Newsletter Spring 2014


NORTHERN PORTUGAL REGIONAL DIRECTORATE FOR CULTURE (NRCD), of Portugal Secretary of Culture would like to welcome you to this latest edition of the HISTCAPE Newsletter.

The Directorate recently held an International Conference on ‘Historical Assets and Related Landscape’ on 25th March in Mire de Tibães, Monastery of Tibães, Portugal.The theme of this Conference was: Rural Landscape: A Living Heritage Resource. The Conference explored the current various aspects of rural heritage that are in continuous state of transformation and adaptation. Cultural Heritage in rural areas is a complex topic involvingdifferent social, economic, territorial and cultural assets that contribute to a living resource in a territory. This complex and continuous state of transformation of the rural landscape requires an active and innovative approach to use, conservation and adaptation.

The HISTCAPE Open Conference getting underway in Mosteiro de São Martinho de Tibães, Portugal

The Director of Northern Portugal Regional, Directorate for Culture, António Ponte, spoke on the impact of social, economic and environmental changes of the recent decades which have impacted European rural areas. The survival of a large part of European Heritage and Cultural Landscape is now threatened by strong demographic changes, changing patterns of economic activities andthe exodus of young people to large cities. , These changes adversely affect the demographic balance and sustainability, thus creating a downward spiral of decreasing investment in rural areas, resulting in the reduction of facilities and services.

The director paid special attention to the acceleration of this trend in the last decade, and predicted its continuation for the near future., He mentioned that the trend has been exacerbated by the recession that directly threatens  heritage assets. Henot only talked about what we could identify as monumental heritage but also of vernacular heritage, the heritage of ethnographic nature, and industrial assets that have lost their function or utility. Dr. Ponte spoke also about the values of immaterial and intangible heritage, and the historic landscape and the need for a profound change in its sustainability.

¨The challenge to be faced is to identify and develop the tools to ensure sustainable management of the landscape and the preservation of small historical centers in rural areas of Europe, helping to stem this downward spiral that is being experienced in European rural areas.¨

This international conference  also aimed to show research and knowledge associated with topics of rural landscape, heritage in rural areas and small historical centers, as well as management experiences. Some best practice identified by NRCD, Portugal were presented as well as intervention strategies for cultural heritage in rural areas. Special focus was on the safeguarding of assets and economic sustainability. The approaches of other HISTCAPE project partners was also presented and discussed.

The international conference ended with a study visit to Vale da Varosa, to view firsthand the practice and experience of NRCD on safeguarding and administration of cultural heritage.

Further details are available later in this Newsletter and will be posted on the HISTCAPE website as soon as possible. - visit

The Monastery of Tibães was founded around 1060, and its feudal rights were granted by Henry of Burgundy, Count of Portugal, in 1110. During the Middle Ages, after the Kingdom of Portugal became independent, rich and vast properties in the North of the country came into the possession of the Monastery. By the late 16th century the Monastery had become the ´mother house´ of the Order of Saint Benedict for Portugal and the Colony of Brazil. It fell into decline after the possession of the monastic properties by the state.

Sold at an auction sale in 1864, the Tibães Monastery and all its surrounding areas fell into decay and ruin. A great part of the ensemble, including the Refectory Cloister, was destroyed in a fire in 1894. In 1986 the Monastery became a State property and an extensive recovery project was started. There are now courses and the Monastery serves as a regional education centre.


 International Open HISTCAPE Conference in the heart of Northern Portugal -“Rural Landscape: A Living Heritage Resource”

As mentioned earlier the International Conference on the HISTCAPE project took place in the Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães in Braga. The conference focused on the Rural Landscape from the approach of “a Living Heritage Resource”. The Open Conference offered a broad overview of the heritagethrough several outstanding cases located in Northern Portugal. There were many informative presentations highlighting the rich cultural and landscape heritage of the region.

Teresa Andresen, Phd, Landscape Architect and Professor at Porto University, showed the necessity of a sustainable evolution of rural economic activities of the territory that built and shaped the landscape. The evolution of agricultural processes must be necessary for the conservation of the terraced vineyard landscape of Alto Douro. The Alto Douro Wine Region, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has recognized that adoption of innovative methods for wine growing is in accordance with Its Cultural Landscape Values.

