Even today, this is still the area of town where much of the city’s business is concentrated, a tradition that dates from other times, as can still be seen in the names of the streets: jeweller’s stores in the Rua do Ouro (Gold Street) and the Rua da Prata (Silver Street) and draper’s shops and clothes stores in Rua dos Fanqueiros (Drapers’ Street).
As this is the heart of the city, it also proved to be the natural place for establishing the headquarters of Portugal’s main banks. The streets that run parallel to Rua Augusta identify the various tradesmen and craftsmen, who have continued to do business there since the time of the Maritime Discoveries.
The Baixa was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, having later been reconstructed by the king’s minister, the Marquês de Pombal, which is why it is more popularly known as the Baixa Pombalina. This visionary statesman conceived of a uniform and perpendicular architecture for the city centre, making no distinction between the various social strata that lived here, a phenomenon that can still be seen today.