The building that houses Vaults Bistro was erected in the 1670s just around the same time as the Sao Lourenco Church down the road, (an absolute must see) making them the two oldest buildings in the Almancil area. Remarkably, they both survived the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.
Over 85% of the buildings in Lisbon were destroyed. There were several tsunami waves, some reported as high as 20m (66 feet) which caused further destruction and following the earthquake fires raged throughout the affected areas for a week or more.
The remarkable bricked ceiling inside Vaults was created using a series of wooden forms, which outlined the arches, each of which is a different size and shape.
Vaults was originally used as a coaching house and livery stable on the route from Seville to Lisbon. Horses which had pulled the coaches from Spain were exchanged at this way station. There is a well, still extant, underneath the bar area, which was used to water the horses, and sleeping rooms above for the grooms and drivers.
Over the past 345 years the building has had many uses: coach house, butcher shop, pool hall, mosque, wine storage vault and for the past 40 years various restaurants.
We consider ourselves only temporary stewards of this historic building and hope that it will be used and enjoyed for generations to come.
In the black and white photograph below Vaults is the two storey building on the left hand side of the photograph.