In 1998, the World Expo was held in my hometown – Lisbon. I was 7 years old at the time and even though I barely remember anything from my childhood, I still have very clear and fond memories of the days when I visited the then-Expo. The theme of that year was ‘Oceans’, which is quite fitting if you think that not only is Portugal 50% oceanic coast, but Lisbon itself sits at the very corner where the river Tejo (“Tagus” in English) meets the sea. In fact, most of our riches around the 500’s came from our overseas colonies and trade routes and Lisbon was one of the most important sea ports for commerce throughout the following centuries. But I’m going off on a nerdy tangent.
The Expo ’98 was deemed too good to be destroyed. So many buildings that are now considered important landmarks of the city were built specifically for the event – the Oceanarium, the Pavilhão Atlântico (Lisbon’s biggest concert and events hall), the Portugal Pavillion (designed by renowned architect Álvaro Siza Vieira) and many more – so once the Expo was over the whole area was kept intact (gardens included) – and aptly renamed “Parque das Nações” (Park of the Nations, loosely translated).
If I have a free day when I’m in Lisbon, I always go there, especially when it’s sunny. It’s a kind of citadel, with everything you could possibly need and separate district and street names, all in a little geographic bubble. The gardens are incredibly well-kept, there are many coffee shops and it’s just relaxing and nice to spend an afternoon wandering around with a friend, eating ice-cream and sitting on the grass.
I have a lot more film / analog photographs coming very soon (still need to develop the last roll from Paris and scan the positives from Père LaChaise) including the long-lost pictures of the Philippines. Do stay tuned – and do leave a comment if you like or dislike what I post!