It was built between 1732 and 1733 by Nicolau Nasoni, an Italian architect who left his mark on many of the city’s buildings. The fountain stands as a testament to the Baroque architecture that was popular during this time period.
The most striking feature of the fountain are its four large stone lions which stand guard over it from each corner. These majestic creatures were sculpted by João Frederico Ludovice, another master craftsman from Italy who worked with Nasoni on other projects around Porto. The figures have become iconic symbols of the city and are often featured in photographs taken at the site.
While there has been some debate about whether these statues depict real African lions or mythical beasts such as griffins or sphinxes, they remain one of Porto’s most beloved landmarks today. In addition to their impressive size and detail, they also serve as reminders of Portugal’s colonial past, when exotic animals were brought back to Europe from Africa and Asia for display in menageries across the continent.
The Lion’s Fountain can be found near Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Square) which is just off Rua de Santa Catarina (Santa Catarina Street). This area is home to numerous restaurants and shops, so visitors can enjoy a meal after admiring this magnificent structure up close.