The botanical garden of Lisbon was established by the former Escola Politécnica de Lisboa to complement teaching and research at the school, and was laid out between 1873 and 78. The garden contained plants collected from every part of the world to which the Portuguese had extended their influence, and it was held up as an important model for other botanical gardens around the world. In addition to significant collections of preserved specimens and seeds, the garden houses an observatory and the earliest meteorological station in Portugal, with continuous records going back to the nineteenth century. This enchanting enclave of exotic plants has long been open to the public, but it is frequently overlooked.
The botanical garden is both a vital urban open space and a significant cultural landscape; in 2010, it was designated a national monument. A new real estate development has been planned near the garden, and concerns have been raised regarding its potential impact on this historic resource. An important opportunity to concentrate renewed attention on the condition of the garden and on its long-term stewardship is now at hand. A number of civic groups, professional associations, and heritage and nature conservation organizations have mobilized to support this cause.