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Casa Dos Bicos

Lisbon, Portugal
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The Casa dos Bicos (Portuguese for House of the Spikes) is a historical house in the city of Lisbon, in Portugal. The house, built in the early 16th century in the Alfama neighbourhood, has a curious facade of Renaissance and Manueline influence. It has survived the disastrous 1755 Lisbon Earthquake that destroyed much of the city.

The Casa dos Bicos was built around 1523 by Bras de Albuquerque (1501-1581), son of the first governor of Portuguese India, Afonso de Albuquerque. Bras de Albuquerque had spent some years in Italy, where he could get first hand contact with Italian Renaissance architecture. He presumably saw urban palaces like the Palazzo dei Diamanti, in Ferrara, that have facades covered with diamond-shaped spikes. Upon his return to Portugal, Bras de Albuquerque built the Casa dos Bicos with a facade featuring "diamonds" like in the Italian palace, but incorporating Manueline (Portuguese late Gothic) windows and portals.

In the 1980s the house was restored and partially rebuilt. The two upper storeys of the current main facade were rebuilt based on pre-1755 drawings and paintings, which showed a Renaissance loggia on the third floor and the Manueline-style windows. Archaeological excavations were carried out inside the house, revealing remnants of Roman and Moorish periods.