FC Benfica Stadium. When fans of the most popular sideline in the world – football – come to Lisbon, they are sure to visit the stadium of the Benfica football club. The stadium is named Estadio de Luz - Stadium of Light, but it is much better known in the world as Benfica Stadium. To the fans of the Benfica football club, this stadium is a football temple, so they call it the Cathedral, and the stadium takes its name from the church of Our Lady of Light. This stadium is one of the 25 largest stadiums in Europe, it can accommodate over 65.000 spectators. By UEFA category, Benfica Stadium is the highest category stadium. When some of the bigger and more important matches are played, such as when the Portuguese national football team plays, it is played at this stadium.
Benfica Stadium was built on the site of the old stadium, which could accommodate 78.000 spectators, but in 2003 the old stadium was demolished and a new, more modern one was built. On March 22, 2003, the last game was played at the old stadium, between FC Benfica and FC Santa Clara, when Benfica won 1:0. On October 25 of the same year, a new stadium of Light was opened, which soon became the pride of the city. Then, in honor of the new stadium, a friendly match was played between FC Benfica and FC Nacional from Montevideo, in which the host won.
The symbol of Benfica is an eagle with outstretched wings, which is located at the entrance to the stadium. Part of the European Football Championship took place in 2004 at this stadium. The 2014 Champions League final was also played at the Stadium of Light, a match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
The stadium is covered with natural grass and its construction cost 120 million euros. When no match is played at the stadium, a visit to the stadium with a museum and shops is allowed. When visiting the stadium, it is possible to stand in the middle of the stadium and enjoy the panoramic view of the field where numerous football heroes have played and are playing. It is possible to visit the museum where the trophies won by Lisbon athletes from all other sports are located, as well as all the trophies won by the Benfica football club and the Portuguese national team.
The museum houses exhibited jerseys, balls, and personal belongings that belonged to important football stars who left an indelible mark in club’s history. It is possible to enjoy a room that offers a special experience in which you can travel through time and all the important moments of the club via through small screens. This interactive show is called: A Journey through the Heart of Benfica. It is possible to visit the locker room where the players of the first team change their clothes and prepare to go out on the field. Next to the locker room there is a meeting and conference room, which the Benfica coach and footballers regularly visit both before and after the match, so you can sit in the chair where the club coach sits and be the Benfica coach for at least 5 minutes. The stadium also houses the "Hall of Fame". Along the way, the brightest moments and faces of Benfica's football players are painted on the walls.
Finally, before leaving the stadium, you go through a tunnel that leads the players to the field. At the stadium, there is a souvenir shop of the club where it is possible to buy a jersey, a ball and souvenirs reminiscent of a tour of this football temple.
The price of the original Benfica jersey ranges from 90 euros and up. In addition to sports equipment, it is possible to buy wine with the inscription of the football club at the stadium.
Opening hours: The stadium and museum are open every day (except when the game is played), from 10 am to 6 pm.
Author of the text:
Maja Glavaš, Bachelor with Honours in Communicology. Works in Tourism.
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Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash