As I said on the first article, I took a look around my new home of Alcântara to find interesting places to share with you! The last time I wrote mainly about what to find immediately under the 25 de Abril Bridge, the calm Riverside Walkway, the famous Lx Factory and Village Underground and the low-key Museu da Carris. So in this one, I'll try to expand on what I started and talk a little more about the other museums and foundations located here in Alcântara.
Before we go down again, might as well talk about the very recent viewpoint, the Pilar 7 Experience! And it really is an experience! It has a great notion of ambience and mood, which you’ll defiantly notice when entering the structure. It was built in the seventh pilar of the bridge, hence the name, and inside shows the great history and inner-workings of the bridge and all projects developed for the first bridges to cross Tejo. Then it has an elevator that takes you to the top of the bridge, to a glass platform where you can awe at the view of the river and Almada on the other side (and of Alcântara under your feet). Only downside: this is one of the most frequented places in Alcântara so you should encounter some crowding here if you wish to visit.
View from Pilar 7 Experience
Alcântara has actually a surprising amount of museums, none as prolific as the ones in Belém, but still. Besides Museu da Carris, it curiously holds two museums about the relationship between Portugal and Asia: Firstly, Museu de Macau. For a long time I wondered what the building beside mine was, and after some snooping, I figured it was this very cool museum and research center, although it is a little hidden. Here, multiple temporary and permanent exhibitions are held and importance research is made in order to further understand the importance and heritage of Macau and the Portuguese-Chinese relationship. The three floors of the building present the overall history of Macau, the different aspects and culture of region and it’s contemporary life today, respectively.
Entrance to the Museu de Macau
Then there’s Museu Fundação Oriente, a much bigger and easy to find museum than Museu de Macau, that doesn’t just focus on just one region, but it show the impact of Portugal in many asian cultures and vice-versa. Although there also bigger focus on China, having the entire second floor of the museum dedicated to a permanent exhibition on Chinese Opera, which present insight on the stories portrayed and how they where portrayed (I recommend this exhibition very much). The first floor is more diverse, with artifacts and information about Portugals trips and trades in Macau, India, Japan, Timor, Thailand, and more. It also has temporary exhibitions, workshops and shows, especially now that it's celebrating its 30 years as a Foundation (and 10 years as a Museum). On a side note: the top floor also has a restaurant!
Museu do Oriente
Although technically out of Alcântara, Cordoaria Nacional is close enough for me to think it deserves a mention. Cordoaria Nacional is a landmark that used to be used by navi to make ropes, sails and more parts for portuguese ships, but it has long been decommissioned. Today, a big part of it’s enormously long space is used to host temporary exhibitions of all kinds and sizes! From child-centric exhibitions about dinosaurs, to exploring the life and work of artists like Leonardo DaVinci and Vincent Van Gogh, to having for show such culturally important and fascinating artworks like the Xian Terra-cotta Warriors.
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