A house that wants to give Serra do Caldeirão a future has opened its doors in Parises

Interpretative Nucleus of Serra do Caldeirão opened its doors on the same day that the Centro de Convivio de Parises completed 10 years

Maria do Rosário and Alberto Fernandes – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

Maria do Rosário Martins, aged 81, no longer goes to the «all balls» in Serra do Caldeirão, as she «always went» in her youth, but she tries not to miss a gym session at the Centro de Convívio de Parises, in the interior of the municipality of São Brás de Alportel. Alberto Custódio Fernandes, her 83-year-old husband, isn't into dancing either, but that doesn't mean he stops smiling, in a good mood, and remembering how things were, more than half a century ago.

In Paris, there are, these days, many more people in the age group of this octogenarian channel than children and young people.

Even so, there is a new “gold” in the mountains, in addition to cork, so abundant there, which guarantees that there are new faces and some animation: the tourism brought by Via Algarviana.

It was with these visitors in mind who help keep the businesses that are still open in the village alive, but also with the local inhabitants in mind, that Casa da Serra was born.

This Serra do Caldeirão Interpretive Center is housed in an old shop, or “tasca” as Alberto Fernandes calls it, who says that, many decades ago, he “always went there, for a long time”.

«The lady made coffee there, or barley, because at the time there was little coffee around. We played cards, knitwear and the things that were done here at the time», recalls this inhabitant of Paris, in a conversation with the Sul Informação.

«The lady died when she was old and the house was left to the heirs, who sold it to the City Council. Now, it will be another open house in Parises », said Maria do Rosário Martins, on her side, referring to you Joaquina d'Horta, the owner of the business that closed more than 50 years ago.


Interior of Casa da Serra - Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


These were two of the many locals who joined the double party that took place in this mountain village in São Bras, on Epiphany. On the 6th of January, in addition to the inauguration of the brand new Casa da Serra, the tenth anniversary of the Centro de Convivio de Parises was also celebrated.

But let's go by parts, starting with the investment of 70 thousand euros that wants to bring more people to a place that has fewer and fewer inhabitants, while at the same time spreading the riches and traditions of Serra do Caldeirão.

«For us, it is extremely important to value our traditions, keeping alive the memories of these populations from the interior. We had community involvement here, which for us is very important », he said to Sul Informação Vítor Guerreiro, mayor of São Brás.

The municipality went to the inhabitants of the mountain, so that they could tell «their stories and their memories» and the people «got involved and helped to build this nucleus».

This resulted in a space that intends to represent «the typical mountain house and its most representative contexts, in 14 different scenarios, among which are cork, the world of honey, the school, the fountain and the stream, the work of the house or garden».

The table set, the fireplace, a representation of the dances and various ethnographic elements complete Casa da Serra.


Vitor Guerreiro – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


«We took advantage of this opportunity to register past experiences, our traditions and the habits of the communities, to make known to the younger generations and to those who visit us what life in the countryside and in the villages was like», he reinforced.

This is, in the view of Vítor Guerreiro, a fundamental task, since Parises, like other villages in the Algarve mountains, is experiencing “a significant aging population”.

The municipality's hope, by opening this interpretive nucleus, is to bring more people to the interior and, with that, create more economy.

«This will undoubtedly be a point of tourist attraction, because there is a growing interest in the heritage and history of these mountain villages, in addition to having an extraordinary natural landscape here», said the Mayor of São Paulo.

«We are 20 minutes from the urban center of São Brás de Alportel. This is a way that we can also publicize and bring more people to the interior of the municipality », he added.

And Vítor Guerreiro is not just referring to people from outside, since the objective is “to bring residents of São Brás de Alportel and other municipalities in the Algarve here. We believe that we have here a point of interest for all schools in the region».

Tourists, on the other hand, come «looking for experiences». Casa da Serra intends to be one more and «show everything that concerns our history and our ancestors» to those who visit the county.

«They are, without a doubt, seeds that we sow for the future, with projects like these», he concluded.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


In the recent past and after the great fire of 2012, which swept the interior of the municipality of São Brás de Alportel, another seed, which continues to bear fruit and celebrated its 10th anniversary on the 6th: the Centro de Convivio de Parises.

In the last decade, especially while Projeto Lara, a plan to revitalize the villages affected by the 2012 fire, was in progress, one of the regular “clients” of this center was D.Maria do Rosário.

«I come to the gym practically every Monday. I'm one of the people who followed this from the beginning. During the Lara project, we did a lot of tours. I have to thank our friends »who streamline the activities, she said.

«We also did a play with Mr. César Matoso and we went to show it to São Brás, to the Cineteatro. He told me just now that I was the only friendly person who was here today. There were many people who weren't from here, others have died and others are outside», he said, referring to the meeting with the artist from the Algarve, who also went up the mountain to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Centro de Convivio de Parises.

Maria do Rosário, Alberto Fernandes and other inhabitants of Parises will continue to participate in the centre's activities and, if all goes well, start to see more new faces in the village, thanks to Casa da Serra.



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