Luis Sebastian, Phd, Director of Lamego Museo, presented a very relevant integrated conservation approach for territorial heritage. The Valley of Varosa contains a high concentration ofimportant religious sites in the territory. The heritage of the Valley is closely linked with the Douro World Heritage site and contains many different types of heritages from archeological to architectural. The entire valley is preserved and managed as an integrated whole.

Joao Carlos Dos Santos, Phd, Sub-director General of Cultural Heritage, explained the completed process of the rehabilitation of the Tibães Monastery. He discussed thatto successfully implement rehabilitation of a heritage building a diversified recovery model is necessary for both the region and surrounded community. The process of rehabilitation aims to create a new active and livable heritage for the surrounding territory following a modern approach of recovering. The resulting project of thisprocess is that the Monastery has developed extensive educational and cultural activities Together with the reestabishement of a monastic community and a modern inn

Paulo Vieira, Arquitect of Viana do Castelo Council, showed an extensive vision of the management of conservation of the Historical City of Viana do Castelo. Viana do Castelo represents a common problem of historical areas that are characterized by large remote complexes with very different problems. The City council has developed an integrated policy of conservation and intervention, involving a profound understanding and analysis of the multidimensional aspects to better define adequate strategies. They have developed an implementation plan and are closely monitoring the process.

Ricardo Rodrigues, Architect of the Municipality of Guimarães, presented the experience of the management of the historic city of Guimarãe and its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site. He further described the evolution of a territorial approach to rural heritage conservation and the celebration of Guimarãe 2012- European Capital of culture. The experience of Guimarãe shows a very relevant experience of the evolution from urban heritage to a more open approach considering the connection between the historic city with the surrounded landscape. MAPA(?) the agency responsible for Guimarãe, is currently in a process of new interventions within the rural territorial as a heritage asset.

Mario Brito, senior advisor in the Cultural Direction of North Region, addressed the topic for the need to consider tourism in the development of rural heritage. He stated that tourism is an essential part of any heritage project. Cultural tourism is more and more important in the development of cultural heritage. Tourist strategies need to be better integrated and connected with rural heritage as a relevant economic factor.


Ingeborg Hoffstandt, Manager of Administration. Speaker of the section public communication, Association of German Castles Administration, presented a short journey through the history of Rhineland-Palatinate. She explained the rich cultural heritage that characterizes Rhineland-Palatinate and that this is a gift delivered from generation to generation. That it is our mission to foster and preserve this heritage for future generations. This journey permitted the audience to know the past and to better understand Rhineland-Palatinate. 

 The next HISTCAPE Open Conference is to be held at the castle Laubegg, Ragnitz, on 22th May 2014, and will be hosted by the Landentwicklung Steiermark, Region of Styria, Austria

"The next HISTCAPE Open Conference is to be held at the castle Laubegg, Ragnitz, on 22th May 2014, and will be hosted by the Landentwicklung Steiermark, Region of Styria, Austria. This event aims to deepen the understanding of European concepts and good practice in the field of vacancy reduction and revitalization of historic towns. International speakers will present innovative concepts and connect them to the Styrian policy for the historic towns and villages in rural areas. The conference will be completed with a study visit for HISTCAPE partners to the municipality of Wildon, one of the HISTCAPE pilot action municipalities in Styria. For registration please contact"

Alternatively send your comments or contributions to




Project Update

The HISTCAPE project is in its last year. During this year Partners are involved in the implementation of practice interchange and describing their lesson learned from the Project and also with the synergies of other experience outside the project.

During the upcoming months, Partners will define their Implementation Plans. Based on the experience that developed from the Pilot Actions. Partners will define their innovations in their regional policies regarding rural heritage that they will implement after the end of the project.

The Pilot Actions developed during 2013, presented outputs, ideas and results to Partners during the last meeting in Portugal. The evaluation of the implementation of innovative policies in six regions as pilot cases, have given strong support to partners on how to focus their own implementation plans and how to recognize innovations and adapt good practice.

In addition to preparing their Pilot Actions the project partners are also writing their Implementation Plans. These plans are designed to help them implement Good Practice in their regions. They have been assisted in their efforts by Component Leader 3 – the Region of Castile & Leon, Spain. These Implementation Plans include details on how to recognise Good Practice and adapt it to local conditions.


