“There is no better view of Lisbon”! I was absolute and of course i had my photos as a proof. That’s how i persuaded a friend of mine to visit Lisbon, choosing it instead of going a 10-days journey to Barcelona. Indeed the view is breathtaking, is unique. But first things first. I visited Lisbon in November in 2008 and instantly i was charmed by its beauty, the monuments and the unbelievable architecture. Built on the banks of river Tagus, Lisbon will be easily loved by the tourist who desires to visit a destination that is not mainstream. On the opposite shore, the gigantic statue of Christ the King is visible from far away and as you probably understood, from that side one can have the best panoramic view of the city.
The construction of the statue begun at the region of Almada and its resemblance to the Statue of Christ the redeemer, on the Corcovanto hill, in Rio de Janeiro, is obvious. In fact it was the statue in Brazil that was the source of inspiration, during the visit of the cardinal of Lisbon in Rio in 1934. It’s construction expresses the Portuguese gratitude towards God, for being spared of the evils of World War 2. Having a height of 100m ( 82 m the base and 28 m the statue ) is visible from far away, as it is constructed on the top of a hill in the Almada district, in the south bank of Tagus.
It’s very easy for someone to get there. Either by a car or a bus via the big suspended “25th of April” bridge or by the boat that connects the two sides of the river! That was the route i chose. Not far away from Praca do comercio, the central square, is located the train station of Cais do sodre, from where there is a regular connection to the station of Cacilhas in Almada. To ticket costs only 1,20 Euros. From there you can take the bus all the way to the monument of the Christ the King.
The routes are often and serve a big number of people, who are not only tourists but also locals that live in Almada. From inside the boat the view of Lisbon is dreamy and offers an alternative way to admire it’s distinctive architecture. Not having crossed the bridge, i consider that using the boat, as a mean of transportation to go to the other side, is the best choice to enjoy the city. The route was very pleasant and despite the relatively strong breeze, we reached Almada very quickly.
The bus i took, dropped me outside the main entrance of the religious complex, part of which is the statue of Jesus. The main facilities are formed by a particularly elegant building that has offices, a restaurant area and a chapel. Going out on the other side you will see the huge statue. It’s base has a height of 82m and it consists of 4 columns that form 4 arcs, on the top of which a flat surface supports the statue. In the interior of the base there is the elevator that will take you to the top and two small chapels. Either you look at it from a distance or from its base, the sstatue of Christ the King is impressive. Made from cement, stands with its hands open facing Lisbon, like it’s embracing the city. Watching in awe, the resemblance with the statue of Jesus in Rio is still more impressive.
From the observation post, by the feet of the statue, all Lisbon was visible. There is no better spot to see all the city from it’s one edge to the other, as it extents on the banks of Tagus. It’s size was not obvious, while i was walking casually, on the beautifully decorated pavements in Rossio. I was also impressed by the great width of the river Tagus, just before it’s mouth at the Atlantic ocean. The “35th of April” bridge was seen more close than any other time and it reminded me of the bridge in San Francisco, in the Unites States. With the help of my telephoto lens, the vehicles that were moving on the bridge were now visible. I don’t know about you but the geography of the region along with the big bridge, came to my mind many years later, when i visited Istanbul and crossed the suspended bridge of the Bosporus.
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I started taking photos, using my telephoto lens and one by one, all the great sights of Lisbon, were being captured in my camera’s memory card. The port of the city, that once was the base of the Portuguese voyagers, now was offering hospitality to a huge cruise ship full of tourists.
The central square of the city, the Praca do commercio ( commerce square ) was seen on my right hand, with the Rua Augusta arch being easily visible. Further back, the scenic neighborhood of Alfama with the National Pantheon, the castle of Saint George and at background the Vasco da Gama bridge, the biggest one in Europe.
On my left, one could see two of the most important monuments of the city, all UNESCO world heritage sites. The monastery of Jeronimos, with the elaborate facades and the amazing inner cloisters, houses the royal tombs as well as the tombs of the explorer Vasco da Gama and the famous poet Camoes.
The famous Tower of Belem, that contributed significantly to the Age of Discoveries, as a defense mean of great importance.
The monument to the Discoveries, that was constructed to honor Henry the navigator. Having the shape of a ship, is a true jewel for Lisbon and impresses with the crowd of the figures, that sculptors created. Navigators, explorers, scientists, all those that were associated to the Age of the Discoveries.
The “25th of April” bridge, a suspended bridge with similar construction to the Golden Gate bridge in California, that connects the wide Tagus river and stands impressively over its waters. The similarity is not accidental as in both cases, the construction company was the same.
I couldn’t think of a better panoramic view! And that was something that also my friend confirmed, when he came back from his journey! He had gone to the very same post and had been amazed by the unique view. Now that i am writing this article and take a look to the photos, i mentally travel again to Lisbon! And even though its been 8 years, the photos still cause me the same impression…
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