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Royal Botanical Garden in Lisbon

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We will talk about the first botanical garden in Lisbon. It was designed in the late Baroque style. And it is considered one of the most important cultural institutions devoted to the natural history of the country. This Botanical Garden was built by Marquis de Pombal in the area of Ajuda, as a part of the palace complex, which includes the Museum of Natural History and Physics, as well as a workshop for the training of princes.

Jardim Botanico da Ajuda: Royal Botanical Garden

Royal Botanical Garden in Lisbon, Portugal

Royal Botanical Garden in Lisbon, Portugal

In those days, it was decided to arrange the gardens in the regular style, in compliance with the strict symmetry – as Italian or French chateau parks. An Italian naturalist was invited for design of the Royal Botanical Garden, the future professor of the University of Coimbra, Domingos Vandelli, who enriched the collection of the garden with plants from his native city of Padua.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, which are located on two levels, are not inferior to the court park. At the entrance there are the peacocks. The park ranger has fun with bird training and proudly displays their achievements.

On the upper terrace there is a collection of plants grouped by continents, from which they were taken. This garden, in contrast to the later appearing botanical collections, for example, on the island of Madeira, is focused on the colonial plants. Such a kind of exhibition of achievements of the Portuguese conquests, but in the field of gardening.

Everything is very neat: well maintained, signed, numbered. Cheerful Portuguese can be real pedants for use of botanical science. But it was not always so.

In the first quarter of the XIX century, Felix de Silva Avellar Brotero, Portuguese professor of botany and agriculture, the author of “Flora Lusitanica”, restructured the garden by class, using the best systems available at that time. He greatly expanded the number of species from both mainland Portugal and from overseas possessions. Using every opportunity to research, the scientist sent expeditions to collect seeds and plants in Angola, Brazil and Cape Verde.

Greenhouses, three fountains and collection of plants, preserved amazing items to this day. Among them there is a dragon-tree in the Royal Botanical Garden on the island of Madeira. They say that the tree is more than 400 years old.

Since the time of the proclamation of the Portuguese Republic in 1920, the Botanical Garden of Ajuda is owned by agricultural faculty of the Technical University of Lisbon. In the same year, it opened the doors for the general public.

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