The draft Guide

The draft of the Final Guidebook has begun. It is designed to relate the partners´ experiences, lessons learned and guidance for decision makers in other regions of Europe outside the project. This book will feature Good Practice from each region that describes the difficulties, barriers and solutions to issues in rural development related to historic towns and landscapes. The 10 Good Practice from the project partners were evaluated through extensive evaluations. There will also be a chapter on the methodology used during the project, annotated bibliography, contact details and an appendix. An Editorial Board was formed to guide the publication and this has insured lively debate and discussion as the work progresses.

This publication will have a limited edition print run and will be distributed to key decision makers, libraries and the project partners. But it will also be made freely available via the project website in digital (PDF) form.



Update on Pilot Actions

Arcevia – Marche Rural Heritage in Arcevia´s Lanscape: A continuous and livable resource

Designing and developing an on-site pilot action “Community and resources interconnected” Marche Region, Italy

The Pilot Action in Arcevia focused on the tacit knowledge, landscape resources and development policies. The pilot action is site specific but, after been assessed, it can be transferable to other Marche contexts, via Strategic Agenda of the Marche Regional Landscape Plan. The team in Arcevia was inspired by Good Practice including:

Tools for social participation and involvement

Embassadors of the cultural heritage

During the preparation of their Pilot Action they:

Interviewed over 50 people including: experts, stakeholders, policy makers, citizens (October 2013-January 2014). This included non structured interviews, life stories and participant observations and semi-structured interviews.

Held meetings with the representatives of the “Castles Committes” (November 2013)

Discussed the project with the Regional Government (December 2013)

Conducted workshops where more than 40 people attended, discussing with the team and between them for 4 hours about Arcevia landscape and action proposals (March 2014)

Published 2 reports (December and March)

Analysed landscape and networks to create a Map of Potentials that included:    landscape systems, relationships between elements, transformations dynamics, forms of knowledge and landscape resources.


One of the interesting aspects of the Pilot Action was their creation of this Map of Potentials. This included the aspect of the community in the World. How immigrates, businesses and generations connect throughout the World yet still call Arcevia home. This led to the realization that a small community of only a few thousand is in reality quite larger both in impact and geographically. The identification of this network will be an important tool in the future of the region.

Saarema – Rural Heritage in Estonia: Making accessible and recognizable the cultural and natural values of the Saare County

Implementation of the participatory mapping practicein the framework of the Pilot Actions in Saarte Geopark, Saarema County, Estonia




Saare County has addressed to innovate in both heritage and natural policies within the Pilot Action Framework focused on the improving of the enhacement and the identification of the cultural and natural values of its territory. Main problem to solve in Saare County was given by the stakeholders and visitors - there is a need to describe the Saaremaa hiking routes and visiting objects in a better way, since there was no good source of information to recognize and identify the values of the natural and heritage assets of the Saare territory. Thourghout 6 local workshops 192 participants, among local stakeholders and experts, gathered working-groups to identify, characterize and mapping tourists’ asset in the Saare territory.


Good Practice

Movie Magic – Marche, Italy

This good practice allows the public to admire the Italian landscape from afar and induces them to visit. It also it highlights the beauty of the landscape and the need for active protection among the local residents (Zenobi).

Marche Movie Tour is a initiative of Marche Film Commission (MFC) together with Region of Marche Government to connect places of the Region where past films were shot. Marche Film Commission (MFC) is a public foundation with the aim to promote places suitable to accommodate production and local professionalism through its website and expert advice. MFC provides also maps of places in region where past films were shot (Movie Map) and itineraries for tourists ().

With this initiative Region Marche connect moveable heritage (cinema), with rural heritage and landscape and intangible heritage with local community that lives either in the Region or abroad and potential creative and cultural tourism.

Filmmakers possess a power to make landscapes and historic places come alive. By seeing a beautiful landscape in the movies it increases appreciation both for the local population and tourists. In the region of Marche one good practice has been the establishment of a film commission to promote and educate filmmakers. This can be a tool for a development policy based on local resources (namely Landscape and Cultural Assets). Marche Film Commission (MFC) promotes environment, landscape, heritage, protection and employment through the cinema industry. It also promotes the locations involved in film production as tourism destination (“Movie Induced Tourism”).

1) Direct economic impact.

2) Indirect and induced economic effects

3) Increase of professional profiles

4) Impact on promotion, protection and tourism

MFC is now a public foundation with the aim to promote promotes places suitable to accommodate production and local professionalism through its website and expert advice. MFC provides also maps of places in region where past films were shot (Movie Map) and itineraries for tourists (Marche Movie Tour). MFC has supported 18 productions in 2011 while 8 productions have obtained financial support for a total of €70,000. Ten additional productions have used the services offered by MFC such as reception, editing expertise, location and production guidance, site services, product placement and funding and promotion.

