Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian was the Roman Abramovich of his era, making his millions from oil but investing in the world’s best art rather than footballers. Born of wealthy Armenian parents in Istanbul in 1869, he followed his father into the oil industry and became oil consultant to the Ottoman court. In 1911 he set up the Oil Petroleum Company, raking in five percent of the company’s vast profits, most of which he invested in England where he chose to live. During World War II, his Turkish background made him unwelcome in Britain, so Gulbenkian moved to Portugal, which offered him tax-free status and a secure home. By his death in 1955, he had accumulated one of the best private art collections in the world. His dying wish was that all his collection should be displayed in one place, and this was granted in 1969 – a century after his birth – with the opening of the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. The museum continues to buy works of art with his funds to this day, much of it for the Centro de Arte Moderna, which was opened in 1984.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Portugal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The spirit of fado in Lisbon

The spirit of fado in Lisbon

An intrinsic element of musical tradition in Portugal – fado is a form of melancholic song that characterises the heart of Portuguese culture. Sarah Gilbert v…

25 Jul 2018 • Sarah Gilbert insert_drive_file Article
6 reasons why you should visit Portugal in 2018

6 reasons why you should visit Portugal in 2018

Portugal is less than three hours’ flight time from the UK, while flights from the US are generally available for under $500. Moreover, once you get there, it…

04 May 2018 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
Your Portugal itinerary: 4 road trip ideas to explore the country

Your Portugal itinerary: 4 road trip ideas to explore the country

Portugal is having a real purple patch right now. It’s one of the safest and least expensive countries in Europe with a balmy year-round sunny climate. Your d…

03 May 2018 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs