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Estrela Garden

Estrela Garden (15)

In front of the “Estrela” basilica you will find this charming and peaceful corner of the traditional district of Lapa. Here lies what was originally called the “Estrela” garden due to its position next to the church, but which later became known as the “Guerra Junqueiro” garden, in memory of the Portuguese poet.

With almost five hectares of green space, the garden started life in 1842 during the reign of Queen María II, under the orders of the Portuguese politician Bernardo da Costa Cabral who had been crowned Marquis of Tomar despite his modest background. With the queen’s and financiers’ support this beautiful garden was finally completed in 1852 and now sits at one of the city’s highest points. 

It is definitely worth noting the magnificent wrought iron gates framing each of the garden’s four entrances, as well as the great detail of the iron’s patterned surface which date back to the year 1884. In this area, which was previously the site of what is now the “Avenida da Liberdade” (Freedom Avenue), concerts ideal for music lovers are held.

Taking a walk through the park allows you to meet a whole host of visitors: elderly locals that spend sunny afternoons chatting on the park’s benches to the avid concert-goers who come to take advantage of the excellent music programme. 

The architect Pedro José Pezerat played a major part in the garden’s construction, as well as the gardeners Joao Francisco and Jean Bonard. At the time it represented a new design of garden and its beauty and romance made it an English style park in the eyes of many. The garden has also held over the years a number of international flower shows where fine dahlias, bougainvillea and chrysanthemums were displayed. 

A walk through these gardens should involve getting lost among its winding groves and feeding the ducks and carp in the lake.

Incredible thought it may seem, more than a hundred and fifty years after its completion, this peaceful, green area remains as intimate and romantic as it has always been.

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