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Nations Park

Nations Park (44)

If you have already walked through the winding alleyways of “la Alfama”, ridden the steep streets in a wooden elevator tram or felt real “saudade” from the strings of a Portuguese guitar, the “Parque das Naçoes”, as it is known in Portuguese, will show you a different side to Lisbon.

The area that is home to this lovely spot and housed the Universal Exhibition in 1998, was still a barren, unpopulated industrial estate in 1990. However, it is now the lively nucleus of a new, modern zone located on the eastern shores of the Tajo.

This district is particularly lively at weekends. It is best to get here by metro and arrive at the spectacular Eastern station whose architectural design is typical of its creator, the Spaniard Santiago Calatrava. 

Another example of contemporary architecture in the area is the Pavilion of Portugal by Álvaro Siza Viera, whose enormous forged iron roof hangs over the entrance, like the sail of a ship.

The Pavilion of Macau is the only example of Portuguese presence in Macau. Behind its façade is an exact reproduction of the city, including a garden of paradise. 

It is possible to get to all the pavilions by walking along the pleasant, fountain-filled Water Path. While you could also go to the “Garcia dede Orta” Gardens on the banks of the river and take a cable lift there and back.

Following the river, a ride in the cable lift offers, as you can imagine, a moving view of this part of the city and lets you discover this impressive, modern and technological side to it. 

The park also houses the Pavilion of Knowledge, which is home to a science and technology museum with various interactive exhibitions. For more adult visitors we recommend the Pavilion of Virtual Reality and its high-tech, multi-sensory exhibitions.

Also located in the park is “Oceanário”, Europe’s biggest aquarium in the present day, which pays homage to the 1998 Expo’s main theme: oceans. Both kids and adults will enjoy a visit here, be sure not to miss it. 

You will also find near by the “Vasco de Gama” Commercial Centre which has over one hundred and seventy shops and sees thousands of Lisbonites some through its doors every weekend. 

Lisbon’s tallest building also lies in the “Parque das Naçoes”. This is the “Vasco de Gama” tower and as is expected, amazing views over the whole city are available from the top.

Sharing the great explorer’s name is one of this modern urban centre’s jewels: the “Vasco de Gama “ Bridge. This structure is seventeen kilometres long and the second longest bridge in Europe after the one connecting Sweden and Denmark. It was inaugurated in 1998 as part of the preparation for Expo.

Designed by the prestigious company of Jean Vassord, this bridge was built to help solve the continuous problems caused by traffic crossing from one side of the river to the other. The emblematic 25th April Bridge just could not cope alone.

The sight of the bridge is impressive, almost reaching to the horizon. Together with the Channel Tunnel, it stands as one of the most significant civil architectural projects of the 20th century. Just think that the magnitude of the work involved made it essential to take into account the curvature of the earth.  

Expo 98 radically transformed this part of the city and Lisbon’s inhabitants have known how to look after it and give it life. The park represents the rebirth of the city and has helped it look towards the future.

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