Lisbon’s Monument to Christ is Celebrating 50 Years

Lisbon's Monument to Christ (This weekend, Lisbon’s Monument to Christ (known as “Cristo Rei” or “Christ the King”) will celebrate 50 years. The cousin of Rio de Janeiro’s famous landmark was built in thanks for peace in Portugal during WWII, and overlooks the capital from the south bank of the Tagus. To celebrate the milestone, an image of the Virgin will be brought from the shrine of Fatima, repeating an event that took place on the 17th of May 1959 for the monument’s inauguration. It is estimated that about 200,000 people will follow it, although some are expecting a number closer to half a million.

A procession will start in Comercio Square on the 16th, when the Virgin will be taken across the river in a ship from the Portuguese navy escorted by a number of smaller boats. It will then remain by the Monument to Christ until the following day, when the official ceremony and mass will take place.

If you won’t be in Lisbon this weekend, the monument is open throughout the year, and is mostly visited for the view of Lisbon from the top. Many people are actually not fans of the structure itself, a dull concrete pedestal raising an ordinary concrete statue. Still, visiting the monument is worth the trip across the river because although Lisbon offers a number of breathtaking viewpoints, nowhere else will you get the most complete view of the city’s skyline from a bird’s-eye perspective.

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