It was a work that involved scientific and planning work, which was carried out with special attention, given its nature, but which allowed the construction of a building and a new museum center that promise to become one of the great cultural and tourist attractions of the city. from Loulé.
The Islamic Baths of Loulé, a unique archaeological site in Portugal, were inaugurated today, Saturday, May 28th, and are now in a position to not only be visited, but, above all, understood, after an investment of more than 1,3 million euros from the Chamber of Loulé.
Money that Vítor Aleixo considers well spent, not least because this is a central part of Loulé's commitment to the recovery of heritage, which the Mayor describes as "a very powerful mix, which will have unquestionable effects on the economy, not only of Loulé, but from the entire region».
The inauguration of the new building and the museum nucleus of the Islamic Baths and the Barretos Manor House was, in this way, a celebration, which was not even missing members of the Government. And it soon forms two, Pedro Adão e Silva and João Gomes Cravinho, ministers of Culture and Foreign Affairs, respectively.
Also present was Othmane Bahnini, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco in Portugal, as well as a delegation of academics from that country.
According to Vítor Aleixo, from the moment he assumed the presidency of the Loulé Chamber, in 2013, he realized that he had a heritage in his hands that had to be used.
«The baths were found in 2006 and they were there waiting. In 2013, a new political cycle began and we saw that we had a treasure here, a resource that urgently needed to be valued from the point of view of the importance it has for the culture and heritage of Portugal, since it is the only Islamic Baths, or Hamman, which exist in the country», the Louletano mayor told journalists, on the sidelines of the inauguration of the building.
«Immediately we established a project and realized that we had to value, musealize and involve everyone. Thanks to the human wealth of the people who work in the Loulé Chamber, it was an unstoppable walk to this day», he described.
The new building, with a single floor, all white and perfectly integrated with the historic core where it stands, has two main rooms, which tell the story not only of the Islamic baths, but also of the Manor House of Barretos, the noble building created in the XNUMXth century, whose memories also enrich this museum center.
In addition to an interpretative area of the archaeological remains found on the site, over about ten years of excavations, which make up a first room, there is a space where it is possible to see the old baths and even visualize scenes from the past, in 3D interactive panels that simulate the daily life of this building, 800 years ago.
«I think that the restoration of the building is extraordinary and allows us to look at the past and understand how, in many dimensions, it is not that far from what happens today. We continue to have saunas, which is an experience that, after all, is not that far removed from what we had in Islamic baths in the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries», illustrated minister Pedro Adão e Silva.
In addition to the exhibition area itself, the museum nucleus has a room for the Educational Service, where, among other activities, visitors can “play” with a three-dimensional puzzle, which reveals the evolution of the building over the centuries.
The pedagogical component is, moreover, one that Vítor Aleixo values most.
One of the functions of this new space will be «to explain and show the new generations how our identity is a dynamic reality. It becomes clear [after visiting it] that our country incorporates several cultures, several dynamics, several intersections. In other words, we have a plural identity».
«My political action always has an intention to confront our children with our historical and patrimonial legacy, so that they become aware of why they are here and what they have inherited. There is a pedagogical role here that this building, together with the school community, will fulfill, which is, in all respects, commendable», stressed the mayor of Loulé.
For the mayor of Loulé, «it is even more important to reveal this heritage to the country at a time when there is a return to political perspectives that are often closed, nationalist».
An idea that the two ministers also passed on, on the sidelines of the ceremony.
«The importance of this building is to recover the memory and what we are. But, perhaps, today, the fundamental thing is to show that memory is part of the present and a way of building the future», said the holder of the Culture portfolio.
«And at a time when Europe is so divided and when there is a democratic crisis all over Europe, I think that this signal that Portugal gives, that its cultural past, of openness, of tolerance, of the coexistence of several religions is something that protects us today", he added.
«This building is of tremendous importance, because the past is a prologue to the present and the future. And what is demonstrated here in this building is the intensity of the interaction that we have at the international level», said João Gomes Cravinho.
«As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I greatly appreciate the inauguration of the Islamic Baths in Loulé and I want to congratulate the Mayor, who understood the importance and relevance of this monument, both in terms of culture and tourism, but also in terms of our external relationship», he concluded.
Vítor Aleixo also highlighted the economic dimension of this building.
«We, in Loulé, have sun and beach tourism. Fortunately, we also have, increasingly, a Nature Tourism, in the interior. We have it all, but we also have historical heritage. However, this was an offer that was not yet structured», he added.
Now, «not only with this intervention, but with others that have been carried out over the years – the Municipal Market, the Cineteatro Louletano, the Gama Lobo Palace, the Solar da Música Nova, the restoration of the Mother Church – we now have a huge offer to visit our cultural heritage».
Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação