On 15 May, the Botanical Garden of Queluz rehabilitation project won the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra 2018 Awards in the Conservation category, an honour that reflects international recognition at the very highest level of notable undertakings in the fields of conservation, research, dedicated service and education, training and awareness raising.
This prize was awarded by a jury of independent specialists with Parques de Sintra now hoping to join it with the Public’s Choice Prize and bring to Portugal an award never before won by a national institution.
“Portugal has never won the Public’s Choice Prize and, as such, we would call on all Portuguese to unite with us in this joint effort to bring this prize to the garden and to Portugal”, appealed Manuel Baptista, President of the Parques de Sintra Board of Directors.
Voting for the Public’s Choice Prize is already open and taking place at the European level through to 10 June.
In order to vote for the Botanical Garden of Queluz/ Parques de Sintra, you just need to:
– Go to the website: http://vote.europanostra.org/
– Vote for three projects in descending order (i.e., your favourite comes first)
– Confirm your vote through the link received in your email inbox
Successively afflicted by natural disasters and abandonment, the Botanical Garden lost its original functions and underwent transformation into a rose garden in 1940. In 1984, following the floods of 1983 that impacted heavily on this area, the garden was dismantled and transformed into a broad, open area to serve as the riding ring of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art.
In 2012, Parques de Sintra took over the management of the Gardens and National Palace of Queluz and began a deep and extensive historical research project within the scope of studying the feasibility of an informed reconstruction of this site.
“This project was very successful in rediscovering and recovering a garden that was then thought lost. To this end, recourse was made to archaeology and analysis of the remaining fragments of the garden and the existing documentation” as the Europa Nostra Award jury noted.
The project included the reconstruction of the four greenhouses and the restoration and conservation of the painted tiles and the stone masonry features as well as the ornamental fountain and the surrounding statues, pieces that were returned to their original places in the garden. The restoration process also extended to working on the walls, pavements and the introduction of new energy, water management and security systems. Furthermore, an educational and interpretation project was designed and produced.
Inside the greenhouses, and in accordance with the historical records encountered, pineapples have been planted as formerly grown to serve at the great royal banquets Queluz formerly hosted.
“The project is an excellent example of interdisciplinary collaboration that also involved the local community. The dissemination of the results was strong and enabled the conclusion of the project. This will generate awareness as regards the results and guarantee sustainability”, the jury added.
The meticulous studies and research of the archaeological features and materials recovered from the remains excavated, the detailed examination of the existing structures and absolute respect for the original layout together ensure the reconstruction of the Botanical Garden of the National Palace of Queluz represents a case study at the European level due to the methodology deployed in the reconstruction of a historical garden in the wake of a natural disaster.
The Botanical Garden was inaugurated in June 2017 with its rehabilitation accounting for investment of €815,000.