Transformation in less than a year

You may recall from our first visit to Lisboa our delight when we discovered by chance Portugal’s exhibition pavilion for 1922-1923 World Expo. It was looking rather unloved last year but despite the dilapidation most of the external tiles by the renowned tile painter Jorge Colaco still looked lovely. At the time I had read somewhere that there was a proposal to renovate the pavilion and turn it into a hotel, but five months after reading that I failed to find any details that it was going ahead and so assumed the pavilion remained in a state of disrepair – boarded up and closed off to the public.

It was therefore with some surprise but even more delight that we discovered last week on a stroll in Parque Eduardo VII that the pavilion has been fully restored.Lovingly restoredWhich makes it a perfect ‘Past Meets Present‘ for this month’s photography challenge. Just take a look at my then and now gallery below.

One of the reasons I was so delighted by the renovation is that they have retained the building as a pavilion and in honour of the man it is named after – Carlos Lopes – it also now houses a superb permanent exhibition about him.

Carlos Alberto de Sousa Lopes is a Portuguese former long-distance runner, and considered a national hero as he won Portugal’s first ever Olympic gold medal in 1984. As well as winning the marathon in Los Angeles he created a new Olympic record of 2:09:21 which he held until 2008. His Olympic TrainersHis success was remarkable as not only was he 37 years of age at the time of his win, he had been in a serious car accident less than two weeks before the race. The exhibition includes a wonderful interview with him as well as various memorabilia from his many races.

My Dad would have loved this as he was also a long distance runner. For most of us though the reason for visiting will be the azulejos. As well as the stunning ones by Jorge Colaco outside there are numerous panels inside. I’m not sure who the artist was for the panels inside but, given a signature I spotted, they are possibly by José António Jorge Pinto. More research is needed so expect another post and more azulejos photographs soon. 

As you will have noticed from the gallery above on the day we made our discovery there were only a few other people there. Perfect for us as we were able to enjoy the splendour of this building and spend quite a bit of time in the exhibition rooms. I think it was quiet as it is not yet on the tourist routes, the grand re-opening had only taken place a few weeks earlier on Carlos Lopes 70th Birthday (18th February).  I am sure it won’t be long though before this becomes a major attraction now this building has been restored to its 1922 grandeur.

When I first introduced the Carlos Lopes pavilion to you a year ago it was also on a Saturday and my title like today was six, so like today I made it a Six Word Saturday post. So it is feels rather special that today not only have I shared it again as a 6WS but I am sharing it on Cate’s last Six Word Saturday. Wishing you well Cate, and thank you for hosting 6WS for so long, and a thank you to you Debbie for taking up the mantle from next week.

PS I do hope that a few of you will take part in this month’s ‘Past Meets Present‘ challenge. The rule is very simple you just need two pictures – a photograph taken recently and then another picture (photograph, postcard or painting) one of the same scene taken a while ago.

Author: BeckyB

It had been a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, blogging, and best of all spending time with MrB, family, & friends. Sadly it no longer is. Suddenly and unexpectedly I have become a widow.

26 thoughts

  1. How beautiful – and in such a short time. Thanks for sharing. I hope to get to Portugal in the next few years.

    1. Incredible how fast they did it given the state of disrepair. So glad they’ve done it.

      And I so hope you do as this is a wonderful country.

  2. That was quick work, Becky! I have to say that I quite like statues with a weathered look but isn’t it a superb place? I saw it in passing but don’t know if you could have gone in at the time. It’s fabulous! Thanks for a wonderful share 🙂 🙂

    1. I know so very un-Portuguese!!! I also prefer the statues before but I do like the restored tiles…….a treat for you perhaps to explore if you ever return to Lisboa x

  3. I’m so glad they didn’t turn it into a hotel, everyone should be able to see it. I like the faded glory of your last years photos but it’s so much lovelier now, well done Lisbon for restoring it. Last night I watched a stunning film, Night train to :Lisbon, with Jeremy Irons, it was great to see the winding streets and distinctive style of the buildings!

    1. So am I….it took us a few moments to determine if we could enter as they don’t make it obvious. I fortunately though found my “inner Restless Jo” and told myself just to go for it! And what a delight

      Ooh I’ve read the book but not watched the film – I’ll look it up on our return.

  4. what a tragedy if it had been lost for good. judging from the before photos, it was well on its way to being an historical memory in a book somewhere. I love the murals…

    1. I totally agree….what I’d failed to show when I took the before shots last year was the extent of the devastation behind. Quite incredible what they’ve achieved and like you delighted it is here for us to enjoy

  5. How lovely to find it restored so beautifully. I hope they get around to the botanic gardens in the city soon too.

    1. It’s was all paid for by the new tourist tax so there’s a good chance they will.

      The tax managed by Tourist Dept is 1€ per night per tourist up to max of 7€……. think more cities should do this if this is outcome.

  6. Fantastic post Becky.
    And I’m so pleased to see the renovated pavilion. I’m hoping to be in Lisbon in a month or two so will enjoy it in person then.

    And I’m off to think of something for the challenge.

    1. Thank you so much 😀

      Have a wonderful trip Debbie, and so hope you get here as it is a great place which at moment not many know about. I’ll be posting again on the park soon as we also went to the botanical gardens. Glorious.

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