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Alto Ribatejo Characterization

In the Alto Ribatejo's area one can find the three main geomorphological units from Portugal (the limestone massif from Estremadura, the schists and granits from Beiras and the Tejo-Sado tertiary basin), that for each turn undertake the Mediterranean Basins diversity rhythm.
In this sense, the Alto Ribatejo doesn't have rigid borders, rigorously marked through physiographic characters; instead it exists beyond those, in each historical moment, through the Human dynamic action.
Its back bone is the hydrographic net and its dimension undergoes, in each moment, from development or regretion of the local communities.
The region has a very good potential for tourism use, given its location (centre of Portugal, one hour distant from Lisbon's international airport, served by the main motorway to Spain and the central railways lines), its size (corresponding to about 5% of the Portuguese territory), its diversity (as mentioned above and reinforced by the most dense heritage survey in the country) and its economic crisis (loss of population and traditional industries, unemployment, requiring a reorientation in which tourism plays a major role).
The local system is marked by a strong administrative fragmentation, requiring articulations, but also by prospects of integration, based on the road's system and the new administrative reality of inter-municipalities co-operation within the Middle Tagus (covering ten municipalities, including 7 of the 8 included in the Park).
Given the very large inventory of sites, a list of nuclear sites was designed, including both those where visitors may find extra interpretation support from qualified people (museums, interpretation centres, etc.) and the most outstanding sites in the region (main castles, churches, archaeological sites, etc. that, all together, offer to the visitors, but also to students and scholars, an overview of the region's history, for the last 500.000 years).
After the establishment of this nuclear list, that intended to be a short one, not aiming at including all important sites, but just one for each category, a second "ring" of data was considered, involving information on all relevant aspects (material and immaterial heritage, gastronomy, logistics, etc.). Finally, a main attention was paid to the ongoing main museographic or other projects, that are expected to generate major changes in the near future.
Based on all this, a series of main routes (road travels) and itineraries (pedestrian) were conceived, following a simple procedure: what to visit in one morning, in one day, in two days, etc.
With the aid of a GIS based system, these routes have been created, and can now be used.
Integratio, as a tool, will continue to be used in the future, as more data will be added to the site and its data-bases. It also helped in bringing together several people that used to work in the region without a systematic co-operation: museographers, tourism managers, architects, archaeologists, librarians, art historians, not forgetting local authorities.
Instituto Politécnico de Tomar - Quinta do Contador-Estrada de Serra - 2300 Tomar - Portugal - tel. +35.1.249346363