When one thinks of Lisbon, Portugal, images of historic cobblestone streets, stunning waterfront views, and the warm embrace of Mediterranean culture often come to mind. However, Lisbon is also home to a more contemporary and forward-thinking side, embodied by the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT). This innovative institution seamlessly blends art, architecture, and technology to create an inspiring and thought-provoking experience for visitors. In this travel guide, we will explore MAAT in-depth, providing you with all the information you need to plan your visit to this remarkable museum.
Introduction to MAAT
MAAT is a bold and ambitious project that represents Lisbon’s commitment to the future. It was inaugurated in October 2016, and since then, it has become a cultural beacon in the city. The museum was conceived as a platform that converges art, architecture, and technology, aiming to foster critical thinking and inspire creativity.
MAAT’s location is as remarkable as the institution itself. It stands along the Tagus River, nestled between the historic district of Belém and the modern neighborhood of Alcântara. This prime location offers breathtaking views of the river, the iconic 25 de Abril Bridge, and the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the museum’s most striking features is its architecture. Designed by the renowned British architect Amanda Levete and her firm AL_A, the building is a masterpiece of contemporary design. Its undulating, organic form is covered in white ceramic tiles that shimmer in the Portuguese sunlight. The structure seems to rise from the water, creating a harmonious relationship between the museum and its natural surroundings.
MAAT offers a diverse range of exhibitions that explore the intersections of art, architecture, and technology. The museum regularly hosts both temporary and permanent displays, ensuring that each visit is a unique experience.
Art: MAAT’s art exhibitions feature works from both established and emerging artists. From contemporary paintings to immersive installations, there’s always something captivating on display.
Architecture: For architecture enthusiasts, MAAT provides insights into innovative architectural concepts and designs. Models, drawings, and interactive displays showcase the evolution of architectural ideas.
Technology: The museum’s exploration of technology is not limited to its architecture. Visitors can engage with cutting-edge installations that use technology to push the boundaries of art and creativity.
Central Tejo Power Station
Before becoming the MAAT building we see today, the Central Tejo Power Station stood on the same site. The museum thoughtfully integrates the power station’s historic machinery and spaces into its exhibits. This creates a fascinating dialogue between the past and the present, as visitors can explore the industrial heritage of Lisbon while experiencing the museum’s contemporary offerings.
The Roof Terrace
MAAT’s roof terrace is a must-visit spot for panoramic views of Lisbon. The terrace offers a serene escape from the bustling city, and it’s a great place to reflect on the art and architecture you’ve just experienced within the museum. The stunning sunset views are particularly popular among visitors and locals alike.
MAAT Main Building: Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Central Tejo Power Station: Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Please note that MAAT is closed on Mondays.
General Admission: €8
Students and Seniors (65+): €6
Children under 18: Free
MAAT also offers a Lisbon Card discount, so be sure to check if you qualify for reduced admission.
MAAT is easily accessible by public transportation:
Tram: Take Tram 15E to the “Centro de Congressos” stop.
Bus: Multiple bus lines, including 728, 714, and 727, stop near MAAT.
Train: Alcântara-Mar train station is within walking distance.
If you prefer to drive, there is a parking lot adjacent to MAAT for your convenience.
MAAT offers guided tours in both Portuguese and English. These tours provide valuable insights into the museum’s exhibits, architecture, and history. Check the museum’s website for tour schedules and availability.
MAAT is committed to making its exhibits and facilities accessible to all visitors. The museum provides wheelchair access, ramps, and accessible restrooms. Visitors with specific accessibility needs are encouraged to contact the museum in advance for assistance.
Tips for Visiting
Arrive Early: To avoid crowds and make the most of your visit, arrive early in the morning or on a weekday.
Check the Exhibition Schedule: Be sure to check MAAT’s website for information on current exhibitions and events to plan your visit accordingly.
Bring a Camera: The museum’s architecture and scenic views are a photographer’s dream, so don’t forget your camera.
Respect the Art: While photography is encouraged, be mindful not to touch the artwork or installations unless expressly permitted.
Visit Nearby Attractions: Since MAAT is located in Belém, you can easily explore other nearby attractions such as the Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and the Monument to the Discoveries.
MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology, is a testament to Lisbon’s dynamic spirit and commitment to the future. It seamlessly blends the past, present, and future in a stunning architectural setting that showcases innovative art and technology. Whether you’re an art lover, an architecture enthusiast, or simply someone looking for a unique cultural experience in Lisbon, MAAT is a must-visit destination that will leave you inspired and awestruck. Plan your trip today and embark on a journey of creativity, discovery, and wonder at MAAT.
Beyond MAAT: Exploring Lisbon’s Cultural Scene
While MAAT is undoubtedly a highlight of Lisbon’s cultural offerings, the city has much more to offer for those seeking artistic and intellectual stimulation. Here are a few recommendations for exploring the broader cultural scene of Lisbon:
Belém Cultural District
MAAT is located in the historic district of Belém, which is a treasure trove of cultural attractions. After your visit to MAAT, take a stroll along the picturesque Belém waterfront and explore the following landmarks:
Belém Tower (Torre de Belém): A UNESCO World Heritage site, this fortress-like tower is a symbol of Portugal’s Age of Discovery and offers stunning views of the river and the city.
Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos): Another UNESCO World Heritage site, this breathtaking monastery is a masterpiece of Manueline architecture. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Church of Santa Maria, where famous explorer Vasco da Gama is buried.
Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos): This monumental sculpture celebrates Portugal’s Age of Exploration, featuring statues of notable explorers. Visitors can ascend to the top for a panoramic view of Belém.
Located in the Alcântara neighborhood near MAAT, LX Factory is a vibrant cultural and creative hub set in a former industrial complex. Here, you can explore art galleries, design shops, restaurants, and cafes housed in old factory buildings. The area is known for its alternative and artistic atmosphere, making it a great place to discover local talent.
Museums and Galleries
Lisbon boasts a wide range of museums and galleries that cater to various interests. Some notable ones include:
National Museum of Ancient Art (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga): Home to an extensive collection of European art, including Portuguese paintings and decorative arts.
Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu Coleção Berardo): Located in the Belém Cultural Center, this museum showcases a significant collection of modern and contemporary art, featuring works by renowned artists from around the world.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum (Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian): This museum houses an exceptional collection of art, including Egyptian, Greco-Roman, European, and Asian art, as well as a beautiful garden.
Berardo Collection Museum (Museu Colecção Berardo): A contemporary art museum in the Belém Cultural Center, featuring a diverse range of modern artworks, including pieces by Picasso, Warhol, and Lichtenstein.
Street Art and Murals
Lisbon has gained recognition for its vibrant street art scene. Take a walk through neighborhoods like Bairro Alto, Mouraria, and Graça to discover colorful murals, graffiti, and urban art installations that add character to the city’s streets.
Check the local events calendar for festivals, exhibitions, and cultural events happening during your visit. Lisbon frequently hosts events celebrating music, film, literature, and more. The city’s rich cultural heritage is on full display during these occasions.
Lisbon is a city that seamlessly blends its rich history with a vibrant contemporary cultural scene. MAAT, with its innovative approach to art, architecture, and technology, is a shining example of Lisbon’s commitment to creativity and progress. Whether you spend a day exploring MAAT’s thought-provoking exhibitions or dive deeper into Lisbon’s diverse cultural landscape, you’re sure to be captivated by the city’s dynamic and artistic spirit. So, pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and get ready to embark on a journey of discovery in Lisbon, a city where the past and future coexist harmoniously.