The Olga Cadaval cultural centre is a beautifully restored former Art Deco cinema which for many years played an important role in the day-to-day lives of the residents of this charming town in Portugal for more than forty years.
In 1985, a major fire destroyed much of the building including the stalls, much of the balcony, the stage, the wings and the orchestra pit. Unsure quite what to do with it, the authorities left it abandoned for a number of years whilst making the remaining usable spaces available in their own right for a number of new and existing cultural events.
A building reborn
Recognising that the town had a need for a central cultural space, and that the cinema merited reconstruction both in its own right as a building of architectural heritage and in order to achieve a new cultural centre, it was finally decided to embark on a major programme of reconstruction and regeneration, and so the Olga Cadaval Cultural Centre, or Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval, as it is known locally, was born.
In its heyday, the cinema played host to some of the town’s biggest parties and celebrations, such as the Mardi Gras balls and major Christmas concerts that were attended not just by locals but by many great names from Lisbon and indeed all over Portugal.
Since its restoration, the Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval has catapulted itself even further into the heart of Sintra society and now hosts a number of annual events including the long-famous Sintra festival. In 2012, the Sintra festival took place for the 47th year between 22 June and 10 July. Following the centenary of Mahler’s death, the next festival focuses on the Vienna before Mahler – the Vienna of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms.
There are many other cultural events that populate the centre’s busy calendar. Furthermore the museum of modern art, Portugal’s first, is located on the doorstep, making this very much a sought-after cultural destination.
In the case of Sintra, the Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval recognised that the town particularly merited its intervention due to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the resultant cultural interest that this bestowed upon it.
The main auditorium and adjacent rooms have an impressive capacity of some 1000 and it is well worth checking the entertainment and leisure listings to find out what is taking place at the Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval during your stay. And regardless of whether you attend a scheduled event, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this beautiful restored building, with its marvellous Art Déco and Italian features, which have been so lovingly returned to life.