These days we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Expo ’98, a world fair which represented 143 different countries and had 11 million visitors. The first opening day was on the 22nd of May 1998. For us locals it gives us some goose bumps just to think of it. Expo ’98 was 20 years ago? Time flies…
This might seem another important international event which happened 20 years ago in Lisbon, but it is more than that. It was the birth of a new neighbourhood, Parque das Nações, with modern architecture, new life and services, so closed to the water. Here are some of the highlights that we recommend to see or visit for a pleasant different day when visiting the city, away from the busy rush of the most touristy spots. And if you’re staying these next days in Lisbon you will come across with Expo ’98 celebrations!
1. The Oceanário
The main theme of the exhibition was dedicated to the Oceans and it was born the Oceanario, a big aquarium, considered at that time the biggest in the world. Nowadays it isn’t the biggest one but it receives every year over 1 million visitors and was awarded in 2017 by Traveller’s choice Tripadvisor as the best aquarium in the world. There are many activities for kids, including sleeping with sharks! All good reasons to visit it and learn more about our precious oceans.
More info here.
2. The Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva
Also built for the Expo ’98, the Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Knowledge Pavilion) is also a must go for the families with kids. It’s an interactive museum where they can learn many things related to Science and Technology. For more info on activities and events you can find it here.
3. Pavilhão de Portugal
The Portugal’s Pavillion made for the Expo ’98 was designed by the international acclaimed architect, Siza Vieira. It stands out by its unique roof and it is now used by the University of Lisbon for temporary exhibitions and events.
4. Altice Arena
Named for the Expo ’98 as Pavilhão Atlântico, then it was named as Meo Arena and then it changed to Altice Arena and then…any guess? It is considered as one of the biggest indoor arenas in Europe with a capacity of 20 000 people. It has held many events like the Web Summit, and concerts including this year’s Eurovision song contest!
5. Vasco da Gama bridge
How many bridges can you find in Lisbon crossing the Tagus river? Only two and this one is the youngest with only 20 years old, linking Lisbon to towns like Alcochete, Barreiro or Montijo. Its is 12,3 km long, being the longest bridge in Western Europe. Its name is a tribute to the 500 anniversary of Vasco da Gama, the navigator, reaching India.
6. The views
It is probably one of the most pleasant areas in Lisbon to do some jogging, cycling or slowly strolling along the river with no rush. You can even take a cable car to enjoy the views! It’s relaxing atmosphere, modern architecture and beautiful gardens make this neighbourhood a special place!
7. Happy 20th anniversary!
If you are visiting Lisbon these days, then we recommend Parque das Nações. Besides the places that we’ve just highlighted in this article, you will witness the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Expo 98 and the birth of this interesting neighbourhood. The celebrations will be between 25th of May and 2nd of June with a multimedia show at 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm in Portugal Pavilion and it will also be remembered the presence of the strange creatures, called Olharapos, which gave some lively moments during the Expo ’98.