Ascenor da Nazare 1889 – 2014:
2014 marks the 125th anniversary of the Nazare’s Funicular. This century-old public transport mode was inaugurated on July 28, 1889. The funicular railway is considered to be one of the better initiatives of the town’s history, allowing the growth and development of the district of Sitio, on top of the hill, as well as providing an easier access to the beach quarter. Before the funicular railway was built, access was quite difficult as there were only a gravel walking path or a 3 km road from Sitio to Nazare town.
The person responsible for the project was Raul Mesnie du Ponsard, yet another pupil of Gustave Eiffel. He was also responsible for most of Lisbon’s cable cars.
The cable line is 380m long and has a slope of 42%. Until 1963, a steam machine used to pull the first cars. These were replaced in 1968 by newer and safer electric cars. These cars worked tirelessly until 2001 when they were replaced by more modern, comfortable and safer wagons in July 2002.
Nazare’s ascensor is a public transport means for local residents and also makes it possible for visitors like us to go up to the Sitio lookout and upper district of Sitio. It carries more than 1 million people throughout the year.
The elevator leaves from Rua do Elevator, on the northen side of the beach – the locals call it an elevator. The ride is very comfortable and our trip today costs 1.80 Euro return per person. This is certainly the best value ride that we’ve taken and the views from Sitio are amazing.