The Largo do Carmo is currently a calm, tranquil square even if it has been the scene of some of the most turbulent moments in Portuguese history.
The Pombaline buildings and the 18th century fountain in the centre of the square are evidence of the reconstruction work carried out in the wake of the devastation of the 1755 earthquake. There is no clearer sign of the damage caused than the ruins of the Carmo Convent that was never to be fully restored.
Part of the convent became the headquarters of the Republican National Guard.
This was the site of one of the most significant incidents in the Carnation Revolution of 1974. On the 25th April 1974, prime minister Marcello Caetano, who had been in power for 48 years, sought refuge in the headquarters. Out in the square, gathered a company of the Armed Forces who had led the revolution and thousands of citizens who cheered on events as they unfurled. The headquarters were eventually successfully captured under the leadership of captain Salgueiro Maia.
On the same day, successful operations both in Lisbon and across Portugal, including the seizing of the state radio and television buildings, the Bank of Portugal, the military headquarters in Lisbon and Oporto, the capital´s airport, prisons and the secret police headquarters, right by Chiado in Rua António Maria Cardoso, resulted in the collapse of the dictatorial regime. With the Carnation Revolution, the Estado Novo (New State) came to an end with freedom of speech and the democratic regime of modern Portugal established. 25th April is now a national holiday.