Convento da Graça should be cultural centre

LISBON CÂMARA’S Bloco de Esquerda candidate is calling for the Convento da Graça to be re-opened. José Sá Fernandes complained recently that the national monument, which has been shut for several years, could be turned into a cultural centre for Lisbon citizens. Making it one of his electoral campaign pledges, the Lisbon lawyer said that the row surrounding the convent was yet another “typical example of a city that wasn’t being restored, wasn’t ecologically friendly and wasn’t being run in a transparent way for the people.” He complained that, of the convent’s total 6,000sqm, only 600sqm are being used, while the two cloisters and the whole of the main façade were falling to bits. “Given the size that it is, the whole convent could be transformed into whatever we want, such as dance and theatre studios and handicraft workshops – something that Lisbon doesn’t have,” he said. Fernandes also believes that the space could be used to improve and extend the city’s public library network.