May 21, 2010

Flags on Rossio Railway Station

Flags on Rossio Railway Station
Lisbon’s most famous station, Rossio Railway Station, with its splendid Neo-Manueline (i.e. 16th-century-Gothic-inspired) façade, used to be known as Central Station, reflecting its historical importance.

Another feature of the station that continues to proclaim that “centrality” is the display of flags that fly smartly from its apex of its entranceway.

In this photo, you can see four flags being flown above the station. They are, from left, the flag of Europe, the flag of Portugal, a flag that looks like it should be the flag of Portuguese Railways – but isn’t (please leave a comment if you know), and the flag of Lisbon.

Flags on Rossio Railway Station, Lisbon, Portugal.

The black and white pattern of the flag of Lisbon is known as a gyronny (or gironny) in heraldry parlance – made up of eight alternatively black and white gyrons - indicating city status. This plain version is the civil version. The “full” version includes the city’s coat of arms in the middle.

Interestingly, in spite of Lisbon having existed more or less as “Lisbon” (originally "Olissipo") at least since the time of Julius Caesar, and in spite of it being incontrovertibly the capital city of Portugal, its status as capital city has never been officially enshrined. It is a purely de facto capital. Besides the fact of Lisbon being the seat of government, the city’s flag is therefore one of the most important visible assertions of its historical status.

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1 comment:

Mike Kraus said...

I will arrive there in just over a month!

mikekraus.blogspot.com