Today, the Parque das Nações is a lively, dynamic and multipurpose space. It is the brand of contemporary Lisboa, a place where the city’s inhabitants have fun, enjoy shows, go for a walk, play sport, shop, work and live in quality and harmony.
The Parque das Nações (Park of Nations) is located in the area where the 1998 World Fair was held. It is a large space for public enjoyment that has joined the city and the river. It has also taken advantage, perfectly, of a vast riverfront area with a magnificent view overlooking the opposite bank of the river and the Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest in Europe. Also inaugurated in 1998 as part of the World Fair, it is the fifth longest bridge in the world, measuring 17 km in length, ten of which are located over the waters of the Tagus.
The Expo ’98 was the landmark event which, ten years ago, transformed this eastern zone of the city into a visionary, ambitious and multidisciplinary project that discovered how to bring together and utilise all of Portugal’s areas of activity and knowledge, reconverting an important part of the city by creating a new concept and a modern urban space. It has a train station, an enjoyable shopping centre and an extensive complex that combines culture, leisure, homes and businesses.
There, we find qualified spaces with urban planning suitable for the needs of an ideal, modern city. Residential areas, facilities and services appeared with environmentally integrated urban infrastructures that made decisive contributions to the modernisation and internationalisation of Lisboa. They also brought to Lisboa the features of modern architecture in its most varied expressions.
The scheme drawn up at the time of the World Fair already anticipated the change to an urban environment to be strengthened. For this reason, few changes were made which had not already been already planned for. The period following Expo ’98 witnessed the natural development of the projects anticipated for the surrounding area. In terms of culture, several facilities must be highlighted: the Pavilhão de Portugal (Portugal Pavilion), the Pavilhão Atlântico (Atlantic Pavilion), the Oceanário (Oceanarium), the Área Internacional (International Area), which became the Feira Internacional de Lisboa exhibition centre, and the Estação do Oriente train station.
At the Parque das Nações, one can also find an extensive area of bars, restaurants, esplanades and design shops.
Oceanário de Lisboa
Opened during the Expo’98, the Oceanário de Lisboa is one the largest public aquaria in Europe.
It is the Oceanário’s mission to promote knowledge of the oceans, educating visitors and the public about the necessity of protecting natural resources, through changing their daily habits.
Every year, one million visitors walk through the Oceanário’s exhibits, which rank first as the most visited attraction in Portugal. Students, teachers, families and organized groups may enjoy quite a few activities, including guided tours, theme workshops, seminars, concerts for babies, birthday parties and even spending a very special evening right next to the sharks.
The Oceanário de Lisboa was the first European Public Aquarium to be awarded the 9001, 14001 and EMAS Quality Certificates. Other distinguished acknowledgements include the Valmor Architecture (1998) competition, the International Chiara Science Award and the EMAS Award 2005 (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme).
It also plays a very active role in multiple research and conservation efforts, regularly collaborating with academic and zoological institutions on projects such as CORALZOO, SECORE, FAITAG, and even in situ environmental conservation efforts focusing on Lamprey-eels, from the Tagus estuary, and Sea-turtles in Cape Verde. Together with the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Oceanário created an Award which rewards excellence on scientific projects that encourage a sustainable use of the oceans.
Designed by renowned architect Peter Chermayeff, the Oceanário de Lisboa includes two buildings, connected by a bridge. The exhibits are housed on the main building, which is surrounded by water, evoking a docked ship ready to cast off. The support building features a striking wall with 55 thousand tiles, depicting jumbo sized marine animals.
The Casino Lisboa, with its minimalist architecture and large glass walls, is distributed across three fl oors with 1000 slot machines and 22 gaming tables.
With a third of its total space used for gaming, the Casino Lisboa also has a large venue for shows, the Oceans Auditorium, as well as bars, three restaurants and entertainment areas, distributed across three floors. Besides being a casino, it also aims to strongly promote art and culture with national and international productions.
Pavilion of Knowledge - Ciência Viva
It 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.
Located at “Parque das Nações”, the “Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva” was designed by the architect João Luís Carrilho da Graça and awarded with the Grand Prize of the FAD Jury in 1999 and it is an emblematic building, representative of the architectural shift that took place with EXPO’98.
With an average of 800 visitors a day the “Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva” is nowadays one of Portugal’s most visited museums.
The great hall of Lisboa
The MEO Arena is one of the biggest and most modern covered pavilions in Europe, capable of accommodating all kinds of events. With a 20,000-person capacity, the enclosure hosts nearly 100 events per year.
With an architecture based on the old ships that played a central role in the Portuguese Age of Discovery, the MEO Arena is now the stage for countless sporting events and welcomes the largescale shows that take place in the capital.
Marina Parque das Nações – Lisbon’s new Marina
An urban marina in the city centre, just 5 minutes from the Airport. With 602 berths for Yachts up to 25m and Cruise Ships/Mega Yachts up to 230m, offering a wide range of maintenance services. Situated in the “Parque das Naçoes”, it has one of the most important European natural reserves at its doors.
Pavilhão de Portugal
A multi purpose space
At the 1998 World Fair (Expo ’98), the Pavilhão de Portugal, located at the Parque das Nações in Lisboa, was the building responsible for housing the representation
of the Portuguese nation at that event, and it still stands today. The project was developed by Álvaro Siza Vieira with the assistance of the architect Eduardo Souto de Moura.
The entrance area of the building is a wide plaza covered by an imposing panel of pre-stressed concrete, designed like a sheet of paper resting on top of two bricks. It opens up the area to the city to house the many events that are welcomed by a space of this scale.
Gare do Oriente
Upon arrival at the Parque das Nações, it is impossible not to notice the work of the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The Gare do Oriente station dominates the view, serving as an element of urban order, majestic, and includes a bus terminal, car park, underground station, train station and shopping gallery.
Finally, the Cable Car provides an air trip over the whole of the Park of Nations, along the river Tagus.
The area of the Park of Nations also provides the visitor with bars, restaurants and street cafés as well as a varied range of services. It is an excellent area for walking and for enjoying quiet moments of true culture, leisure and entertainment.