Photo Essay: Lisbon’s Road to the Orient

Lisbon is famous for the old medieval quarters and romantic balconies with fresh washed laundry… But the city also has a more modern side to it: The former industrial area in Lisbon’s east had a bad reputation until it was completely remodeled for the world exhibition Expo in 1998.

Since 1998 was the 500 year anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s famous reaching of India via ship – one of the proudest moments in Portuguese history – the district was dedicated to him and Portugal’s Golden Age. The fancy new train station there was named Oriente after da Gama’s discovering of the sea route to the Orient, which is commonly used to describe the whole complex of buildings and waterfront today.

Nowadays, the stylish Expo buildings are still there, presenting a modern yet history-aware understanding of Lisbon by accommodating restaurants, casinos and bars.

What I loved most about this whole site is its nearness to the water, which is perfect for long walks on Sundays, going for a run, or catching a sunset…

This picture shows the way from Parque das Nações, the Park of the Nations, to Lisbon’s aquarium. Here one can experience the wideness and endlessness that Portugal once faced as a naval power. Standing there, it really feels like the Orient is only a short boat ride away