Guardianship of the Fortress of Sagres and Milreu leaves the region: centralism or pride?

DGPC will split into two entities

Photo: Arlindo Man

There are those who speak of a decision that is «a little inconsistent», but also those who are «overjoyed» with the change that is envisioned. The reorganization of the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC), which will transfer the Roman Ruins of Milreu and the Fortress of Sagres to a company, based in Porto, and an institute, based in Lisbon, respectively, does not meet consensus in the Algarve.

The new structure was revealed just over a week ago, on the 22nd of June, after a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Basically, what the Government has approved is the reorganization of the DGPC, which will be divided into two entities.

One will be the public institute Cultural Heritage, to be headquartered in Porto, and the other the public company “Museus e Monumentos de Portugal”, with a “business management” profile, headquartered in Lisbon.

After the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Culture said that the institute will have «competences for safeguarding and conserving immovable and intangible cultural heritage», while the company will be responsible for «managing the museums that have national collections and the monuments that are heritage of Humanity», as is the case of the Fortress of Sagres.

In the Algarve, this decision is not gaining consensus.


Jose Gameiro


Contacted by Sul Informação, José Gameiro, scientific director of the Museum of Portimão and member of SMUCRI, of the National Council of Culture, confessed to agreeing «with the whole», but not «with a part» of this new organization. 

«I think that this separation will streamline issues of museums and heritage. Especially the museums, which had lost a little due to the excessive centralism of the DGPC, which was a very bureaucratic structure and whose decisions were not quick", he said.

But this measure by the Government represents, in the opinion of the museologist, a «centralized decentralization».

«If there was a regional directorate, which managed three monuments [Fortaleza de Sagres, Ruínas Romanas de Milreu and Ermida de Guadalupe], and when it comes to decentralization, the reinforcement of the Coordination and Regional Development Commissions that will even receive many of the professionals who they were in the Regional Directorate of Culture…”, he argues.

Another of José Gameiro's major concerns is who will start to «disseminate the monuments».

"No one was expecting this decision and here there is also the surprise factor", he added.

But not everyone thinks this way.

O Sul Informação he also spoke with Dália Paulo, municipal director of Loulé, with a PhD in Museology and former regional director of Culture in the Algarve, who sees the Government's decision differently.

«This is an organic and happy proposal that gives new hope to museums and monuments in Portugal. It seems to me that we all win with this reorganization because it seems agile, putting what is more administrative in one body and what is more representative of the country in another», he defended.

Asked whether it wouldn't make more sense for an Algarve entity, such as the CCDR, to be in charge of coordinating the monuments, Dália Paulo replied that she does not see, in the Government's decision, "any centralism".

«I think that the history of Portugal is told throughout the country. We [Algarve] should be happy because effectively, for the first time, we are going to have a monument [Fortaleza de Sagres] that will be part of the museums and monuments that tell the History of Portugal and that impact to tell our collective story», he defended.


Dahlia Paulo – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


For Dália Paulo, the inclusion of the Fortress of Sagres is really an “appreciation” for the region.

«The Fortress will continue to be managed locally. It will have a director, with the autonomy of a body that is a public company, and it will be more agile than any other regional organization », he defended.

“This question is a fallacy. Do we want more than this? I am very happy because it is dignified”, she added.

What is certain is that José Apolinário, president of the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development (CCDR) of the Algarve, also spoke out against this decision by the Government.

The CCDR leader is against this «centralization» in the management of monuments, as it undermines the principle of subsidiarity.

In a statement sent to the media, Apolinário argued that the «reform of the organization of the State in the administration of Cultural Heritage must follow the principle of subsidiarity, capacity building and a critical regional dimension, valuing the transfer of CCDR to a public institute».

«Investment in classified cultural heritage needs greater coordination and appreciation through its inclusion in the regional development strategy», he argues.

«Strengthening the role of culture in sustainable tourism, social inclusion and innovation requires articulation at sub-national level, ensuring a proximity response in safeguarding cultural heritage. An example from the Algarve: The Promontório de Sagres is a European Heritage Brand due to the perseverance and will of the regional entities, starting from the CCDR Algarve itself, the Regional Directorate of Culture – promoter of the candidacy – and the Municipalities, in particular the Municipality of Vila do Bishop", recalled the CCDR leader.

José Gameiro still maintains some hope that this "detail" of the Government's decision will be corrected.

«My hope is that there is still, at this stage after the output of these documents, a negotiation process», he concluded.


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