Sagres fortess received more than 400,000 visitors in 2022... now all that revenue will be handled by Lisbon, says Algarve development boss José Apolinário. Image: Bruno Filipe Pires/ Open Media

Heritage department revamp makes no sense – Algarve development chief

Lisbon’s plan to “verticalise and centralise” monuments leaves Algarve hugely unimpressed

The chairman of the Algarve regional coordination and development commission (CCDR), José Apolinário, has spoken out against the administrative reorganisation of the responsibilities of the directorate of cultural heritage (DGPC), which he describes as “incoherent”.

At stake is an administrative reorganisation announced last week by culture minister, Pedro Adão e Silva, and which provides for the creation of a public company, based in Lisbon, to manage museums and national monuments – and a public institute, based in Porto, to safeguard heritage, a solution which José Apolinário said he disagreed with because it “disregards” the principle of subsidiarity.

According to the reorganisation, the Roman ruins of Milreu, in Estoi, are to be transferred from the Algarve’s regional cultural directorate to the public institute Património Cultural (Cultural Heritage), while Sagres Fortress is to be transferred from the same regional directorate to the public company Museus e Monumentos de Portugal (Museums and Monuments of Portugal).

José Apolinário refers to the intention to “verticalise and centralise the management of these monuments and classified sites“, considering the process of incorporating the regional directorate into the CCDR would be the best way of serving regional interests.

“This proposal is a proposal that devalues, disregards the principle of subsidiarity, because we will no longer have regional coordination of this classified heritage and we will start to have the vertical management of this heritage, with the proceeds, from Lisbon” he told Lusa.

The reorganization announced by the Pedro Adão e Silva seems to have, according to José Apolinário, “a single purpose, which is to manage the revenue received from tourists visiting Sagres from Lisbon“.

Sagres Fortress has about 450,000 visitors, has an income and the intention is to manage this income from Lisbon. I cannot agree,” he reiterated, referring repeatedly to the “principle of subsidiarity“, which was defended by personalities such as Francisco Sá Carneiro, in 1980, and “is pointed out in the current government programme”.

The government announced that it will be reorganising the directorate of cultural heritage’s powers by creating two entities: the company Museums and Monuments of Portugal and a public institute to safeguard heritage.

Adão e Silva described them as “two very important diplomas” conceived to “correct deep setbacks, but essentially have a renewed ambition…”

According to the minister, there will be “a transition period”, in the transfer of responsibilities from DGPC to the two new entities, so that they are in operation from  January 1, 2024.

Thus now, a new battle begins, with a great deal of bad feeling in the air.

Source material: LUSA