Experiencing the 1755 earthquake is possible in a new museum in Lisbon: Observer

Experiencing the 1755 earthquake is possible in a new museum in Lisbon: Observer

At the time of mass, on November 1, 1755, the earth shook and Lisbon experienced one of its worst days when, after the earthquake, fires and a tsunami followed, a story now told in the Earthquake Center, which opened on Wednesday.

“Expect the unexpected”, began Maria Marques, who, together with Ricardo Clemente, dreamed of Quake – Lisbon Earthquake Center, inaugurated by Mayor Carlos Moedas (PSD).

“It is a project of emotions, born from a great passion for the city of Lisbon. Over the course of seven years, the dream of an idea for two has come true, “said Maria Marques, co-founder of the space, noting that, in the first week of the museum’s” gradual opening “, the reaction of visitors they have been “very, very positive”.

According to Maria Marques, the idea that the founders of Quake had was that the space would be “also a school, a class about our history, about science, but in a fun way”, where both families and tourists can learn what happened in 1755.


For this, the contents have been validated by the seismologists of the Lisbon Faculty of Sciences, including Susana Custódio and Luís Matias, as well as by the historian André Canhoto Costa.

During about an hour and a half, the visit begins with the positioning of a bracelet with a technology that will be a fundamental part of the experience, making it more intuitive and complete, passing information on the various panels and interactive stations available along the way.

The bracelet also has the particularity of recording data so that, in the end, visitors can receive more information and curiosity on the topics that interest them most, via an email.

After an initial explanation by the “investigator” Luís, visitors are “transported” to a room through a journey through time, observing some of the main historical events and stopping only on November 1, 1755.

The immersive experience then takes visitors through different rooms, in which the projections of lights, sounds and even smells allow the story to be learned in a different way, also resorting to different explanations.

But the climax of the experience comes with the use of video “mapping” and special effects, when visitors arrive at the “church” where they are invited to attend mass, seated on wooden benches.

It is then that, during the homily, the earth begins to shake, with visitors watching one of the fires lit by the candles in the place, as it was on All Saints’ Day. As you walk out of the church, you can feel the heat of the fires that ravaged the city and the splashes of the tsunami.

Then there are the rooms, or stations, where the reconstruction of the city and the role of José Carvalho and Melo, later known as Marquês de Pombal, are explained.

At the end of the visit, Carlos Moedas, in statements to reporters, stated that he left the space as “museum ambassador” for various reasons, not only for the story itself, but for the preparation he can give to anyone in the event. of the occurrence of an earthquake.

“I recommend to all Lisboets to come to this extraordinary museum. It is a museum of the 21st century, we listen and, above all, we live the history and the story of an event that changed Lisbon, Portugal and, in a certain sense, the world and Europe, to live in first person is extraordinary ” Carlos Coins said.

According to the mayor of Lisbon, it is important to “tell the story” of what happened in 1755, also for the city to prepare for the events, which he hopes “will not be of the same magnitude”.

“Lisbon must be prepared, we have a unique civil protection service in the country, we must be prepared for the future, we do not know what could happen”, he stressed, adding that, above all, the space has “an educational and preparation function for young people to prepare for the occurrence of an event of this type “.

Carlos Moedas also added that the example of the museum which is now officially open should be used by others from other areas, to serve not only tourists who come to the city, but Lisbon residents as well.

The museum officially inaugurated today cost around eight million euros, through the capital of co-founders Maria Marques and Ricardo Clemente, Portugal 2020 bank loans and funds, through Turismo de Portugal.

With a reference price per ticket between 21 and 28 euros, depending on the advance purchase or not, as well as discounts for schools, children under 12 and over 65.