Centro Cultural de Belém, a city inside the city
The Centro Cultural de Belém, Belém’s Cultural Centre (CCB), was a controversial construction for the public opinion.
When the idea first appeared in 1988, there were many voices against the investment and construction next to such an important monument as Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (a monastery from the 16th century). Nowadays, the CCB is an essential cultural tool for the Lisbon people.
Actually, the walls coated with “Abancado de Pêro Pinheiro” limestone, finished with rustic “gastejado” style, were a perfect match to its “big brother” Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, considered World Heritage by UNESCO, creating harmony in the landscape and the CCB gained the title of monument of public interest in 2002.
Resulting of the partnership of two architects, Vittorio Gregotti (Italy) and Manuel Salgado (Portugal), CCB consists of an area of 97.000 square meters of construction, distributed around 6 hectares. It is a small city, with gardens and a premium view of the river, restaurants and stores, and off course, an exhibit area with 80.000 square meters dedicated to temporary exhibits and an entertainment area (three auditoriums with capacity for around two thousand people).
It is home for the arts as a whole, part of the international itinerary of shows and exhibitions, from plastic arts to architecture, as well as photography, dance, opera, ballet and theatre.
The centre’s priority is to offer an eclectic programming for all ages. This April there is a presentation by Rui Massena, the conductor who helped transform Guimarães 2012- European Culture Capital and fado singer António Vasco Moraes. There is also an opportunity to listen to Portuguese alternative bands such as Os Capitães de Areia and First Breath From Coma, included in CCBeat.
At CCB there is also the Colecção Berardo Museum – Modern and Contemporary Art, exhibiting until the end of August “Matter Fictions”, with work by Teodora Valaitis, Ana Hatherly, Harry Smith, Nobuko Tsuchiya, Martin Howse, André Sousa, among many others, and also “Enigma, Portuguese Art in the Berardo Collection”, until September 2016.
In conclusion, the building in itself is worth visiting, as an architectonic piece, but also for its cultural offer.
But you must also discover all of Belém’s surroundings, one of the most beautiful areas of Lisbon.
Getting to know it is knowing an immense heritage. You could go on an architectonic tour, led by a guide, starting at Centro Cultural de Belém, passing through the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, next to the Navy Museum and the Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium, all this within the Praça do Império. There is a whole world to unravel: from the tasty Pastéis de Belém, to the Jardim Tropical, full of exotic plants, passing through the Coach Museum, Palácio de Belém, but also next to the Tagus River, where you can get to by an underground passage, you will find the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument that pays homage to the heroic achievements of our ancestral navigators and the Belém Tower.
Are you ready to see, listen and experience the Belém’s Cultural Centre?