Press Releases


Portugal praises the restoration as a ´model in Europe´

17/11/2004 The Santa Maria Cathedral Foundation presents the project in Lisbon with conferences and exhibitions.

17/11/2004 “The restoration of Santa Maria Cathedral is an extraordinary project; exemplary due to its meticulous research and the idea of implicating citizens, making it a model of cultural heritage recovery to be imitated in Europe”. This praise came from Guilherme D`Oliveira Martins, one of the most influential people in the Portuguese Government in his role as the President of the National Culture Centre.

His opinions coincide with the general consensus of those who have seen the presentation in Lisbon exhibiting the plan to recover the Santa Maria Cathedral. Over three days, different celebrities, architects, archaeologists and professionals who are associated with cultural heritage restoration have been able to take a close look at the recovery and management model for the Vitoria monument.

D`Oliveira Martins´ opinions are endorsed by his in-depth knowledge of cultural reality gained from his role as a member of the European Commission and responsibility for organising the European Convention on Cultural Heritage. Ex-minister in the Portuguese government on various occasions, he is President of the National Cultural Centre as well as participant in the decision making process for Europa Nostra, a European Union organism which in 2003 presented the restoration of the Santa Maria Cathedral with a special prize, which had never been given before, for Spanish cultural heritage.

“The restoration of the Santa Maria Cathedral is an example of the democratic recovery of heritage. Thanks to its rigorous methodological proposal and the suggestion to open it to society, it is generating considerable benefits for Vitoria. This illustrates the effectiveness of such a cultural recovery plan as applied not only to Portugal but also to Europe as a whole”, explained the president of the Portuguese National Cultural Centre.

D`Oliveira Martins uttered these words at a meeting which was held with persons in charge of the Santa Maria Cathedral Foundation as part of the events which had been programmed for these three days in Lisbon. The Spanish ambassador to Portugal, Carlos Carderera Soler, also took part in the meeting and was “proud” that the restoration of the Vitoria gothic temple was to be used as an example for other similar plans in our neighbouring country.

Conferences, technical seminars and exhibitions
The presentation of the project in Lisbon included different events which were organised by the Cervantes Institute in Lisbon and the Santa Maria Cathedral Foundation in collaboration with the National Cultural Centre and the Portuguese Institute of Architectural Heritage.

The central events have been held over these three days, from Wednesday to Friday, and have included conferences and technical seminars led by Gonzalo Arroita and Juan Ignacio Lasagabaster, general and technical directors, respectively, of the Santa Maria Cathedral Foundation; and the architects Leandro Cámara and Pablo Latorre, who drew up the Master Plan for the Cathedral.

These talks took place in the Ajuda Palace, head office for official meetings and receptions within the Portuguese government. They were attended by more than 400 people in total, including the aforementioned celebrities as well as Almudena Mazarrasa, Culture Councillor at the Spanish Embassy; Architect João Belo Rodeia, president of the Portuguese Institute of Architectural Heritage (IPPAR), which depends on the Ministry of Culture; Maria Calado, vice-president of the National Cultural Centre; and Manuel Fontán, director of the Cervantes Institute in Lisbon.

Moreover, until 20th December, the Cervantes Institute in Lisbon will be hosting, for the first time, the joint photographic exhibition on the restoration plan by Vari Caramés and Jose Manuel Navia. The inauguration of the exhibition was attended by more than 200 people.