Tag Archives: Monumento aos Descobrimentos

3386 – A Big Bird Discovering the Monument

Here’s one image for scale. There is a café in a small basin, with the sculpture of a big bird, made of what sometimes may have been a Tuk.

As cities along rivers or the sea go, some do interesting things with their shores, some are boring. Paris is among the better, Venice is great, Vienna was boring and has begun to catch up. It’s mainly a matter of how the shore is integrated into the city’s life. Good integration means a lot of cafés, places to sit and dream, to sip a cocktail while looking out at the water.

Lisbon has an abundance of shore, but it does not use it in any particularly interesting way. One reason may be, that the water is clearly not clean enough for swimming. The other may be, that Lisbon lives much on its hills. Whatever the reasons may be, the shore is more or less an endless strech of streets and railway lines following the river. Belém is better, but still, the monuments, big and crowded as they are, look a little bit lonely there.

3385 – Celebrating the Age of Discovery

Well, you know that kind of monuments, you know that kind of architecture, and although Salazar may have been no typical fascist like Mussolini or Franco, he was a dictator and this is totalitarian architecture.

On the other hand, among pieces of totalitarian architecture, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is one of the more interesting. From the back a cross is clearly visible. That’s to remind you in whose name all the native Americans, the Africans and the Indians were slaughtered. From the side there is resemblance to a ship’s prow. You’ll see the side tomorrow.

I was there in the early afternoon and I can tell you, this place is crowded. Instead of waiting forever, I’ve taken a sequence of images and combined the uncrowded fragments later in Photoshop. Things like that were done in times of film as well, but today it’s absolutely painless. It couldn’t have taken me more than ten minutes.