Tour Locations | Lisbon: The Age of Discovery
LOCATION 14 | Lisbon: The Age of Discovery
The Monumental Fountain
Continue around the fountain, keeping to the right of it.
Have a look at it as you walk.
Notice the modernist features that also contain traditional and ancient symbols, like the armillary sphere or the cross of the order of Christ. Quirky, right?
This area was called "Restelo Beach" during the 1500s. Back then, the river shores reached right up to the edge of the Monastery.
It was once a quiet neighbourhood on the outskirts of Lisbon, but was transformed and redesigned in 1939 to receive the Great Portuguese World Exhibition. This was an initiative of the autocratic regime led by António Salazar.
The Exhibition was created to celebrate the double centenary: 1140, for the conquest of Lisbon by King Afonso Henriques, and 1640, for the independence from Spain.
It aimed to honour the achievements of the Portuguese "noble people" in a place with strong maritime traditions. This was done as a nationalist and propaganda act. It represented the philosophy of the Estado Novo, "An overseas country, from Minho in the north of Portugal, to Timor”.
The Exhibition opened from the 23rd of June to the 2nd of December 1940 and received 3 million visitors. Just imagine the effect at the time, the celebrations, the pavilions, the fountains and the fireworks, all conveying a moment of joy, despite Europe being in the second year of a World War.
Continue to the stairs ahead.