The stairs are three steps and two elegant obelisks that give access to the Pelican, requalified in 2015. This patio, formerly, was denominated of lookout or Moisés ground, the most beautiful part of the architecture of gardens existing in Portugal, a hymn to the Baroque gardens.
It was called the Moisés ground because the figure of Moisés once stood on the top of the waterfall of the Phoenix or the Pelican, representing the liberator and legislator of Israel, delivering their people from slavery in Egypt, when in the exodus it caused them to sprout, in the midst of the desert, and, beating a fraga, water to calm the thirst of the fugitives. The statue was taken from the primitive site to occupy the top of a boulder in the Water-Moth, in an allusion to the miracle, with the gesture of, with a stick striking the boulder, to sprout the water that feeds the lake. The statue of Moisés, carved in 1760-1761, was previously on a boulder that occupied part of the place where the staircase of the Virtues was erected and it was exactly because of the construction of this one that rock was demolished, passing the statue of Moisés to occupy the top of the waterfall and Pelicano fountain. From the base of the boulder sprouted a shaft of crystalline water. However, this statue was once again transferred, in the first half of the 20th century, into the park on a boulder overlooking the large lake, where it is currently.
Ample landscaped and enveloping space, with an elliptical trajectory, or circular patio separating the staircase from the virtues of the Basilica’s churchyard, where it pontificates a waterfall with the figure of the Pelican, which rips the chest to feed the children with their own blood. This is another symbolic element that reminds us of the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Christ: who gives his own flesh to feed others. From the wound flows an abundant water, which falls in catadupa in three semicircular bowls, and collected in a basin at the level of the ground. On the border wall of this enclosure, therefore, is the graceful fountain of the Pelican, called the waterfall, where the representation of a pelican is required, with the children around it.
Let us now turn your attention to the plicano fountain, in the center of the ground, with a convex plan, forming a perfect back center niche framed by rustic pilasters, surmounted by urns, with the representation of the Pelican inside. The design of the waterfall was offered by the sculptor Jerónimo António da Silva in 1819, while the figure of Pelicano was executed by the master José Luis.
Formerly, on the pretext that it fed its young with its flesh and blood, the Pelicano was regarded as a symbol of paternal love. For this reason the Christian iconography considers it symbol of Christ.
The beautiful length of the Pelicano, where the balance of proportions predominates and the beauty of the composition, is due to the risk of Carlos Amarante. It is a small rossio that anticipates, sublimely, the ascent to the temple, through two flights of stairs around half a spiral. The elegant cutouts of the two symmetrical stairways, as well as the central fountain, complete with obelisks, complete the neoclassical set, elegantly trimmed by the side and front gardens.
This length was built in the precise place where the elipsoidal chapel of D. Rodrigo de Moura Teles existed. The descriptions of this chapel speak of a construction with eight pilasters in buttress, crowned by angels with the emblems of the passion. In 1780, the pressure of the vault displaced the walls and it was thought in the construction of a new temple.
The broad singular is completed by garden beds and, at both ends, by two chapels, the most recent of the set, with sculptural groups attributed to Fonseca Lapa.