2007 in Lisbon

2007 promises to be a big year for Lisbon. On July 1st, Portugal takes over as president of the European Union, with major political ceremonies, events and meetings in Lisbon’s Atlantic Pavilion. Inside Lisbon's Jeronimos Monastery In the same month, the city will be the stage for the announcement of the world’s new seven wonders, in what the organization says will be an Olympics-sized event, the biggest live television broadcast ever, seen in more than 160 television stations all over the world. In addition to heads of state, major artists and celebrities (Jennifer Lopez is one of the biggest confirmed names) will be in Lisbon for the event. In the meantime, the world is voting at www.new7wonders.com (my picks: India’s Taj Mahal, Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza, Angkor in Cambodia, Mexico’s Pyramid of Chichén Itzá, the statues of Easter Island, the Great Wall of China, and Machu Picchu in Peru).

Portugal is taking advantage of the spotlight to highlight its own wonders, and the Portuguese are voting for their country’s seven at www.7maravilhas.pt. I have made my votes, which were Batalha Abbey, Alcobaça Abbey, Tomar’s Castle and Convent of Christ, Sintra’s Pena Palace, Evora’s Roman Temple of Diana, Lisbon’s Jeronimos Monastery, and Belem Tower (although if I could have chosen an eighth wonder it would have been the extravagant Mafra Palace).

Belem Tower, one of Portugal's wonders But the spotlight on Lisbon doesn’t stop there. In the second semester of the year, the city will open a new world-class museum. Joe Berardo’s collection was sought-after by cities like Paris and Miami but after much negotiating, the highly acclaimed works by Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Jackson Pollock, among many others, will be on display in Lisbon’s new Berardo Museum of Modern Art. Expect to see much fanfare leading into the inauguration and in the days after that, and major articles about it in the world’s major publications.

As for the city itself, it will continue to grow and rejuvenate. Some of its famous viewpoints have been closed for much of the past year, and will reopen with a facelift by the middle of the year. That’s the case with Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara and Miradouro de Santa Luzia, and yet another major world-class museum will be preparing to open in 2009, the fantastic Design and Fashion Museum.

For these and other major happenings in Lisbon, always check out GoLisbon’s Calendar of Events, assuring that there is always a reason to GO to LISBON.  If you’ve never done so, it seems that 2007 should be the year.