Partner News

The workshop held on 1st March 2014 took place in Centro Culturale San Francesco, Arcevia, Regione Marche, Italy

The meeting started with presentation that gave information concerning the Histcape project, the organization of the workshop, and what the working group did in the previous stage. Its main scope was to animate the discussion. Some slides also presented negative images of Arcevia in the future, in order to promote the self-reflection of the participants about which kind of landscape they want.

The main activity of the workshop was a joint work on “Potentials Map”

In this table the experts have concentrated actions and policies that are connected to specific features of the place. The co-presence of human and landscape resources, which are in mutual interaction, defines an extraordinary potential for economic growth.

During the local workshop of March 1st, experts, participants and Regione Marche have worked on this map together. The experts had previously prepared three lists: a list of the landscape resources, a list of possible development actions, a list of actors that could promote and manage these actions. The actions have been built as courses of action, quite well defined to be viable, not so much to be perceived as a something to “take it or leave it”. The actions have been divided in three categories:

a. Recognizing Actions (“the landscape has a value for me because...”)

b.. Actions for taking care and reproducing (“the landscape asks for attention because...”

c. Activation actions (the landscape from endowment to resource)

During the workshop it was checked with the participants that the lists (resources, actors, actions) were comptete and we to match one list with another

Eventually 3 proposals for a development action emerged

1. The walking places of the Arcevia Castles

We will distribute questionnaires and maps for local people in order to identify the paths that the Arcevia community perceives as relevant, the elements of the landscape that it is possible to meet along them, the stories and legends embedded. We will work together with researchers and students of the Department of Sociology of the Ancona University, and with the artists of the Operazione Arcevia

2 The award “I take care of the Arcevia landscape”

The idea is to organize every year a public ceremony that awards the person or the organization that has played a distinguished role in preserving or improving single elements of the Arcevia landscape

3. The testimonials of the landscape

We will develop in-depth interviews to older people of the community to gather their knowledge of the Arcevia rural landscape These interviews will be registered and videos will be realized. They will represent documents for the virtual museam of the “oral stories” of the Arcevia landscape

Rhineland-Palatinate: Cooperation is the key

German HISTCAPE partner Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz offered a workshop together with Akademie Ländlicher Raum Rheinland-Pfalz about new models for the use of historic buildings in rural municipalities. Main topic: How to avoid vacancies and to find solutions, which adequatly fit the needs of citizens as well as the preservation of cultural heritage sites.

More than 70 participants (e.g. representatives from municipalities’ administration, majors, citizens, architects, cultural heritage operators, regional developers) joined the workshop and the lively discussions showed the huge interest in the topic. Main result of the whole day workshop: Municipalities and regions will benefit most from an integrative approach, which joins forces of monument conservation, public administration, private and public heritage site operators and citizens. Examples from Histcape partners were shown and gained specific interest, because they illustrated in a most convincing way: European regions face similar challenges and there are many solutions waiting for transfer.


German-Polish cultural heritage cooperation: Klosterland

KLOSTERLAND (“land of monasteries”) represents an association of former and active monasteries in Germany and Poland. These monasteries work together in a partnership which is based both on an organizational and operational level. They showcase themselves under the same umbrella brand to the public. The monasteries in KLOSTERLAND offer their guests a wide range of touristic and cultural activities. Visitors can learn about the turbulent past associated with the historic ruins, the lives of their residents and their unique architecture. Furthermore, museums, concerts, markets, spiritual offers and festivals revive the medieval walls.

The interaction between culture, architecture and nature ensures a unique atmosphere. KLOSTERLAND is a service for monasteries and their regions as well as tourists interested in culture. The aim of the association is to establish a common use of the brand through its most important partners and service providers for monasteries in Germany, Poland and beyond.

For further information please contact Lara Buschmann of Klosterland or visit the homepage of the association: ;




 Study Visit – to Vale da Varosa

HISTCAPE Project Partner North Portugal organised a study visit for all HISTCAPE partners, on 27th march 2014 to the Vale da Varosa. This visit focused on the reuse of this Monastery into a regional meeting centre and museum. It included a tour of the grounds, museum and a description of the conservation process.

