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Park of the Nations
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrPark of the Nations, located on the eastern side of Lisbon, is not only a park, but rather an area of Lisbon. The site, previously an industrial area comprising of a petrol refinery and some other things, was transformed in the 1990s and attracts its visitors with its 21st century modern architecture.
The Parque das Nações was built for Expo 98, which turned the former industrial area into one of the most prized residential, leisure, and commercial hotspots in Lisbon. The park was built with the general theme of “The oceans, a heritage for the future” and some 130 countries and international organizations participated.
The buildings were sold for after-Expo purposes. Several pavilions continued as a permanent Lisbon Fair, the entrance section was turned into a shopping center. Other pavilions got a new life as indoor arena, a science museum, bowling alleys, and casino.
Today, it is a beautiful area for walking, culture, leisure, and entertainment. There is a promenade along the river and the Vasco da Gama Shopping Mall is one of the largest malls in the country. In terms of culture, several facilities must be highlighted - the Pavilhão de Portugal, the Pavilhão Atlântico, the Oceanário, the Área Internacional and the Estação do Oriente train station.
The Estação do Oriente, designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava, with amazing expanses of glass and steel, it's well worth a look even if you aren't catching a train.
The Garcia de Orta Garden and the Water Garden should not to be missed. Or if you are travelling with children, visit the kid's park, themed gardens, and Music Garden. If you are a fan of live concerts you should visit the Atlantic Pavilion where well-appointed shows are regularly held.
What to See
OceanariumLisbon’s Oceanarium is one of the world’s largest aquariums with rich fauna and flora of the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Antarctic. The Oceanário de Lisboa includes two buildings, connected by a bridge. The exhibits are housed on the main building, which is surrounded by water. The support building features a striking wall with 55,000 tiles, depicting jumbo-sized marine animals. The central tank houses the most spectacular marine animals, including Sharks, Rays, schools of fish, Eels, and even a Sunfish.
Vasco da Gama TowerThe 145 m high Torre Vasco da Gama, with panoramic views of the park, river, and city, is Lisbon’s tallest building. It has an observation platform and restaurant, two-thirds of the way up. The shape is a reference to the caravel ships that the Portuguese explorers used on their voyages during Portugal's golden Age of Discoveries. Next are the twin towers of São Gabriel and São Rafael, named after two of Vasco da Gama's ships.
Pavilion of KnowledgeCiência Viva is an interactive science and technology museum. Mainly games-based, its exhibitions and activities allow children to explore a variety of themes in an interactive and fun way. The Pavilion offers permanent and temporary exhibitions, conferences, debates, and many other activities all housed in yet another fine example of modern architecture.
Cable CarTake a ride on the cable car which gives magnificent views of Parque das Nações. The cable car runs parallel to the river along the full length of the site. The 8-minute ride will take you from the Vasco da Gama tower at the northern edge to the Oceanarium at the southern edge of the park.
Vasco da Gama Shopping MallVasco de Gama Shopping Mall is located in the entrance of the Nations Park, between two striking twin towers designed to look like giant sailboats. It is a shopping center with unique architectural features 170 stores, including 33 restaurants, 6 cinema screens, a health club, and various customer service options. It has beautiful balconies with a panoramic view of the Tejo River .
Vasco da Gama BridgeAlthough not actually part of the Park of Nations, the Vasco da Gama Bridge is worth to mention. Ponte Vasco da Gama is the largest bridge in Europe with a length of 11 miles The Vasco da Gama Bridge was named after the famous maritime explorer and was built just in time for the World’s Fair to celebrate the 500th anniversary of his discovery of the sea route to the India. It is solely a road bridge, so cannot be accessed via foot, but viewing the bridge is easy from various parts of the park including the cable cars.
Getting There & AroundThe easiest way to get to the Park of Nations is by Metro, which stops at the Oriente Station, right in front of the Shopping Center. The area is best to explore on foot, but if you want to save your legs - the tourist train passes by the main spots and attractions every twenty minutes.
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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Sep 25, 2014