Conservation and promotion of cross-border cultural patrimony dating back to 1640

The BALUARTES project, which was jointly led by the town halls of Elvas, Portugal and Badajoz, Spain, focused on an important element of cross-border cultural patrimony, namely the bastioned fortifications and forts present in both Badajoz and the garrison town of Elvas.

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Inauguration of the rehabilitation of Fort San Cristóbal, Badajoz © Joint Technical Secretariat of the Operational Program for Cross-border Cooperation Spain-Portugal Inauguration of the rehabilitation of Fort San Cristóbal, Badajoz © Joint Technical Secretariat of the Operational Program for Cross-border Cooperation Spain-Portugal

" The rehabilitation of Fort San Cristobal de Badajoz is a good example of the excellent use of EU funds for a project which revitalizes an area, enhances our patrimony and embraces joint projects with Portugal. "

José Antonio Monago, Presidente del Gobierno de Extremadura

The aims behind the project were to enhance the conservation and identity of this cultural heritage in order to stimulate the expansion, consolidation and diversification of economic activities related to tourism, cultural activities, entertainment, services and trade in the area.

The particular elements which benefited from this conservation work are as follows: the bastion fortifications and attached wooden access doors of Elvas and Badajoz; the Fort of San Cristóbal in Badajoz; and the Forts of Santo Domingo and San Mamede in Elvas.

Promotion of Elvas as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

With respect to the bastion fortifications of Elvas and Badajoz, technical and historical documentation was produced and elaborated on for general information, tourism purposes and for promoting Elvas’s candidature as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further promotion of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Elvas and its fortifications followed on the back of the successful granting of this award in 2012. In addition, a joint museum was also built between the bastions of Elvas and Badajoz which explains how the national borders are a rich source of cultural connection and tourism.

The overall impact of the project has been significant. In general, there has been a 25 % yearly increase in visitor numbers to cultural and historical tourist sites, and in total more than 15 000 people have frequented the visitors centres. The rehabilitation the Fort of San Cristóbel has seen a particularly noticeable increase in tourist numbers - since opening in February 2014, there have been more than 10 000 visitors.

The positive effect of these increased tourist numbers has been felt by the respective local economies of both countries, due to the creation of numerous direct and indirect employment opportunities related to tourism, hospitality and cultural activities.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the BALUARTES project was EUR 4 691 473, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 3 518 604 through the Spain-Portugal cross border cooperation Operational Programme (POCTEP) for the 2007-2013 programming period.


Draft date

24/06/2015

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