The study visit focused on the valley of the Varosa River where HISTCAPE partners were able to visit the monumental heritage of the ¨Vale do Varosa¨ project. This project integrates many different aspects of cultural heritage conservation and serves as an example for the surrounding territory, It is under the management of the Northern Portugal Regional Directorate for Culture and is located in an rural area that aims to safeguarding both the cultural heritage and its setting in the landscape. This integrated approach ensures the existence of a living rural landscape.

The assets integrating into the "Vale do Varosa" project include the Monastery of St. John Tarouca and Monastery of Santa Maria Salzedas two Cistercian monasteries. Interestingly these two monasteries of the Cistercian order closer to each other than any other in Europe.

HISTCAPE Partners also visited the “Casa do Paço”, a building from the XVI century, restored by the Municipality of Tarouca in order to accommodate a space for meetings, exhibitions and other venues.

After the Vale do Varosa, the partners visited the landscape of Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, managed by the Northern Portugal Regional Directorate for Culture.

Save the Date

22 May 2014 Brussels – Belgium. Policy sharing, policy learning

INTERREG IVC Thematic Capitalisation Event

Over the last seven years, the INTERREG IVC programme has been enabling public institutions all over Europe to learn through cooperation in interregional projects aimed at improving regional policies. The Thematic Capitalisation Event will present policy recommendations and lessons learnt resulting from the analysis of the selected projects. Thematic specialists and practitioners will present the knowledge acquired through interregional cooperation and discuss the latest policy trends and common challenges identified in European regions.

For details and registration see:

3-5 June 2014 Ankara, Turkey.

9th International Symposium on the Conservation of Monuments in the Mediterranean Basin will be held in 3-5 June 2014 in Ankara, Turkey organised by the Materials Conservation Laboratory, Department of Architecture, Middle East Technical University in Ankara. The conference in Ankara follows on from previous symposia in Bari (1989), Geneva (1991), Venice (1994), Rhodes (1997), Seville (2000), Lisbon (2004), Orléans (2007) and Patras (2010) in the name of International Group on the Conservation of Monuments in the Mediterranean Basin (I.G.C.M.M.). The theme chosen for this symposium is “IMPROVEMENTS IN CONSERVATION AND REHABILITATION - INTEGRATED METHODOLOGIES”, with the aim of building up stronger links between the scientific research results and the conservation practice.

Contact Symposium Secretariat or visit

17-19 June 2014, BRUSSELS. ECTP-E2BA CONFERENCE. “Construction and Built Environment Future Horizons”

The objective of this conference, which will celebrate the 10th anniversary of ECTP and the 25th anniversaries of both ENCORD and ENBRI, will be to identify the main challenges and to shape the future horizons of the built environment in the coming 25 years. The Conference will allow getting high level visions from experts on the various facets. It will merge conceptual discussions with more technical debates. It will assess the role of the built environment and the construction sector in the current Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, as well as in the more long term horizons of several EU policies. It will also allow stakeholders from industry, research and society to meet, to exchange ideas and to get prepared to current opportunities offered by Horizon 2020.

Visit for further details

19-21 June 2014, Turin Italy. “Study of the built environment”

The third pan-European meeting of the European Architectural History Network proposes to increase the visibility of the discipline, to foster transnational, interdisciplinary and multicultural approaches to the study of the built environment, and to facilitate the exchange of research results in the field.

Visit for further details

22 - 25 July 2014, Guimarães Portugal “HERITAGE 2014” 4th International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development

Deadline for abstracts submission: To be announced. Full papers submission deadline: To be announced

Detailed information will be available soon at contact

25-27 September 2014, Dubrovnik, Croatia - The Best in Heritage 13th Edition

The Best in Heritage is an international, annual survey of award-winning museum, heritage and conservation projects.

Further information available at

29 October – 1 November 2014 – Halle/Germany

Annual conference of the Future for Religious Heritage network

Future for Religious Heritage’s third international conference takes place in Halle this autumn. It will bring together practitioners and policymakers working to save and promote religious heritage across Europe. The aim will be to develop and share new thinking on sustaining historic religious buildings and recognizing value in a rural context.

For details of abstract submission and registration see:

HISTCAPE Open Conferences - 2014

Styria, Austria • w/c 19th May 2014

Further details of all our conferences can be found on the HISTCAPE website.