Praia da Rocha’s iconic but decaying Fortaleza de Santa Catarina is finally due to be restored to its former glory.
After years of neglect, the fortress has been selected for the government’s ‘Revive’ initiative which involves leasing rundown public monuments to private investors to be renovated and turned into tourist attractions.
Under the terms of Revive, the fortress remains in State hands but its management will go private for a period of 30 to 50 years, Turismo de Portugal is quoted as telling national tabloid Correio da Manhã.
Before a tender is launched, a study will be carried out to determine how extensive the facelift can be without changing the building’s original features.
It is the kind of news Portimão has been waiting for.
“Recovering (the fortress) for tourism is a great solution,” mayoress Isilda Gomes told Correio da Manhã.
“The fortress is a landmark of Portimão, but currently a negative one,” Gomes admitted.
Located near the mouth of the Arade River, several years of abandon have left the fortress overrun with garbage and graffiti and a breeding ground for rats, mice and scavenging strays.
Renovations will be costly but Gomes is confident investors will seize on the opportunity.
“In the past, many entrepreneurs approached the council to find out what they needed to do to apply for the fortress’ management,” she said.