Monday, 26 October 2009

Lisbon 4 - Expo Park

The next day I headed by Metro to the northeast edge of the city, to the site of the 1998 Expo (World Fair). This occupied a long strip of land of several miles, formerly redundant industrial sites, running alongside the river

You arrive at the new Oriente Station, designed by Santiago Calatrava, a huge transport interchange, and emerge to see the back of a pair of new towers which unfortunately will dominate almost everything else you will see on this extensive site.

By general acclaim the most important buildings is the Pavilion of Portugal, designed by Alvaro Siza. Rather frustratingly, it was undergoing some maintenance or repair work, which means my photos can’t do it justice, the ‘slung’ roof over the central ceremonial space being edged with safety barriers. It sits on the edge of a dock basin, is impressive, in a calm and quiet way, and it’s a shame that the more recent constructions around it have sought to be more showy.

At the very northern edge of the site is the spectacular Vasco de Gama Bridge, all 22kms of it – the longest road bridge in Europe. Designed by Armando Rito and opened in 1998 in time for the Expo it is big, wide, carries six lanes of traffic, but from my vantage point is very beautiful.

The photographs are here.

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