The weekend that marked the 210th anniversary of the Battle of Bussaco, Mealhada, Mortágua and Penacova were the scene of a wide-ranging commemorative action, including a visit by Charles Bonaparte, a descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte and President of the European Federation of Napoleonic Cities, to the three municipalities in the Coimbra Region where the troops passed through during the French Invasions.
The highlight of the day was the signing of the protocol allowing NAPOCTEP – a project tested by the Spain-Portugal Operational Programme for Cross-border Cooperation Interreg POCTEP, which aims to develop a differentiated and sustainable tourism product based on the rich cultural heritage related to the French Invasions – to become part of the “Destination Napoleon” itineraries of the European Federation of Napoleonic Cities, a European cultural itinerary recognised by the Council of Europe, promoting and projecting this region at international level.
During the session, which was preceded by official military ceremonies, the video “From Almeida to Bussaco: on the Rota das Invasões Francesas” was presented, a first step towards promoting the cross-border routes of the French Invasions.
It is recalled that the first day in Penacova, Carlos Bonaparte was received at the Town Hall, and then went to Mortágua to visit the Interpretation Centre of the Battle of Bussaco. The same day, already in the Bussaco National Forest, he planted an olive tree, symbol of Peace and European Cooperation, and was received by the Mealhada Town Hall, in the Bussaco Palace.
The President of the entity responsible for the management of the Napoleon Destination, was also guest of honour at the conference on “The French Invasions as a tourist product”, in which the Tourism of the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León, the Archaeology and Art Group of the Centre, the Tourism of Portugal and the Tourism of the Centre also participated.
The NAPOCTEP project, co-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), aims to improve the cultural heritage of the Napoleonic era, through routes in an area that includes the central region of Portugal and the provinces of Castile-Leon in Spain, generating an innovative and attractive tourism product that generates economic activity and employment.
The CIM of the Coimbra Region is the leading entity of the project, with the participation of Portuguese partners (Entidade Regional de Turismo do Centro, CIM Beiras and Serra da Estrela and Associação para o Desenvolvimento Turístico e Patrimonial das Linhas de Torres Vedras) and Spanish partners (Fundación Siglo para el Turismo y las Artes de Castilla y León, Fundación Santa María la Real del Patrimonio Histórico, Sociedad Mercantil Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas SEGITTUR and Fundación Finnova).