“Here comes the Caravela Boa Esperança,/ which has much to tell!/ Listen now, gentlemen,/ A story to be amazed at”. Yesterday was World Poetry Day, so remembering here the old children's poem by Nau Catrineta, now with a new protagonist, comes well in connection with the inauguration of the Interpretive Center of the Boa Esperança Caravela and the Portuguese Discoveries, which also took place this Tuesday. fair, 20th of March, on the quay of the Bensafrim stream, in Lagos.
For the party, there was music, acrobats, dancers and even a bishop who blessed everyone... even the tourists who had just arrived from a trip in search of dolphins, in a maritime-tourist vessel, who got tired of photographing and filming such unusual characters.
It is precisely with tourists in mind – but also with the local population, especially young school students – that the replica of the caravel, moored for years in front of Lagos, has now been subjected to extensive repairs and improvements, to become a kind of nucleus museum.
The caravel, which, according to the Sul Informação the Commander Gravata, is once again able to navigate the sea (by the way, that was the way it came from the shipyards in Portimão to its port further to the windward), it will remain, for the time being, only berthed in Lagos, where it can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 18:00 pm, on visits managed by the Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos, which has the theme of the Discoveries as its theme anchor.
At the opening ceremony, João Fernandes, president of the Algarve Tourism Board (RTA), joked that «this caravel is not called Boa Esperança by chance. To get here, we had to pass the Cape of Storms». The person in charge alluded to the large investment that had to be made again in the historic vessel, after it had been semi-abandoned for years and rotting on the pier in Lagos.
But thanks to the ExploraTerra project, co-financed by the INTERREG VA Spain-Portugal program (POCTEP), which brings together the RTA, the Câmara de Lagos and the Spanish Nau Victoria Foundation, this objective also reached a successful conclusion.
José Fernández de Cabo, president of Fundación Nao Victoria, who was present at the ceremony, underlined the importance of this cross-border project which, basically, aims to recall the times when, "the south of Portugal and the south of Spain, that is, the Algarve and Andalusia, where the heart of the world beat”.
Hugo Pereira, mayor of Lagos, underlined the importance of this cultural and museological equipment for the city, since it is «something alive and that represents the history of the Algarve and Lagos».
The caravel, with its lateen sail that made it capable of sailing uphill (against the wind), was, in the XNUMXth century, state-of-the-art technology, a true Ferrari of the seas, invented by the Portuguese.
Today, the latest technology is on board the «Boa Esperança», for example through the computer application that can be downloaded and enriches the visit experience, as it includes augmented reality content, which allows you to experience life aboard a caravel , recreating the atmosphere of the time of the great sea voyages of the Expansion.
A Whatsapp, which is already available for Android and iOS systems, also allows you to discover the city of Lagos, with interactions, information and augmented reality of places related to the Portuguese Discoveries and in the company of crew members.
The Interpretive Center also has a paper brochure and a video documentary on «The Algarve and the Portuguese Discoveries», focusing on the role of caravels and the historical relevance of maritime exploration in all its dimensions – economic, cultural and political – and in the role of the Algarve region, due to its privileged geographical situation.
Developed by the New Light Pictures agency, the video lasts about 13 minutes and is available in Portuguese, English and Spanish on Youtube channel VisitAlgarve.
The brochure was published in four languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish and French.
A small leaflet publicizing the Interpretive Center and its Whatsapp, a two-minute promotional video. A publicity campaign for the Interpretative Center on social networks in Portugal and Spain is now underway.
«The creation of the Boa Esperança Caravela and Portuguese Discoveries Interpretive Center represents a decisive step for the vessel anchored here to effectively become an emblematic asset of the strategy of valuing and disseminating this historical period that is so remarkable for Humanity», said Hugo Pereira , mayor of Lagos.
«We are certain that this new center of dynamism will be an additional factor in attracting visitors to our city and region, helping to consolidate the Lagos dos Descobrimentos brand and make the stay of those who come to us motivated by cultural interests more rewarding» , added the mayor.
For his part, João Fernandes, president of the RTA, stressed that «this intervention on the Boa Esperança caravel allows us to make known to all those who visit us, in a pedagogical and stimulating way, the ship that is still part of the imagination of voyages today. of the Portuguese Discoveries and the role that the Algarve and the Algarve played in the time of the Discoveries, in particular the coastal strip from Lagos to Sagres».
«We therefore sought to make the caravel a driving force for cultural tourism in the destination, enhancing the cultural heritage of the region and preserving the cultural memory of Lagos and the Algarve», he concluded.
Manufactured in Vila do Conde by wooden shipbuilding specialists, the caravel Boa Esperança was launched on the 28th of April 1990, having later been purchased by the Algarve Tourism Board in 2001, with the aim of «projecting the history of the Algarve in the world".
Since then, this replica of the caravel of the Discoveries has traveled many hundreds of nautical miles on noble missions: it has visited European, Atlantic and Mediterranean ports, participated in major regattas, been the setting for documentaries and films, received students and tourists for guided tours about the Age of Discovery and the life of seafarers from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth centuries.
Now, freshly painted, repaired, equipped with technology, but with the sails collected, it will remain anchored in front of Lagos, waiting for visitors.
Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação
Download the App Lagos: Caravela Boa Esperança