Grand structures and architecture, Lisbon
S. Bento is one of the two main political points of Lisbon and Portugal. The other is Belem, where lives the President of the Republic. Here, in S. Bento, you have the Prime-Minister's residence (from which you can only see the walls, gate, and discreet security), and the Parliament.
Open to escorted visits, it has two important references to me: Democracy, and... allow me...four of my grand uncle's best paintings (some more may be seen in Military Museum and Contemporary art Museum, and other).
If you admire modern architecture, modern gardens, modern art and modern people, Parque das Nações (Expo 98) is for you.
The site of the 1998 exhibition has been restructured as a new neighbourhood, preserving most of the common areas and commercial services.
There are several attractions in the area, with a predominance of young costumers (and foreigners).
One of the jewels in the modern area of Parque das Nações (Expo 98), the station, is an outstanding project of the Spanish Calatrava.
It fits perfectly in the modern buildings that surround it, and besides the important role if plays in actual public transport network, it became an attraction on itself.
The most central train station has been closed for sometime, due to problems in the tunnel.
Now reopened with a face-lift, this neo-manueline building is the most impressive in the short connection between Rossio and Restauradores. But don't limit yourself to the look of its facade: go inside and see its beautiful roof.
The biggest work of the dictatorship was... a copy. Salazar bridge was an important work, reproducing in Europe the Golden Gate of S. Francisco. I saw and crossed both, and... prefer ours!
Not for nationalism, but for three objective reasons:
- The light of Lisbon is unbeatable (even when the fog releases S Francisco's bridge - 25 minutes each year).
- Lisbon's bridge is better framed by the views - The statue of Christ in the southern bank helps a lot.
- Its new name - 25 Abril - helps to remember that, no matter how much the dictators spend promoting their names, history generally ends making justice, and erasing their memory. Don't read back! Do you remember dictator's name?
Brazil, the former colony of Portugal, has a massive statue of Christ on top of a mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro. So eventually Portugal the colonial master also had to have one. I understand that it is the same size with Christ's arms outstretched toward Lisbon across the River Tagus. You can ride a lift at the base for the trip to the top of the statue with a breathtaking view. You can also see this Cristo Rei statue from across the River Tagus when you visit Belem. It's impressive and definitely worth the trip.
Lisbon history is related with the Masonic culture. It's known that Marquês de Pombal (he was like a portuguese prime minister, he rebuilt the downtown after the earthquake of 1755) and D. José (a portuguese king).
When Marquês de Pombal rebuilt the downtown he built it in the Masonic guidelines, there are some details that shows that.´
This is a detail between Rossio Square and Figueira's square.represents a masonic handshake.
It was built in the time Train Station are symbols of modernity and technology.
The main wall of the building refers the myth of the 5th empire. The main doors are two horseshoes - the horse of the future (check photos).
In the middle of the teo horses is a statue of D. Sebastião (check photos), a young portuguese king gone missing in a battle. The legand says he will come again in a fog day to meet the future 5th empire.
Notice that the king is hidding 2 of the 7 castels of the Portuguese coat of arms - a reference to the 5th empire.
In this statue the Portugue coat of arms have an 17 degrees angle - the way it was before King D. João I. This is a representation of the destiny or fade (fado, in Portuguese). By the portuguese mythology the fade of Portugal chages in clicles of 17 years
The statue of D. Sebastião in a Train Station is a symbol of Hope and Waiting.
In the back of the train station there is a square with nice restaurants.
This is Lisbon's "Triumph Arc".
Although a little different from other european's archs, this one is really a must see.
On a street that have many restaurants, shops and street artists, you can enjoy a very nice walk until you reach it.
You can go up and have great view over Lisbon!
If you go through it, you'll be on "Praça do comércio", which is a big square full of cafe's around it and a viewpoint to the sea.
In 1907 the bank Lisboa e Açores built a very beautiful building in rua Augusta. Life has passed by it, Lisboa e Açores became "Totta e Açores" later "Santander Totta" but, fortunately, the building was never modified.
The arch in the north of Praça do Comercio, the start of Rua Augusta, was initially built in 1975, right after the earthquake, but was later demolished after the substitution of Pombal, and rebuilt in 1844 with a new conception.
I don't know why did that happen because, among the statues of the celebrated national figures included in the monument, we may see... Marquês de Pombal
In common Portuguese conversation, when someone says "that is like the works of St Engrácia" that means a never ending work. That phrase was born when the people got convinced that this church, started in 1568 would never be finished.
Officially, it has been finished in 1966, but the initial plans were revised, and there are still four towers missing, justifying the popular expression. With all the stop and go in its construction, it became a strange building where baroque dominates, but with several interpretations. LOcated in a typical quarter near the centre, since 1916 it is the burial place of some of our great figures, the last one Amalia Rodrigues.
We arrived by train to Lisbon from Sintra. Most folks do it the other way around. The station's (with it's beautiful facade) location drops you off close to the action. Stroll the historic city streets. Check out the designs under your feet. Check out the city from above at the Santa Justa Elevator. Lastly try a custard tart or two.
Built in 1846 upon the ruins of a former palace used by Inquisition, the national theatre D. Maria II suffered a strong fire in 1964 saving only the walls.
Being the most emblematic building in Lisbon's main square - Rossio - it was reconstructed respecting the original, reopening in 1978 and being now regularly used with public management.
Metro is the most reliable transport in Lisbon - fast, with a smart network, and a fair price.
The problem for a tourist is that it misses the sights available from buses or trams. Anyway, some stations have artworks, enriching visually the trip.