Cultural Centre of Belém

The largest cultural complex in Portugal, hosting opera, ballet, symphony concerts and much more.

TravelCurious Tip

If you want to rest your feet for a moment, try the terrace cafe on the first floor with a garden overlooking the river and the Discoveries Monument

From Manueline to Modernist

Located in Santa Maria de Belém, near the riverfront west of Lisbon, the Cultural Centre of Belém cuts a sharp contrast with the nearby Jerónimos Monastery. Where the monastery is built in an almost decadently ornate Manueline style using honey-gold limestone, the cultural centre is a rather more austere, brutal and grey structure, though no less beautiful if that’s to your taste.

The Culture

The colossal building was initially intended to accommodate the European Presidency, but has since been adapted to offer spaces for conferences, exhibitions and all sorts of artistic events. It hosts some of the world’s foremost touring operas, ballets and art displays, in addition to being the permanent home of the Berardo Museum.

The Berardo Museum holds a remarkable private collection with at any time more than 250 pieces of Berardo’s estimated 4,000 pieces of contemporary art on display. Amassed by the Portuguese magnate Joe Berardo, it includes works by Warhol, Picasso, Dalí, Duchamp, Magritte, Jackson Pollock and Malevich.

As such, it spans the whole spectrum of contemporary art, from surrealism through to pop art. It is one of the finest collections in the world; any art fan must be sure to pay it a visit. Whatever you do, don’t miss Andy Warhol’s Ten Foot Flowers, Picasso’s Femme dans un fauteil (Métamorphose) or Francis Bacon’s Oedipus and the Sphinx After Ingres.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
Discoveries Monument
A monument celebrating the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Jerónimos Monastery
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a prime example of the exuberant Manueline architectural style.
Belém Tower
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this fortified tower was used defence and ceremony during the Golden Era.
Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium
This planetarium in the Belém quarter projects stunning astronomical shows inside its 25-metre dome.
Electricity Museum
A magnificent building that hosts exhibitions about the evolution of energy.
National Coach Museum
The most popular museum in Lisbon proudly displays one of the world's finest collections of historical carriages.

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