Santa Justa Elevator: French style, Lisbon Views
Santa Justa elevator (Elevador, in portuguese), also referred to as Carmo Lift, is more than just a public mode of transport. For one, it’s well-known for its grand architectural style and filigree. It’s also the only column-style lift in the city, connecting the downtown Baixa district and the higher neighborhood of Bairro Alto.
The lift also has a remarkable history, being created around 1902 and, then, steam was used to run it. By 1907, however, electricity became into use and the lift was transformed to operate with electrical power.
Elevador de Santa Justa was built by Gustave Eiffel’s follower, Raul Ponsard. This explains the resemblance in style between the lift and the Eiffel Tower.
Today, the lift stands at 45 meters in height and features a Neo-Gothic design, with two cabins, featuring seemingly Victorian design and a wooden framework. When full, each of these cabins can carry around 20 to 25 persons on the continuous trips up and down the hill.
You can take the Santa Justa elevator through Rua de Santa Justa (bottom level) or through a passage coming from Largo do Carmo (Top level). To use it, a fee is due which is close to the price of a bus ride. Inside, there are no buttons to press, as there are only two stops: Top or Bottom. However you don’t have to worry about the operation, as this is provided by authorized personnel always onsite.
During the trip you can immerse yourself to the sight of various patterns you see in every story of Santa Justa lift. Once you get to the top, you can then climb the winding forged steel staircase, until you can reach the viewing platform. It’s the best spot to get a panoramic view of the entire city, especially Tagus River, Castle of St. George and the downtown district.
After your contemplating moments at the top, you can continue to the upper exit, which will lead you to Carmo Archaeological Museum and Carmo Church ruins. Or, if you’re into more mundane activities you can proceed to the close by Bairro Alto district with bustling shops and nightlife.