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The Santa Justa elevator

The Santa Justa elevator

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The steep hills on which Lisbon lies bestow the city with an urban rhythm that is part of its charming contrast to other European capitals.
However, for the people who spend their lives in the city, climbing up by foot is rather less romantic and elevators were installed in the 19th century as a means to meet this need and improve the quality of life of Lisboners.

The only vertical lift in Lisbon is the work of Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, an engineer originally from France but living in Oporto. It was inaugurated in 1902 and serves to link downtown Lisbon with the Largo do Carmo by means of a viaduct which has now been closed.
There is some wonderful ironwork, very specific to the era in which the lift was constructed. The structure is similar to a metallic tower in which you can go up to the esplanade and take in panoramic views over the city and the Tagus.


The Santa Justa elevator
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