Praça Marquês de Pombal is a major traffic roundabout marking the top end of Lisbon's central thoroughfare, Avenida Liberdade. As such it is often referred to locally as simply 'Rotunda'.
The centre of the plaza is dominated by a statue of Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, better known as the Marquês of Pombal, the Portuguese statesman who led the drive to rebuild the city after it was devastated by a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami on All Saint’s Day in 1755. As well as being the driving force behind the city’s recovery, Pombal, was instrumental in progressing much needed educational, political and agricultural reforms.
A bronze statue of the Marques, his hand resting on a lion, symbolizing power and leadership, stands on a 36 metre-high white stone pedestal, proudly facing the Baixa district, restored thanks to his direction and vision. The monument would be difficult to reach because of the constant flow of traffic around the roundabout, however, there is an underground pedestrian tunnel giving access to the mosaic paved area where the statue stands, but it is often closed. Visitors who get a chance to take a closer look at the monument will find depictions of some of the many areas of Portuguese life touched by Pombal’s reforms, as well as sculptures of waves and rubble, which serve as a reminder of the horrors of the 1755 earthquake.
A number of the city’s banks and luxury hotels can be found nearby and the plaza has excellent links to the city’s roads and metro system (via the Rotunda station). One the north side of the plaza one finds the well-kept lawns and shruberies of the Eduardo VII Park, which provides fine views down towards Baixa and the River Tejo beyond.