18th January 2023
“Historical Village of Portugal” to become national monument

Linhares da Beira in Celorico da Beira is one of the 12 “Historical Villages of Portugal”

A bid has been launched by Portugal’s cultural heritage authority (DGPC) to change the status of Linhares da Beira’s old town from “site of public interest” to “site of national interest/national monument” as well as rename it “Historic Town of Linhares da Beira“.

Linhares da Beira is located in the north-eastern municipality of Celorico da Beira (Guarda district).

In an order published on Wednesday, the head of cultural heritage, João Carlos dos Santos, determines the opening of the procedure to change the area classified as a “place of public interest” to “place of national interest/national monument” and its renaming as “Historic Town of Linhares da Beira”.

“The old town of Linhares da Beira, classified as CIP [a place of public interest], and the buildings located in the general protection zone (50 metres from its external limits) are still covered by the legal provisions in force,” according to the document.

The mayor of Celorico da Beira, Carlos Ascensão, told Lusa news agency that the bid to change Linhares da Beira’s status will enhance its contribution to the network of 12 Historical Villages of Portugal (Aldeias Históricas de Portugal).

According to the mayor, the process will allow all 12 villages to settle “some inconsistencies” that still exist and, at a later stage, strengthen their bid as candidates for UNESCO World Heritage.

Regarding Linhares da Beira, Ascensão said that naming the town “a national monument” would give it “a different status”, allowing for different initiatives and bids to take place that would otherwise not be possible.

The new status “opens new doors but also brings responsibilities in terms of (heritage) conservation standards”, he stated.

On the other hand, he stressed that “there is much work to do” because in the various Historic Villages, there are “inconsistencies” that need to be overcome.

“There are criteria that must be respected and the process that is now underway will increase the degree of demand and rigor,” he said.

With all 12 Historic Villages named national monuments, other opportunities will arise, namely in terms of tourism.

“We would be very proud to see all 12 villages [classified] named national monuments as we will then be able to apply for UNESCO heritage, which is our goal,” concluded the mayor of Celorico da Beira who also chairs the Historical Villages of Portugal – Association for Tourism Development.

The network of the Historical Villages of Portugal includes Almeida, Belmonte, Castelo Mendo, Castelo Novo, Castelo Rodrigo, Idanha-a-Velha, Linhares da Beira, Marialva, Monsanto, Piódão, Sortelha and Trancoso.