Investment of 2.3 million advances that will comply with UNESCO recommendations

Confraria will move forward with the ‘Bom Jesus: Requalify III’ Project, awaiting the opportunity to submit it to community funds. Interventions amount to 2.3 million euros and will make it possible to respond to UNESCO’s recommendations.

Two million three hundred thousand euros is the estimate of how much it will cost to execute the ‘Bom Jesus: Requalify III’ Project, which was publicly presented yesterday and within the scope of which the creation of the Bom Jesus Interpretive Center is planned to be created, which will be named after the Archbishop Jorge Ortiga.
The project will move forward, despite not yet having guaranteed funding. It is expected that it will be possible to apply for a program within the scope of Portugal 2030.
However, there is no time to waste because it is necessary to take care of the heritage, specifically filling the less positive points that were pointed out when Bom Jesus do Monte was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The objective is to have the various interventions included in this project completed by September 2023, so that in December of the same year they appear in the report to be delivered to UNESCO, as explained by the president of the Confraria do Bom Jesus, Canon Mário Martins.
The ‘Bom Jesus: Requalify III’ Project is “an infrastructural and immaterial operation”, explained the canon, justifying that despite the value of the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary “being indisputable”, it has “many need for conservation, namely in the ‘Casa dos Correios’, in Apeadeiro do Elevador and the surrounding area, which require rehabilitation, restoration and enhancement and signage”.
He also recalled that this intervention will make it possible to follow up on UNESCO’s recommendations, within the established deadlines, which include the elimination of the esplanade building and the monitoring and qualification of the visit to the resort.

In practice, this project includes the rehabilitation and enhancement of the ‘Casa dos Correios’; the qualification of the visit with the creation of the Bom Jesus Interpretive Center, which in homage to D. Jorge Ortiga, will be named after him; the rehabilitation, conservation and restoration of the Apeadeiro do Elevador and surrounding area, with the creation of the Elevator Interpretive Center, among others.
Varico Pereira, representing the Confraria, presented the details of the project, pointing out that the intervention in the ‘Casa dos Correios’ has a budget of around 850 thousand euros.
The intervention in the Apeadeiro do Elevador, surrounding area, Portico and avenue, should cost around one million euros, being the investment of greater volume.

For the creation of a parking area that will alleviate the traffic flow of the resort and the requalification of toilets, 300 thousand euros will be needed. There is still a portion of 150 thousand for other activities.
The global value of this project will therefore be 2.3 million euros. Having already promised the Municipality of Braga that it will contribute to this intervention, the Confraria launched the challenge to the other entities present at the presentation to support the search for funding.

Canon Mário Martins recalled that in the last 20 years around 20 million euros were invested in the Bom Jesus sanctuary: in the woods, in the gardens, in the basilica, in the steps, accessibility, hotel park. This investment, in many cases, was shared mainly with community funds, with the Confraternity guaranteeing its part.
In the last seven years, five million euros were also invested, specifically in the projects ‘Bom Jesus: Requalify’ and ‘Bom Jesus: Requalify II’.
The canon recalled that these investments were decisive for the inscription of Bom Jesus do Monte on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Entities promise “commitment” to arrange financing

From the public presentation of the project ‘Bom Jesus: Requalify III’, which took place yesterday afternoon at the Hotel do Parque, came the promise, on the part of the entities present, to collaborate in the mission of finding solutions that help to finance this intervention.
Braga City Council, already presented as a “beneficiary public partner” has already assumed “a concrete investment commitment”, as Ricardo Rio highlighted, now it is hoped that the other entities present, in some way, can help in obtaining funds for the project. materialize the project.
Regional Directorate of Culture of the North, Tourism of Porto and North of Portugal and CCDR-N were the entities that also intervened in the presentation of the project, where they were represented at the highest level.
António Cunha, president of CCDR-N, was the first to intervene, noting that this articulation of actors “is very important, because in the absence of effective regional power, of effective decentralization, it is the only way to build the region” and to take projects like this forward.
“I manifest the institutional support of CCDR-N for this third phase of the requalification of Bom Jesus, a support that, for now, translates into the search for solutions to find funding for the project”.
Luís Pedro Martins confirmed that Bom Jesus is the main tourist asset in the region”, pointing out that, in the specific case of religious tourism, after Fátima, it is, together with São Bento da Porta Aberta, the second most frequented destination. He also highlighted that Bom Jesus was distinguished with the Five Star Award in the category of ‘Sites and heritage’, a national distinction.

The president of Turismo do Porto e Norte also highlighted that this new project will contribute to enhancing the tourist experience, at a time when the Regional Entity is preparing to promote Bom Jesus, in the set of five places in the North that are classified by UNESCO. “We are preparing two different programs. One at the national level and another with Castile and Leon, promoting this heritage internationally on both sides of the border”, he added.
The director of Culture of the North, Laura Castro, stressed that “heritage is a permanent site”, as it “compels permanent care”, a care that is even more demanding to maintain the classification of World Heritage. “The UNESCO classification also needs this permanent care”, she stressed.
Laura Castro said that she liked the project presented, first of all because it addresses several dimensions, not only in terms of heritage, but also in terms of pedestrian paths and the qualification of outdoor spaces. “This is an absolutely extraordinary place and DRCN is absolutely available to collaborate in the search for solutions to achieve it and to provide the necessary follow-up”, she concluded.

Author: Marlene Cerqueira, Correio do Minho