In the heart of Lisbon, overlooking the lively Praça de Figueira, a hospital with a difference has been restoring dolls from Portgual—and the rest of the world—since 1830. Priyanka Sacheti pays a visit to this storied Portuguese institution.
“These are the plastic surgery rooms,” says Manuela Cutileiro of the two sunlit rooms overlooking the market square. A long table occupies each of them, with toy dolls in various states of dismemberment lying upon them, waiting to be brought to life again.
“We have a baby Jesus today, he came with a problem with his fingers,” Manuela continues. “The Hospital happens to be a poly-trauma unit. We have five doll surgeons here, all of whom have received certification.”
It’s a warm Saturday afternoon and, outside, in Lisbon’s Praça de Figueira, the market is in full swing—overflowing with assorted goods from all over Portugal; a bevy of cheeses, wines, meats, pottery, and cork accessories. But here inside the Hospital de Bonecas (the doll hospital)—the world’s oldest—there’s little evidence of the commotion outside.
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