Palace of the Counts of Coculim Campo das Cebolas Lisbon

Palace of the Counts of Coculim, Campo das Cebolas, Lisbon

The former Palace of the Counts of Coculim is in Campo das Cebolas in Lisbon. With the 1755 earthquake, this area was destroyed and now Phoenician remains can be found in Lisbon and their legacy!

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Campo das Cebolas was probably the origin of Lisbon's vegetable market. Previously located in Terreiro do Paço and transferred here when the court left Castelo de S. Jorge and settled in the Terreiro do Paço. current Commerce Square.

For this reason, since the end of the XV century, the place has been designated as Campo das Cebolas.

Palace of the Counts of Coculim in Campo das Cebolas

The Palace of the Counts of Coculim dates back to the XVI century and was almost completely destroyed by the 1755 earthquake and the fire and tsunami that followed.

The Casa de Linhares, which also collapsed in the 1755 earthquake, is located on the back street and was where the Counts of Linhares lived. It's a today fado house.

Who were the Counts of Coculim

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Conde de Coculim is a noble title created by King D. Afonso VI of Portugal and attributed to D. Francisco de Mascarenhas, the second son of João de Mascarenhas. This was the 1st Marquês de Fronteira, a title conferred for services rendered to the Crown in Cuncolim, in the old Portuguese State of India.

Palace of the Count of Coculim by Dom Francisco de Mascarenhas, Campo das Cebolas Lisbon; Photo João Goulart
Palace of the Count of Coculim by Dom Francisco de Mascarenhas, Photo João Goulart

Coculim was the adopted name, although with an incorrect spelling, as it was originally Cuncolim in the Municipality of Salsete, an island, northwest of India.

The Count of Coculim lived in this Palace until the 1755 earthquake, after which he moved with his family from Campo das Cebolas to Fontainhas.

Palace of the Count of Coculim by Dom Francisco de Mascarenhas, Stone of arms of the sub-western corner; Campo das Cebolas Lisbon; Photo Armando Maia Serôdio
Palace of the Count of Coculim by Dom Francisco de Mascarenhas, Stone of arms of the sub-western corner Photo Armando Maia Serôdio

Archaeological Research at the Palace of Coculim

The site is well known and there are old engravings that illustrate it. After the 1755 earthquake it was rebuilt. In those times there was no protected heritage, as the imperative was to quickly accommodate people and life to go on.

The Palace was transformed in 1858 into a Sommer iron warehouse and, later, into an office for the Leiria cement company.

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Even before the 1755 earthquake, there were fights, wars and invasions that made a large part of Lisbon an amalgamation of constructions, one on top of the other.

The Phoenicians lived here

We all know that in Lisbon, whenever there are works that involve raising the ground, it is very likely that we will find a medieval pier, a cemetery of which there was no record or remains of the daily life of Romans, Muslims, Christians, Phoenicians, Hebrews and Carthaginians.

It is Ancient Lisbon from the times of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans!!

The Lusitanos were not enough for these avalanches.

We Finally Found Traces of the Phoenician Civilization

We already knew that the Phoenicians had walked along the coastline of Portugal and not only in Lisbon, as there is also evidence of this passage in Alcácer do Sal, Santarém and Castro Marim. Traces of the Phoenician civilization had already been found, but it was thought that they only passed through here to trade and had not settled and acculturated.

The Phoenician civilization, one of the oldest, had its territory in present-day Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, northern Israel and the entire Mediterranean, between 1.500 b.C. and 300 b.C.

The Phoenicians are believed to have arrived in Lisbon in the VII century b.C. and laid the foundation for a significant trade route between the Mediterranean and Europe. The Tagus River and its estuary area allowed the establishment of a port that would be used to trade metals such as tin

We finally found proof that, in addition to commerce, they stayed here.

A Phoenician stele, written in Phoenician alphabet, the oldest found in Western Europe and present in the old Palace of the Counts of Coculim, Campo das Cebolas in Lisbon.

Phoenician Civilization, the legacy of Phoenician writing in Lisbon
Phoenician civilization, the legacy of Phoenician writing

The Text on the Stele of the Phoenicians

There are three lines of text, one of which is fragmented, but which leaves no doubt for archaeologists and specialists.

It is a funerary dedication in Phoenician, with probable reference to indigenous names, dating from the VII th century b.C.

Whoever wrote on the tombstone wanted others to see and read it and, therefore, it is thought that there was an acculturation of the places with the Phoenicians.

The funerary stele found “heavy and with scarce handling marks, suggests that it was engraved on the spot” as referred Nuno Neto.

A Hotel in the Old Palace of the Counts of Coculim

After excavating the site for almost two years and recovering some gems, the owner of the Hotel, sensitive to this heritage, integrated it into the project and made it visitable. A kind of 5-star Museum, just like the Lisbon Eurostars Museum.

Here we find Roman remains, side by side with those from the Phoenicians and from the more recent Moors.

Roman ruins covered by the 1755 earthquake; Phoenicians and Romans in Lisbon
Roman ruins covered by the 1755 earthquake

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