History us constructed from many memories.

The written document, both in its express terms and between the lines, aspires to disclose the actions of the mighty for the benefit of posterity – these are the records of a received history. For the oppressed, without penmanship, there remains only the fleeting of a gesture or the fading of a musical note, and humble everyday artefacts such as the blackened cooking pot scarred from over use, or the lamp in which the oil has petrified.

A kilometre of battlement wall, encompassing en area of some 7 hectares, 2.000 inhabitants and a river port connected to the see made the ancient city of Mertola into a small regional capital and an important commercial staging post which well knew how to take advantage of the Guadiana as the source of it sustenance and the gateway to all the commercial routes of the Mediterranean.

Apart from the urban layout itself, there remain a few magnificent relics of the roman and Islamic city here displayed or called to mind an, above all, there remain the small traces of everyday life; the memories of many ancient skills.
Cláudio Torres and Santiago Macias

When the project known today as “Mértola – Museum Town” was initiated at the end of the 70’s of the last century, its objectives were not very different from that which now happily, is already commonplace: the involvement of the population in an attempt to consolidate its identity and to contribute to local development.

The main option at the base of our integrated project was also to lay our bets, above all, on the making known of results locally, which, of course, passed through the process of making the museums. Apart from the scientific divulgation, codified in its own language and directed to a specialized public, the only convincing form to justify the work in process locally is to talk clearly and accessibly, to be capable of identifying the strongest cultural references and consequently consolidate potentials from within. Within the museugraphic dynamics not only are the results spread in the most efficient way to the public in general, especially to the local public, but it also became possible to attract another type of visitor as long as this offer is duly advertised. Thus Mértola has become a known destination for cultural tourism.

These visitors are not really looking for exotic things or monumental spaces but rather for a dynamic, ambitious project that manages to involve the local population, constructing scientific and museum proposals of great quality in an isolated area, far from the large centres.
Cláudio Torres

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