History of the Portuguese cobblestone
Traditional Portuguese pavement (cobblestone) is a historical heritage of the Roman culture and construction technology, which was imposed in Portugal in the fourteenth century during the reign of D. João II. The Portuguese cobblestone has we know it today, was originated in 1842 at S.Jorge Castle in Lisbon by the vision of its governor, Lieutenant General Candido Pinheiro Eusebio Furtado. The castle and the surroundings were transformed in a carpet of white limestone pebbles, with a zigzag pattern in black basalt stone, where there were introduced flowers, trees and mosaic pavement.
The obtained effect was such that the Castle gardens soon became the city’s favourite location for Lisbon inhabitants. This has led to the city council’s recognition of the excellent work of the military engineer Eusebio Furtado, who had deep knowledge of Roman techniques.
In 1848, Eusebio Furtado saw his project approved for the Rossio Square. Rossio Square is a site with an area of 8712 square meters, which was completed in 323 days. This project introduced the white and black “Vidraço” limestone pavement, and was named “Largo Mar” (wide sea) in honour of the Portuguese discoveries.
Most of the streets in Lisbon downtown were paved with basalt, namely, Camões Square in 1867, Principe Real in 1870, City Council’ Square in 1876, Cais do Sodre in 1877 and Chiado in 1894.
The opening of Avenida da Liberdade took place in 1879, and in 1908 it was extended to Marques de Pombal , where beautiful sidewalks were introduced with stunning design pavements, making Lisbon a reference for this kind of pavement art.
Currently, we can contemplate the Portuguese pavement worldwide, in cities such as Rio de Janeiro (the famous “Calçadão”), Luanda, Maputo, Macao, New York, among others, where it is recognized and appreciated as a successful demonstration of the Portuguese culture.