquake.
Visiting Times & Tickets
A ticket to go up the lift costs €5. It is open in the Summer from 7:30 am to 12 pm and in the WInter from 7:30 am to 9 pm.
- Lisbon Half Day Private Tour