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Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa
© Gonçalo Fonseca
© Museus da Universidade de Lisboa
© Catarina Ribeiro

Lisbon's Astronomical Observatory

  • Original Authors:
  • Jean Colson
  • (1878)

Commissioned by King Peter I of Portugal, the Royal Astronomical Observatory is the institution that establishes the standard time in Portugal. A magnificent example of scientific architecture, it reflected the need to house very peculiar instruments of astronomy, which gave the building a very strong technical character. Its design — by architect Jean Colson, together with José da Costa Sequeira and Valentim José Corrêa — is based on that of the Pulkovo Observatory, in Russia. Its privileged geographic location in regard to some astronomical observations was crucial to its completion. Even though the building’s configuration follows that of the Pulkovo model, it is architectonically richer and benefits from the special context of Tapada da Ajuda. In Portugal, its scientific and historic significance — as well as its archive, collection and library — is unparalleled; it is an in situ scientific patrimony of exceptional quality. Classified as Building of Public Interest in 2002, it is part of MUHNAC-UL since 2012.

Civic Facilities

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