Speech Delivered By H.e. Cavaco Silva, President Of The Portuguese Republic At The Inaugural Act Of The Exhibition “lisbon, Memories Of Another City” Istanbul, Sabanci Foundation, 13 May 2009
Mister President of the Republic of Turkey,
Members of the Government,
Members of Parliament,
Madam President of the Sabanci Foundation,
Madam Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I begin by thanking President Gül for his presence and for his willingness to accompany me in the official opening of this Exhibition, a gesture which greatly honours us.
In 2007, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation received, in its Museum, an exhibition of works of art from the final years of the XIX century and the early years of the XX century, with views depicting the Bosporus and scenes from the daily life in Istanbul. It was astonishing to confirm then, how Lisbon and Istanbul, two cities on the western and eastern boundaries of the European continent, shared landscapes and atmosphere.
The light, the water, the cosmopolitanism, the city as a seaport (and a place), a crossroads of cultures, civilizations, religions and continents, all of this Lisbon has in common with Istanbul.
It thus won’t be surprising that I decided to include in the programme of my State Visit to Turkey, an Exhibition which could show what was the Lisbon scenario in the same period.
I invited the Gulbenkian Foundation to organize this exhibition and it is following this invitation that “Lisbon, Memories from another city” becomes a reality (in an allusion to the book of Turkish Nobel Prize Winner, Orhan Pamuk. “Istanbul, Memories of a city).
The memory of a Lisbon that enchanted Calouste Gulbenkian, to whom Portugal is so greatly indebted, is shown through the eyes of the more representative Portuguese painters from the late XIX century and early XX century.
I wish to thank the President of the Sabanci Foundation for the extraordinary hospitality with which she welcomed us and for her keenness and that of her staff for this project and how far they went to bring it to fruition.
My thanks are also due to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and to its President, Emílio Rui Vilar, its Director, Teresa Patrício Gouveia, and to the Director of the Gulbenkian Museum, João Castelo-Branco as well to Mrs Helena Freitas, and to all those who so greatly contributed for this exhibition to be held here in Istanbul.
Lisbon is a city with a rich and millennial History, the muse of poets and cherished by “fado” singers, but nowadays it is also a city of the future, of development and entrepreneurship of technology and science. And thus very similar to Istanbul.
I hope this Exhibition will awaken in its visitors the wish to become better acquainted with my Country and its capital, and that they discover how much the two cities, Lisbon and Istanbul, and their people, Portuguese and Turks, have in common.
I renew my thanks to President Gül for his presence which so greatly enhances the relevance of this ceremony.
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