A visit to Expo’98 was to be setting off in search of the oceans, cultural diversity, the world. And there were many who repeated the experience, making the most of the 132-day duration of the exhibition to discover and rediscover the event. Lisbon’s east end was a hotpot of ideas, projects, peoples and cultures. Every day was different. But there were routines and occasions which were repeated every day, such as the entertainment provided by the Peregrination and Acqua Matrix, which were such a big hit with visitors.
A typical day at Expo’98 went like this:
9h00 – Opening
Tickets would go on sale at the ticket offices by the entrance gates. Little by little, the Olharapos would appear around the precinct, to the delight of visitors.
10h00 – Opening of pavilions
This was when visitors would set off to discover the “world”. But some pavilions already had queues forming before opening…
11h00 – Official ceremony
The then Ceremonial Square in front of the Portuguese Pavilion hosted the ceremony for the respective national day or day of honour. The flags would be hoisted, national anthems played and the official speeches made.
12h00 – First show
The then Utopia Pavilion, now the Meo Arena, would open its doors for the first of four shows: “Oceans and Utopias”. Further sessions at 15h00, 18h00 and 21h00
13h00 – Changing of the guards
Lunchtime was when the changing of the guards of Olharapos would take place, in front of the then Utopia Pavilion.
17h00 – Official ceremony
This was the official ceremony for the official sponsors of Expo ‘98 at the Ponto Cerimonial das Empresas site.
19h30 – Peregrination
“Wandering” show which made its way around the Exposition site. Over 100 performers paraded in their “walking” machines towards the river and would throw their end-of-the-millennium dreams into the waters.
20h00 – Closure of pavilions
The pavilions would close their doors as night fell. Visitors would move into the restaurants, esplanades and leisure areas, whilst the “daytime Expo” sites were closed for cleaning and maintenance.
20h30 – Night-time shows
Start of the shows in all of the precinct’s scenic spaces (the scheduling would prioritise initiatives for the national days and days of honour, and was complemented by initiatives by Expo’98).
23h45 – Acqua Matrix
For many, this was the most eagerly-awaited moment of their day. Sirens announced the start of Acqua Matrix and all attention was focused on the Doca dos Olivais area. All other shows were suspended during the 15-minute duration of this multi-media event.
24h00 – Música e mais música
Fado, jazz, Latin American and African rhythms… Night-times at Expo’98 were a mix of different sounds.
2h30 – END
The shows ended well into the early hours.