lunedì 11 febbraio 2013

Brussels Atomium, don't miss it!

One of the monuments that you can not miss when visiting Brussels is the Atomium.

This tourist attraction has the shape of an atom and is entirely built with metal. It is often represented as the symbol of the Belgian capital.





Surely you may have seen pictures or drawings with it, but do you know its history, its origin and its use?
Before visiting it, we knew very little about.
Paola went to Brussels for work many times, but before our weekend in the belgian capital, she had never had the opportunity to visit it.

And it was the first thing we did arrivingin the city. We took the metro and got off at Heysel.

Out of the station we found ourselves facing this extraordinary and gigantic atom. 
A view that has left us speechless for a while. We did not expect it so great!

Therefore, in order not to get completely unprepared to meet the large spheres of the Atomium, let us tell you what we found during the visit.





The Atomium was built for 1958's World Exhibition. It was the main pavillion of the fair and since the beginning it has been the symbol.
What did this monument  to the atom represent after less than 15 years from the end orf World War II?

The reference to the  atomic energy it's pretty clear, but of course to be understood as a peaceful symbol. 
The connection between the states (many spheres connected together), research, technology and progress are other symbolic messages.

The monument, 102 meters high, was designed by engineer André Waterkeyn and built by architects André and Jean Polak.
The original intention was to dismantle it at the end of the Expo, but as it happened to other important monuments created for World Exhibitions (e.g. the Eiffel Tower), it is still there, standing bright and shiny.

The access to the Atomium is with elevators and escalators housed in the large tubes structure that connects the nine ball. 
Not all areas are accessible to the public during the visit: you will be allowed to visit only four spheres.
A fifth can be visited by appointment, but only by school or during special activities for children. This sphere is in fact called "Childrens' sphere".

What can we then see in the spheres during the visit? The first answer that comes to our minds is actually what you can see from the spheres, and also from the escalator: a breathtaking view of the city of Brussels.
From the highest sphere, you can see a lot of historical buildings of the Belgian capital and moreover, during a clear day, it's possible to see up to Antwerp. 
We unfortunately did not manage to see so far, but we trust what we have been told.




Inside the four spheres we have visited there were temporary exhibitions and permanent exhibitions.

Permanent exhibits mainly focus on the 1958 Expo. There are old pictures, descriptions, pavilions explanations built around the Atomium and even a celebration to the hostess that during the six months of the Expo welcomed and guided millions of visitors.

The permanent exhibitions are often devoted to architecture, design and environment.
We have had the fortune to enjoy a visit to a temporary exibition dedicated to creations and designs of the 50s and 60s. A real chance for vintage fans!

Some important data to visit the Atomium:

To reach the Atomium with the subway: Take the A1 direction Roi Baudouin and get off at Heysel. From the metro station you need to walk about 5 minutes to get to the Atomium ticket office.

Opening hours: from 10 am to 18. Please note, the ticket office closes at 17.30.
From 10 to 12 and from 14 to 16 you will find a big crowd. 
To be able to visit the monument calmly and quietly, it is advisable to go there in a different time slot.

The ticket cost is € 8 per person. There are discounted rates for visitors over  65 and below 18 and for students (showing the student card).
Not far from the Atomium there is "Mini-Europe" park. If you would like to visit it too, you can buy the combined ticket at € 23.10.
At the ticket office you can rent the audio guide at a cost of € 2. We warmly suggest it in order to better understand your visit!







Ubicazione: Bruxelles, Belgio

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