Casa dos Bicos Lisbon

One of Lisbon’s architectural treasures, the Casa dos Bicos (or House of Pointed Stones) stands just off the city’s main square, Praça do Comércio.

Built in 1523 and once a residence of the Albuquerque family, this curiously-faceted building in the heart of Lisbon is worth seeing for its unusual façade of pyramid-shaped pointed stones, a style popular in Mediterranean Europe during the 16th century.

The top two storeys were ruined in the earthquake of 1755 but intricately restored in 1983 in line with the building’s original design, as illustrated in several early engravings and one in particular etched on an early 18th century glazed tile which shows in some detail the balustraded upper windows and balconies in the Manueline architectural style.

Closed to the public for many years, the Casa dos Bicos is currently enjoying a tourism revival almost five hundred years after its original construction. Its location on Rua dos Bacalhoeiros at Campo das Cebolas makes it quickly and easily accessible to visitors wandering on foot from the city centre in the direction of the ancient Alfama district.

To add further appeal, the recent addition of the Saramago Foundation inside the building portrays the life and work of Portugal’s worthy recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998. Born and raised in a small village in central Portugal, José Saramago became a prolific novelist and was described at his death in 2010 as the greatest Portuguese writer of his generation.