On a breezy day in May, walking along the site of the 1958 World Expo in Brussels, you feel like you’re in the Jetsons! Famous buildings that were once the focus of the world in 1958, the most famous among them is the Atomium, a big silver atom-looking tower, which, along with the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Sears Tower in Chicago, Brussels has its own standout monument, the Atomium.
Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn, and two architects André and Jean Polak in 1958 for the Brussels World Fair (EXPO 58). Once described as “Europe’s most bizarre building” by CNN, the monument represents an iron crystal that’s been magnified 165 billion times. (each sphere is an atom) At 334ft tall, it’s even taller than the Statue of Liberty (which is 305 ft including the base) and it’s a MUST visit site in Brussels. Since it was an expo for the World Fair, walking around inside of it feels like you’re walking through EPCOT Center in Disney World. Inside each sphere, there are permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The Atomium is located inside the EXPO 58 park, which included exhibitions from 48 countries. One of the more notable exhibitions was from the Soviet Union, where they where showing off a model of the Sputnik satellite, and apparently it mysteriously disappeared (and of course they blamed the Americans, but who could pass up a model of the Sputnik in 1958!) and after the world fair they packed up their building and took it with them. Took it with them! Can you imagine?
Also near the Atomium is the Mini Europe theme park, where you can see 350 famous buildings and monuments from across the EU, at a scale of 1:25. You can see replicas of most of Europe’s famous landmarks within 2 hours, including Athens’ Acropolis, Pisa’s Leaning Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe of Paris. Near those are London’s Big Ben, and London Bridge. Feel like a well-seasoned traveler around the Atomium, there are so many photo opportunities here!
There are also so many other things around the park as well, such as a water park, a movie theater, as well as a traditional looking Belgian town called “The Village”. There’s like millions of things to do here. But in the middle of EVERYTHING is the Atomium. It really sticks out that much. It’s big, like “you can see it from anywhere in the park” big. When you’re there you’ll take sooooo many photos there. Especially at the top sphere.
Once you enter the elevator you ride straight to the top for a view that rival’s the Sears Tower in Chicago or the Space Needle in Seattle. You can see a panoramic view of the city, in fact, you can see Church of Our Lady of Laeken, the Monument of the Dynasty, the Royal Palace, and on a clear day, the Palace of Justice. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to see all the way to Antwerp’s port and its cathedral! Maybe you’ll be able to see your house from there! (Maybe not…)
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