Category Archives: Portugal

Photo Essay: MAAT

I had a hard time choosing just these photos for this post. When I was in Lisbon last month my wanderlust took me to one of the most mesmerising, interesting and beautiful structures I have ever been to date – the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology or MAAT.

©2017 Regina Martins

MAAT, located on the banks of the Tagus River is a complex worth visiting. Expect to spend at least half a day there.

©2017 Regina Martins

The roof juts out, spaceship-like over the entrance. A gentle walk to the rooftop provides a 360 degree view of Lisbon – the river, the bridge, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the residential rooftops of the Lisbon suburb, Alcântra.

©2017 Regina Martins

Amoeba-like in shape, it’s a complex structure that mesmerises the mind – and the finger on the camera shutter button 🙂

©2017 Regina Martins

Designed by London-based architect, Amanda Levete, it is clad in 15,000 white ceramic tiles.

©2017 Regina Martins

View from beneath the entrance, the passage on the right, disappears into the distance leading to the roof top.

©2017 Regina Martins

The Ponte 25 De Abril, peeking out, as seen from the rooftop of the MAAT. Standing on the top, the structure seemed to move and undulate with the wind coming off the river.

©2017 Regina Martins

Looking out towards the Padrão dos Descobrimentos silhouette’d in the background.

©2017 Regina Martins

The residential rooftops of the Lisbon suburb, Alcântra. I love it that people come to the rooftop – there is no entrance fee to this section – to sit and chill, relax and enjoy the sun.

©2017 Regina Martins

The rooftop of the MAAT. All the lines are gentle and curving, much like the cultural proposition of the space.

©2017 Regina Martins

Walking down from the rooftop, looking towards the Ponte, the design of the steps converting human shadows into pacman-like blocky shapes.

©2017 Regina Martins

The undulating lines are a photographer’s dream.

©2017 Regina Martins

The 4 exhibition galleries of the MAAT are located below ground – it was constructed as a place to stimulate critical thinking and dialogue.

©2017 Regina Martins

The MAAT is a short 10-minute train ride from the Cais do Sodré station – get off at the Alcântra station – it is between the road and the river. Trains runs every 20 minutes on the Cascais line.

©2017 Regina Martins

The MAAT complex includes the renovated Central Tejo power station with various exhibits.

©2017 Regina Martins

Read more on the MAAT by clicking here and here.

River Artist

A stroll next to the Tagus River in Lisbon is very interesting. I never know what I’ll come across. This time it was river art – an industrious artist, using river rocks to create sculptures with a theme.

(Click on the photos to enlarge them)

Tall and thin, stonehenge-like, maybe?
©2017 Regina Martins

Look carefully, the scene below is of The Last Supper.

Look carefully, this is The Last Supper
©2017 Regina Martins

And here is the artist himself…

The artist himself
©2017 Regina Martins

A pretty lady.

Face
©2017 Regina Martins

This is an interesting picture because it has so much in it. Firstly I’ve tried to include the whole exhibit. And secondly…can you see the green frog on the right of the photo? Surprise…..!

Can you see the green frog on the right of the photo?
©2017 Regina Martins

A red velvet lined rock repository for his funding…

Every artist needs to fund their artistic endeavours
©2017 Regina Martins

Each collection of colour representing an inspiration.

Colourful rocks turned into art
©2017 Regina Martins

A message of welcome to the Pope who will be visiting Fátima soon.

A message of welcome to the Pope who is visiting Fátima in Portugal soon but is not coming to Lisbon. 
©2017 Regina Martins

I don’t know who the artist is. While tourists marvelled at his rock art he carried on, never looking up, piling rock upon rock, creating new works.

 

Saturday 1 November 1755

Saturday 1 November 1755.

Many people were in church, celebrating All Saints Day.

Without warning the earth began to shake. Buildings swayed catching people unawares. Children began to cry. Men and women looked up, fearful of the growing rumble. Fissures rent the earth apart. Buildings began to crumble and fell in on themselves, rafters and masonry burying worshippers beneath their colossal weight.

Six minutes is all it took to raze one of the most modern European cities of the time to the ground. Those who survived these six infernal minutes ran outside, down to the docks, for fear of being buried beneath falling buildings.

They watched in fear as the water began to recede. 40 minutes later a wall of roiling water rushed up the Tagus River, the tsunami engulfing the city and taking the lives of those who’d survived the earthquake. Two more waves drowned the already destroyed city killing any survivors. Fires raged in the city for five days after.

The number of dead is disputed to this day. Reports say between 10,000 and 100,000 people died in the earthquake and tsunami of 1 November 1755. According to today’s seismologists, it measured a 9.0 on the Richter scale, making it one of the most severe quakes in history.

Most of Lisbon was decimated. Many historical buildings and libraries were destroyed, including the stunning Gothic Convento do Carmo. The ruins of this structure still stands today, untouched, as a reminder of that day.

The reconstruction of Lisbon led to seismically constructed buildings, probably the first such buildings in the world at the time. The Marquis of Pombal who led the reconstruction of the city tested wooden models before construction began to ensure that they could withstand another earthquake of that severity.

The earthquake of 1 November 1755 has affected the psyche of the Portuguese people and is part of the national identity, still, to this day. It was one of those events that redefined a people, who still talk about it today.

Simulating the Lisbon earthquake at the Lisboa Story Centre, an evocative and realistic simulation
©2017 Regina Martins

The story of the earthquake is evocatively told at the Lisboa Story Centre in the Praça do Commercio, at Terreiro do Paço. It showcases the history of Lisbon from pre-medieval times, through the earthquake to modern day. In a darkened room the earthquake is simulated, a movie projected on three walls and sound booming from hidden speakers, to try and convey an idea of what it was like all those centuries ago.

Saturday 1 November 1755.

Many people were in church, celebrating All Saints Day.

The day a city was reborn.

 

Photo Essay: Convento Do Carmo In Lisbon

I’ve been meaning to visit the ruins of the Convento do Carmo for years and this year took a detour on my way home to explore it from the outside. It’s situated in the Largo do Carmo, off course 🙂

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

It now houses the Lisbon archaeological museum.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

The ruins are bold and imposing, dominating the upwards vista on one side of Rossio Plaza looking up the hill towards Bairro Alto.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

Built in the Gothic style from 1389 to 1423, the Convento do Carmo (Carmo Convent) was mostly destroyed on 1 November 1755, the date of the catastrophic earthquake that razed Lisbon to the ground.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

Despite the destruction, the ruins are breath-taking. I didn’t go in, choosing instead to explore the exterior. I am leaving that for the next visit.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins
Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins
Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins
Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

The Castelo De S.Jorge is visible through the flying buttress. The convent has five  flying buttresses.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

It was one of the largest and most ambitious architectural projects Lisbon had undertaken up until that time, both in terms of complexity of design and the numbers of people needed to construct it.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

There were more than a few technical difficulties, starting with the foundations but also with the flying buttresses which collapsed twice.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

It was commissioned by D. Nuno Álvares Pereira and handed over to Gomes Martins (no relation) to complete.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

After the initial technical difficulties, it was handed over to three brothers to complete – Eanes, Afonso, Rodrigo and Gonçalo – who were master builders and stone masons.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

One of the best preserved parts of the convent is the facade.

Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins
Convento do Carmo, Lisboa
©2017 Regina Martins

After years of looking up at the ruins, what I eventually found was certainly a surprise, especially the views of the Castelo de S.Jorge and downtown central Lisbon.

When you visit Lisbon it has got to be on your itinerary. I insist 🙂