[By Pedro Alves in Lisbon] Every historical town or city has lots of variety to sketch but I guess that every single one of them has that special place (or more...) that makes you sketch a thousand times and not get bored. Well, this is one of those places (one of many) that Lisbon has to offer. Next to one iconic church, a historical square and the most famous liquor shop Ginginha, Largo de São Domingos or Saint Domingos Square as it is called in English.
It's special to me because as an urban planner as I was, I always loved variety in a city, and this tiny square has six streets and alleys converging to it, each one with its own character and personality. It's surrounded by buildings of different eras, heights, textures and uses that creates a rich atmosphere full of vibrant colours and deep shadows that makes every sketcher just fall in love with it, instantly.
During the morning period, afternoon or night it's constantly packed with lots of different people from around the globe speaking a huge variety of languages, some of them I can't even recognize. Some just pass by, others stay to drink that famous Ginginha, others start selling stuff and I open my sketchbook to register all that.
Last but not the least, the Igreja Sao Domingos church with a dreadful past. A victim of countless earthquakes all over the years since its inception in 1241, the latest catastrophe being the 1959 fire that almost razed it to the ground. After a long restoration, it reopened its doors in 1994 but it is still showing the scars left by the fire.
Pedro Alves is an architect based in Torres Vedras, Portugal, but works as an architectural illustrator in Lisbon. He's a member of Urban Sketchers Portugal and is one of the coordinators of regional group Oeste Sketchers (West Sketchers Portugal). You can check his blog here.