Azores distinguished in Brussels
Açoriano Oriental reports that the Underwater Heritage of the Azores was distinguished by the European Commission with the European Heritage Label, an award intended for “cultural events and sites of high interest in the area of cultural heritage”, announced this Sunday the Regional Government.
According to a note published on the website of the Azorean Government, of the PSD/CDS-PP/PPM coalition, the distinction took place “in a ceremony held this week in Brussels”.
According to the regional secretary for Education and Cultural Affairs, Sofia Ribeiro, the European Commission award is intended for “cultural events and sites of high interest in the area of cultural heritage, which combine the historical, archaeological and intangible heritage of European identity” .
“Since the 1970s, more than a hundred shipwrecks have been detected through successive archaeological works throughout the archipelago, recorded in the Archaeological Map of the Azores, with about a thousand documented sites”, said the official.
The Azores archipelago corresponds “to one of the sites, worldwide, with the greatest heritage potential in its waters”.
The ongoing strategy is to “value and capitalize on these assets, at the tourist and economic level, with partnerships with research centers, and protect them, through the creation of legal tools for the appropriate purposes”, the note also reads.
The holder of the Cultural Affairs portfolio, quoted in the released note, also explains that the European Heritage Label is “the most important distinction, at European level, within the scope of cultural heritage, aiming to increase the feeling of belonging to the European Union”.
“The Azores were notified in 2019 with this distinction, however, due to the pandemic, the award ceremony was postponed to this year, and the places distinguished in 2021 were also awarded”, added Sofia Ribeiro.
The process began in 2018, “following the creation of the Azores Underwater Cultural Heritage Roadmap”, applying for the prize “all the Underwater Heritage of the archipelago inventoried until then”, he said.
In addition to the distinction given to the Azores in 2019, spaces in France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia were also awarded, the Regional Government also informed.
Also according to the executive, the European Heritage Label “has already distinguished 60 sites in the European Union” and “Portugal is now distinguished for the fourth time”.
The Underwater Heritage of the Azores now joins the Charter for the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Portugal, the General Library of the University of Coimbra and Ponta de Sagres.