Recovered for public use by popular subscription in the 1990s, the Principal Theatre opened its doors in 1830, built according to the Italian model, very fashionable at the time, midway between Baroque and Romanticism. Its intimate atmosphere allows a special approach to the shows that are held there: monologues, concerts, performing arts…
Its dome, decorated by painter Xaime Quessada, should be highlighted: his drawings explain why the peanut gallery is called “the Paradise” here.
The Municipal Auditorium, designed by architect Casabellas, was inaugurated in 2005 and since then has become a reference point in the cultural programming of the city. It has three multipurpose rooms, the largest with a capacity of over 900 seats, devoted to shows, congresses, musical events, exhibitions, conventions, company meetings or social events.
Music Venues and Concert Bars
Ourense has a remarkable live music scene, with venues and bars that programme concerts regularly, with styles for all tastes.
In the historic area, Café Cultural Auriense stands out, with one of the most complete and eclectic programmes of the city, while Sala Berlín focuses on rock, metal and hip hop. El Pueblo programmes rock and punk, supporting especially the newcoming Galician bands.
Jazz lovers have their temple in Café Latino, which every May celebrates its festival, with outdoor concerts.
In the downtown area, it is essential to visit Café Pop Torgal; some of the most important names in the international independent scene have performed on this stage.
The 8 rooms of Galicine Cinema, located at the Ponte Vella Shopping Centre, screen commercial releases. In the auditorium of the Public Library, the Cineclube Padre Feijóo programmes regularly (every Monday and Wednesday from September to June) auteur cinema in original subtitled version, as well as films from the Galician film library.
Ourense has two exhibition spaces of municipal management located in unique buildings: the Municipal Museum, at the Méndez-Montouto Manor, and the José Ángel Valente Hall, in the former Bank of Spain. Both host temporary exhibitions of plastic arts, photography and sculpture.
In the Simeón building, an old textile store from the 19th century, is located the Marcos Valcárcel Cultural Centre, also dedicated to temporary exhibitions and conferences. The Alterarte Hall, dedicated to emerging talents, is located at the Univeristy Campus.
Among the main private galleries with exhibitions open to the public are Marisa Marimón Gallery and Visol Gallery.
The Archaeological-Thermal Interpretation Centre of As Burgas, together with the emblematic hot springs, is an excellent starting point to approach the history of the city, starting with its Roman foundation. The millennial thermal tradition of Ourense is explained here through panels, videos and reproductions, being possible to visit the remains of a Roman pool-sanctuary from the 1st century AD.
Another journey to the origins is offered by the Anthology of Sculpture in San Francisco, where temporary exhibitions of the impressive collections of the Provincial Archaeological Museum (currently closed to the public) are exhibited: Prehistory, Celtic culture, Galician-Roman world, pre-Romanesque and Medieval archaeology.
Ourense has also interesting thematic museums, such as the Bagpipe Museum, the Arturo Baltar Exhibition Space, which houses a spectacular handcrafted nativity scene of more than a hundred pieces made by this Ourense sculptor, or the Fernández Pacheco Model Train Collection, one of the most important in Europe.See Museums in Ourense
Different associations and organizations, some with centuries-old history such as the Liceo of Ourense (located in the beautiful Oca-Valladares Palace), usually schedule cultural activities. It is worth taking a look at the programmes of Ateneo, El Cercano, Youth House and Lusquiños Space.
The reference reading space in the city is the Public Library, in the centre of Ourense: five floors dedicated to literature with interesting proposals for dynamization and where, in addition, the Cineclube Padre Feijóo screens its films. Curious readers and researchers will enjoy the extensive funds of the Province Council Library, in the Marcos Valcárcel Cultural Centre, and the library at the University Campus. The neighborhoods of A Ponte, A Carballeira and San Francisco also have municipal libraries, especially oriented to children and initiation to reading.
Those of you who like to sleep late and prefer to explore the city nightlife will discover why Ourense is known as the “sparkling land”. Here we party a lot, and whether it’s to have a drink in good company or to go dancing, you will always find a place to your liking and an excuse to delay the return home.