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Initially introduced by the National Cultural Centre of Lisbon under the heading "Henry the Navigator", this national initiative was extended to an ensemble of cities, generally harbours, concerned with the great voyages for the discovery of new continents by the Europeans.

Approved by the Advisory Committee in December 1992, on the condition of its enlargement, the theme was chosen in 1993 with a view of launching it into the European plan in 1994, at the time of the 600th anniversary of Prince Henry.

goals and objectives

The route aimed at making rediscover the historical bonds which were established between a score of seaboard towns placed under the same crown in 15th and 16th centuries (Portugal, Spain and Flanders), like establishing cultural and tourist co-operations between these cities. As wished it Helena Vaz da Silva while placing itself from the general point of view of the step of the cultural routes: " If all those which hold in their hands the keys of the regional development and tourism believe in the potentialities of a network of alive roads crossing Europe in several directions, if they do what they are the only ones with being able to make, it does will be there a significant step to make tourism an ally and not, which it is occurred, our worst enemy."


Belem Tower, Lisbon Portugal

development

Initially, the network of towns of Henry the Navigator related to Portugal only. Very quickly, Belgium and Spain showed interest. They were joined by other European countries such as France and Italy. This network was formally founded in Lisbon in 1994, under the patronage of the Council of Europe, UNESCO, and the European Union, which also subsidised the publication of a booklet in four languages. In 1995, a meeting held in Antwerp on the topic "The city: engine of cultural life in a new Europe without borders" was followed by a meeting of the network that enabled the adoption of a charter common to all these cities, whose objectives are:

  • the promotion of the spirit of the discoveries within the framework of a work on the past, the present and the future;
  • the development of humanist values, tolerance and mutual knowledge, by setting inter-cultural projects;
  • the articulation of the projects of each member by giving them an international dimension;
  • co-operation with other networks of cities for common and complementary objectives.

Among these cities one can quote: Lisbon, Porto, Lagos, Villa Bispo, Tomar, Sintra, Setubal, Evora, Batalha, Covilha, Viseu, Funchal, Angro do Heroismo, Valladolid, Seville, Burgos, Cadiz, Las Palmas of Grand Canaries, Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent.

european importance of the theme

Fernando Antonio Baptista Pereira underlines two of the most significant and current dimensions of this topic, namely the beginning of economic globalisation and the opening of Europe to the influence of other continents: "The maritime discoveries of the 15th century reflect Europe in contact with various areas of other continents on the globe, thus giving rise to the era of "the world economy". People and cultures interact, customs and beliefs meet, exchanges of products and techniques, of systems of thought and artistic forms are favoured".

 
 
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 more infos ...
 other web sites
 Centro Nacional de Cultura
  The website of the promoter of the route.
   
 media library
 European people and the sea
  Iberian sailors form Atlantic Ocean to Pacific Ocean
   
 European discoveries
  ...and new visions of the world (1492-1992)
   
 Network Cities of discoveries
  Quadrilingual booklet of presentation of the network carrying the cultural route
   
 


 

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