Parque Mayer: Lisbon Historic District of Entertainment

A square in Lisbon & a custom sign: 'Parque Mayer, Lisbon historic district of entertainment'
A square in Lisbon & a custom sign: 'Parque Mayer, Lisbon historic district of entertainment'

Parque Mayer is Lisbon鈥檚 historic district, used for local entertainment in Lisbon, Portugal.

In its prime, Parque Mayer had four theaters that held a diverse range of performances, with a space in between used for summer fairs. You could have enjoyed musicals, comedies, and dramas there, and eat some delicious food.

It has lost most of the use now, though there are many attempts by Lisbon officials to revive it.

Park Mayer Lisboa location is between Lisbon Botanical Garden and the western end of Avenida da Liberdade, the grand boulevard leading to Baixa Pombalina ( the historic center of Lisbon).

The current Parque Mayer was formerly a segment of the Palacete Mayer's lush gardens, adjusted to the Mayer Palace.

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History of Parque Mayer

During the reign of the Marquis of Pombal, a religious order has owned the land where Parque Mayer stands and a grand palace which eventually faced abolition.

Later, the property was sold to the Marquise of Alorna and passed through various hands until it was acquired by Adolfo Lima Mayer (1838-1918).

Under Mayer's ownership, the former Marquise's palace was demolished and replaced with the Palacete Mayer, along with its lavish gardens.

After Adolfo Lima Mayer's death in 2018, his heirs opened a club in the Mayer Palace, and then put the property for sale. It was purchased by Artur Brand茫o in 1920.

In 1921, Brand茫o sold the gardens to Lu铆s Galhardo, (actually, the major shareholder of a company of 10 different owners), a journalist and theatrical impresario who dreamed of creating an entertainment area similar to the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen or Coney Island in New York City.

Lu铆s Galhardo established an amusement park, now known as Parque Mayer.

Galhardo envisioned a vibrant entertainment hub inspired by renowned attractions like the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and Coney Island in New York City.

He established the Avenida Parque Company (Sociedade Avenida Parque), which initially provided entertainment similar to that found at local fairs in Portugal, such as wrestling and boxing matches, merry-go-rounds, and shooting galleries.

The lavish gardens, attached to the Mayer Palace were replaced by pavement. It required a lot of work, as the gardens had 2 lakes. Sociedade Avenida Parque need the space for their outdoor entertainments鈥 hub.

In 1922, the new venue, called Avenida Parque was opened. However, soon everyone started calling is Parque Mayer, and the name stuck.

The park had open-air terraces and even the Egyptian Esplanade.

Additional attractions were later added, including restaurants, a skating rink, a circus, dodgem cars, and an open-air cinema. Portuguese Pavilion and Alhambra were also added to the park.

During the 30s, when fado music became a popular national pleasure, these pavilions hold fado performances during the warm summer night. They were very popular and always sold out.

According to GetLisbon , Parque Mayer had shops and services, that added to the park's charm. There was a photo studio Foto Parque, a hairdresser, everyone loved - The Artistic Salon, a clothing store, and many cozy restaurants, frequevent by the locals.

At its prime, Parque Mayer had four theaters that showcased a diverse range of performances including revues, musicals, comedies, and dramas.

These theaters were Teatro Maria Vit贸ria, Teatro Variedades, Teatro Capit贸lio, and Teatro ABC. There was held a variety of shows, similar to Teatro de Revista.

Unfortunately, the Teatro ABC was demolished in 2015, and Teatro Variedades has remained unused since 1992.

The other two theaters, Teatro Maria Vit贸ria and Teatro Capit贸lio, continue to operate, albeit having undergone renovations and enduring fires throughout the years.

Beyond its theaters, Parque Mayer provided many other attractions: restaurants, a skating rink, a circus, boxing matches, dodgem cars, and even an open-air cinema.

It served as a popular destination for people interested in entertainment and Lisbon's nightlife.

Parque Mayer Today

Parque Mayer today is a not what it used to be.

It was created as a summer amusement park in 1921, and it had four theatres and other attractions. However, it suffered from fires, degradation, and competition from other forms of leisure.