Lisbon candidate for UNESCO World Heritage

The Lisbon City Council is formalizing the candidacy of the emblematic Baixa Pombalina to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If accepted, the capital of Portugal joins the Historic Center of Porto or Guimarães or even the Convent of Christ, in Tomar or the Monastery of Batalha, among many other places in that country classified as world heritage

From north to south of Portugal and over the years, there are several places, monuments or landscapes that have been classified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO – as World Heritage. At the beginning of 2023, it was time for the emblematic Baixa Pombalina – the so-called Historic Center – of Lisbon to apply for such prestigious recognition.

The Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, justifies the candidacy of the country’s capital, describing the city as “unique, historic and innovative, traditional and cosmopolitan”, adding that it is necessary “to take into account the exceptional nature of this historic area and their contributions to human history.

The mayor also highlighted the city’s heritage assets, “in particular those that recall the impressive capacity of response that the Portuguese people had to the earthquake of 1755, one of the most overwhelming ever”.

UNESCO distinctions comply with certain requirements and aim above all to protect places of exceptional universal value and consequently defend a cultural heritage, whose value is inestimable.

For the Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, Baixa Pombalina has a “recognized historical and patrimonial value, which represent different eras and conserve their authenticity”, referring that this area of the city includes more than a dozen national monuments and several buildings of public interest, including the Torreão Poente at Praça do Comércio. This building itself represents, in the voice of the mayor, “a museum piece” since its dated from the end of the 18th century, when the entire Baixa Pombalina was rebuilt following the 1755 earthquake. “It will be subject to requalification to accommodate a nucleus of the Museum of Lisbon”, added the mayor.

The first classifications by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO – in Portugal as World Heritage took place in 1983, arousing international curiosity about a heritage that until then had not enjoyed great prominence at a global level, the year in which that the Monastery of Batalha, the Convent of Christ (in Tomar) and the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower (in Lisbon) were awarded this distinction. Over the years, several other places or monuments have followed, which are part not only of the country’s history but also of world heritage.

 

What does UNESCO classify Portugal as a World Heritage Site?

  • Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower – Lisbon. 1983
  • Historic Center of Angra do Heroísmo – Terceira Island. Azores -1983
  • Batalha Monastery – 1983
  • Convent of Christ. Tomar – 1983
  • Historic Center of Évora – 1986
  • Monastery of Alcobaça – 1989
  • Cultural Landscape of Sintra – 1995
  • Historic Center of Porto – 1996
  • Côa Valley Archaeological Park (Rupest Art) – 1998
  • Laurel Forest of Madeira Island – 1999
  • Historic Center of Guimarães – 2001
  • Alto Douro Vinhateiro – 2001
  • Landscape of the Pico Vineyard Culture. Azores – 2004
  • City Barracks of Elvas and its Fortifications – 2012
  • University of Coimbra, Alta (Joanina Library, Pátio das Escolas, São Miguel Chapel and Clock Tower) and Sofia (down town). Coimbra – 2013
  • Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte. Braga. 2019
  • Real Edificio de Mafra (Palace, Basilica, Convent, Jardim do Cerco and Tapada) – 2019

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