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Lisbon, Portugal

Hospital de Bonecas

Catering to broken dolls for almost 200 years, this repair shop is now a charnel house of doll parts. 

Sitting behind a pair of innocuous glass doors in Lisbon, Portugal is a miraculous doll repair shop that has managed to remain in the same spot, bringing beloved playthings back to life for almost two centuries. 

According to the story on their website, it all started with a woman named Miss Carlota, who would sit on her stoop and craft cloth dolls for the local children. Eventually, the children would bring them their own dolls to be repaired, and Carlota would act like a doll doctor, and patch them up. Eventually her services became so popular that they were able to actually open a doll hospital at 7 Praça Figueira. That was in 1830, and the shop has been going strong for the 180+ years since. 

Not only is this one of the oldest doll hospitals in the world, but you quickly realize that this is a home to the hundreds of dolls and the family which created it. Down the decades, any doll that was not claimed was added to their now extensive “museum.” In reality it is a wild and wooly collection of separated doll parts from over a century of styles of dolls. There are racks of heads and arms, cases of eyes, and racks of half-finished “patients.” 

For only 2 euros you see the many draws of limbs, eyes, beds of ill patients, and rooms full of visitors. From old to new, the extensive collection of dolls will leave you nostalgic and astonished in equal measure.

Know Before You Go

Easily walked to from the central shopping district. Located on the Praça da Figueira square easily accessed by busses 12E,15E, 208,714,736,737,760 or short walk from the metro, Rossio.

Contributed by
c cmbucknell
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