The Garden of Estrela
Located in front of the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of Estrela, this garden was built in 1779, at a time when Estrela was the favorite neighborhood of the Lisboan bourgeoisie. During the reign of Queen María, and by order of the Marquês de Tomar, a large plot of agricultural land was expropriated to make way for a public garden in the style then in vogue in the squares of London. From the outset, horticulture became the main focus of this garden and it was here that the city’s market for flowers and house plants developed.
In 1865, a French master gardener by the name of Jean Bonard became involved in reworking the garden’s design and conceived the current layout, adopting the style of the romantic garden, with winding footpaths, tree-lined trails, ponds, waterfalls, kiosks, hothouses, and an exotic Chinese pavilion. Fashionable and modern for its time, the novelty of this garden was that it was also open to the public.
Early in the 20th century, Lisbon’s city hall began acquiring sculpture by contemporary artists which eventually found a home in the garden’s lush vegetation.
To this day an oasis in the heart of the city, this garden preserves part of the bourgeois charm of a bygone era.
Silver linden (Tilia tormentosa), London Plane tree (Platanus x hispanica), huge Ficus trees, Araucaria (araucaria sp.) and a magnificent collection of palm trees, including a marvelous grove of Senegal Date Palms (Phoenix reclinata), accompany you as you wander along the paths perusing the sculptures, the kiosks and the duck-filled pools.