The public elevators are one of the most popular touristic attractions in Lisbon. Currently, there are four of such funiculars, all operated by Carris (the city’s public transport company). All were designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, an engineer of French descent born in Oporto and contemporary of the renowned engineer Gustave Eiffel. In February 2002, they were all classified as Portuguese national monuments. They result from a public improvements policy, launched in the late nineteenth century in order to make life easier for the population of the seven hills of the city, helping it to overcome the steep Lisbon’s natural slopes. In nowadays, thousands of tourists visit daily the Santa Justa elevator, while the lifts of Glória, Bica and Lavra are still used by locals as visited by travelers. They are open every day of the year and offer, in addition to a real touristic experience, good opportunities to exercise the photographic sense of theirs passengers.
But other mechanical lifts worked in Lisbon during decades. The rua do Crucifixo elevator (aka Chiado’s lift) was a machine that worked by vertical water balance, connecting the rua do Crucifixo to the rua do Carmo, through the Hotel Universal. It opened in 1892 and the upper point of the passengers’ entry and exit was one of the shop windows’ of the Chiado’s department stores, where was a sign that stated “Crucifixo street lift in 20 seconds”. How it attracted few users, was opened to public use only until 1912 and then was integrated within these department stores.