In the thirties and forties of the 20th century some beautiful and modern cinemas were built in Lisbon. Some of them – Lys, Europa – no long exist as cinemas and one – Monumental - was demolished.


São Jorge Cinema

“Built with Anglo-Portuguese capitals, this cinema is one of the works recently built in Lisbon that has caused the most sensation, already for the value itself, for escaping the molds of the baroque-picturesque costumes of most of our constructions…. The building comprises, in addition to the show room, a stage with an elevating cinema organ; two “foyers”; management facilities; private projection room, facilities for air conditioning and heating machinery, etc.”

Arquitectura. N.º 35 (agosto 1950). 

São Jorge cinema projection room © Estúdio Mário Novais


Europa Cinema

“In mid-1929, the owner José Dionísio Nobre, intending to build a cinema on a plot of land he owned at Rua Almeida e Sousa, no. 35, turning it to Rua Francisco Metrass, in Campo de Ourique, presented it to the Inspecção dos Espectáculo, under plans from the architect Raul Martins, the necessary authorization request. The work will be completed at the end of 1930, and the cinema will now bear the name Cinema Europa”.

Os mais antigos cinemas de Lisboa / M. Felix Ribeiro, 1978. 

© Estúdio Mário Novais
© Estúdio Mário Novais

“In this work of […] modern character […] its author, the architect Raul Martins, struggled with the economic question […] However, it appears pleasant to us from the outside and the interior is […] elegant… This is, therefore, one of the most interesting and modern entertainment houses that our capital has, based in one of its most populous neighborhoods.”

Arquitectura. N.º 23 (fevereiro 1932). 

Foyer © Estúdio Mário Novais
Projection room © Estúdio Mário Novais
© Estúdio Mário Novais


Lys Cinema

“Built […] in a strategic place, where neighboring and popular neighborhoods, such as Graça, Anjos and Almirante Reis, converged, was seen for a long period of its existence as a place […] where they were taken […] the most successful films, immediately after leaving the premiere cinema.”

Os mais antigos cinemas de Lisboa / M. Felix Ribeiro, 1978. 

Facade © Estúdio Horácio Novais
Projection room © Estúdio Horácio Novais


Monumental Cine Theater

“The hammer is blind by definition. It is an instrument that destroys everything and Monumental is no exception. Of the imposing architectural ensemble, built to last, in the 1940s, there is little left but the facade and the tower topped by the armillary sphere… The rest […], leather fauteils, mirrors, lamps and chandeliers, draperies, wood, marble, glass bricks, furniture, the screen itself, everything was sold off the hook.”

Vandalismo abateu-se sobre o Monumental. Diário de Lisboa (25 de fevereiro de 1984). 

Theater room © Estúdio Horácio Novais
Movie theater © Estúdio Horácio Novais



“I gave the building an expression that clearly translated the purpose for which it was intended, seeking to achieve a set that was in accordance with the principles of contemporary architecture. I made it dominate over the entire construction the luminous tower topped by the title of the cinema…”

Raul Rodrigues Lima, Revista oficial do Sindicato Nacional dos Arquitectos. N.º 12 (1940). 

Facade © Estúdio Horácio Novais
Foyer © Estúdio Horácio Novais
Projection room © Estúdio Horácio Novais

Photos with history

Many memories can arise when viewing the photographs from the studios of Mário and Horácio Novais
who recorded the daily life, the architecture and works for advertising.

Find out more
Updated on 19 august 2020

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