The Santa Justa Lift also called Carmo Lift is an elevator/lift in civil parish of Santa Justa, in the historical city of Lisbon, situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa. It connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square.) Since its construction, the Lift has become a tourist attraction for Lisbon as, among the urban lifts in the city, Santa Justa is the only remaining vertical one.
The Santa Justa Lift was designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, an engineer born in Porto to French parents. In 1896, Raoul Mesnier petitoned for the concession of this project, in order to establish the Escadinhas de Santa Justa, a request that was contested by Henry Lusseau.
It is included on the historical guides of Lisbon, within the down town Pombaline Baixa area isolated between several older historical buildings in the quarter. It is situated in the Escadinhas de Santa Justa which connects the Baixa to the Rua do Carmo. The Escadinhas are actually part of the north-eastern urban wall of the Baixa and west of the Rua de Santa de Justa. Access is established by the elevator to many of the important zones of the city. To the north, towards the Rossio (Pra?a D. Pedro IV and Avenida da Liberdade); to the south, the (Terreiro do Pa?o) Pra?a do Com?rcio and the river zone; while in the upper zone, there is access to the Largo do Carmo, the Trindade, Church of S?o Roque and the Bairro Alto quarter. In addition, the panormaic views allow glimpses of the Castle of S?o Jorge, the Tagus River, the lower part of the Baixa, the National Theatre D. Maria II, while the upper entrance permits a view of the ruins of the Monastery of Nossa Senhora do Vencimento do Monte do Carmo.
The Elevator is a vertical structure, developed along the Rua de Santa Justa, consisting of a metallic tower, observation platform, walkway and base. Its base includes four vertical columns, each composed of two pillars. The largest part of the structure runs parallel to the Rua de Santa Justa. With a height of 45 metres, covering seven stories, the tower includes two elevator cabins, decorated in wood, mirrors and windows, and an initial capacity for 24 passengers in each (updated to 29 people later). The structure includes a dozen transverse beams, forming a double lattice, supported at the top by foundations at the Escadinhas de Santa Justa. On the sides of the elevator, the walkway is articulated by means of bearings, as well as on the pillars, which is articulated at the base.
On the top floor is a kiosk and lookout, with panoramic views of the city, while connections to the floors below are made (in addition to the elevator) by two spiral staircases, with different patterns on each storey. The main machinery was installed at the base of the Elevator, while at the exit to the Largo do Carmo there is a veranda to allow circulation. The corridor that passes above the structure, was transformed into a terrace, and exits to Largo do Carmo through an iron gate. The space destined the electrical equipment was located under the Escadinhas, in a space set aside for this purpose, under a vaulted ceiling.
The Lift is decorated in a Neo-Gothic style in iron. Since this was a new material at the time of its construction, it is symbolic of the technical and memorial construction from this period, representing the culture of the 1900s, when the structure and elevators were considered a magical innovation and portent of a modern age.