WIT Press

Regeneration Of Part Of The Historic Fortified Town Of Monção, Portugal


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Page Range

149 - 160




2,515 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


J. P. Delgado & A. Sá Machado


The main purpose of the paper is to represent the revitalization plan for a major part of Monção. The aim of the plan was to transform the area into a new coherent system, having in mind that Monção owes much of its income to tourism-related activities. Monção, founded in the 13th century, is located in the Northwest border of Portugal, close to Spain, across the Minho. The \“terroir” of the region made it possible to produce the Alvarinho, a wine exported overseas. The proximity with the border gave Monção opportunities for trade, but exposed it, in military terms. One of the main urban features is a 17th century fortification that enclosed the town until 1915, when the construction of a railway line dictated the demolition of its southern section. The railway made easier the exportation of wine, and brought new tourists. However, the closing of the line in 1990 left behind a site that is now deprived of urban purpose. The plan had to deal with the area of the abandoned line, the railway station, the broken fortress (a National Heritage), and the interweaving of these with the historical town core and the 1980s quarters. Also, the plan had to improve the area where, every year, the local population stages a fight between St. George and the Dragon, representing the dangers of dwelling here. The paper presents the results of the process, just before the plan is implemented on the site, demonstrating how the constraints of time, money and bureaucracy play a crucial role. It emphasizes the participation of the municipality, the national heritage authority and of the national institute of architects. The paper presents a series of conclusions that may help social scientists, policy makers and other practitioners in the process of planning similar situations. Keywords: Monção, Portugal, 17th century fortification, revitalization plan, urban design.


Monção, Portugal, 17th century fortification, revitalization plan, urban design.