Travelers to Lisbon never miss the 25th of April Bridge. It hangs over the Tagus River, and frames countless photos with its picturesque red arches.
But what many visitors miss is the true story behind the bridge – and its namesake date. Here’s the real story behind the 25th of April.
The 25th of April is a national holiday in Portugal called “Freedom Day.” Freedom Day commemorates 1974’s Carnation Revolution when the Portuguese people backed a military coup and overthrew the Estado Novo dictatorship that had ruled the country since 1933. The Carnation Revolution got its name from the country’s peaceful transition of power. The soldiers did not use their guns, and stuck flowers in the barrels instead. The revolution brought democracy to Portugal and emancipated its colonies in Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Guinea.
When it was dedicated in August 1966, the 25th of April Bridge was named Salazar Bridge after the longtime leader of the dictatorship. Soon after the revolution, many Portuguese landmarks were renamed after the 25th of April.
The 25th of April Bridge bears a strong resemblance to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. However, its actual “twin bridge” is the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The same company designed both bridges in the 1930s. The builders purposely painted the 25th of April Bridge “International Orange” – the same color as San Francisco’s Golden Gate – because the reddish hue stands out against the thick fog that occasionally envelops both bridges.
The 25th of April Bridge was the largest suspension bridge outside of America and the fifth largest in the world when it opened in 1966. Today it is the 27th largest. In 1999, Portugal added rail lines to the lower deck of the bridge. You can ride across the bridge on the trip from Lisbon to Evora or on the commuter lines that travel across the river from the center of Lisbon to the suburb of Almada.
The most classic views of the 25th of April Bridge are from the Castle of St. George, the Belem Tower and the monument to Christ the King on the Almada side. We also love the river-level views from the Santa Apolónia Docks and shots of the hipster neighborhood surrounding the LX Factory with the northern overpass in the background.
Discover the Possibilities! Get the best shots of the 25th of April Bridge by traveling with a Lisbon expert: Portugal.com. Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org for ideas of how to make the most of your time in Europe’s safest, oldest and most affordable capital!