The Chamber of Valença has been waiting for almost two months for instructions from the guardianship to proceed with the reconstruction of the fortress that collapsed following the storm on January 1, the mayor of the municipality said this Tuesday.
Speaking to the Lusa agency, José Manuel Carpinteira said that the monument, classified as National Heritage since 1928, is under the tutelage of the Ministry of Finance, but it is up to the Regional Directorate of Culture of the North (DRCN) to accompany the municipality in the rehabilitation of the cloth of Wall that collapsed, in the Coroada area.
“The matter is, at the moment, with the DRCN. We asked them to give us indications on the most appropriate procedure for the reconstruction of the fortress. We have already met two or three times for this purpose. better way,” he said.
According to the socialist mayor, the “easiest” way to move forward with the work is to transfer the responsibility for rebuilding the national monument to the Valença Chamber, through a protocol to be established with the DRCN.
“Once the responsibility for the work has passed to the City Council, it is necessary to guarantee financing. But there is still the technical issue that has to do with how this procedure will be carried out. If we open a public tender for the execution of the project and the reconstruction or if we go ahead with [o concurso público para] the project and, later, we opened a public tender for the reconstruction. We should already have answers to this, but we don’t. I hope in the course of this week to have answers on these points “, he specified.
The fortress is in the process of being classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The joint application with the bastioned fortresses of Almeida and Marvão was presented, in December 2022, to the National Commission of UNESCO.
The mayor also explained that, after the landslide caused by the storm on January 1, it was planned to consolidate the soil of the wall that collapsed, a solution that was ruled out by a specialist from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, consulted by the County.
A few days after the collapse, the mayor estimated that the recovery of the wall would cost around two million euros, an amount that will be fully covered by the guardianship.
In the northern area of the wall of Valença, where the Pousada de São Teotónio is located, more cracks are identified, “which are followed for several years“. However, after the January landslide and “at the suggestion of the DRCN technicians, access to the tunnels on the lower levels of the Socorro and Carmo bulwarks was restricted”, next to that hotel unit, a measure that still remains.
The main 17th-century fortress ex-libris from the city of Valença, in the district of Viana do Castelo, it is visited annually by more than two million people.
The national monument is particularly important due to its size, with a 5.5 kilometer long wall, and its history, having been, over its approximately 700 years, the third most important monument in Portugal.