Viana do castelo - A stagnant historical centre

Viana do Castelo is the most northern North Atlantic City in Portugal, 25 minutes from Oporto's International airport. Served by major highways and a sea port, it is easily reached.
Visitors can savour the remarkable quality of life enjoyed by its inhabitants in safety and tranquillity, as well as the richness of its natural, monumental and historic heritage, and its excellent cultural, sporting and social facilities.
Viana's diverse landscape, including river, mountain and sea, dazzles the senses and offers a healthy and pleasant environment for a variety of leisure pursuits.
The centre has been recently improved making the streets and squares even more inviting. Over four kilometres of walks and urban cycle lanes were completed, with green areas expanded and access for the disabled made easier.
The urban transportation network which includes small electric buses traversing the streets of the medieval centre is designed to reduce the need for private cars and thus favour the environment.
Along a circular route surrounding the oldest part of the town are several underground car parks which, while reducing unsightly surface car parks that would otherwise scar the nobler part of town, also make for better access by foot, and walking more pleasurable.
Viana do Castelo's hotels offer capacity and quality that is rapidly growing to cater not only for tourism but also conferences, seminars, and gatherings of all kinds, whether social or professional.
A number of modern and versatile cultural spaces - theatres, cinemas, libraries, museums and auditoriums - offer the perfect surroundings for the cultural enrichment of inhabitants and visitors alike.
Viana do Castelo's legendary relationship with the sea not only shapes its character but infuses the practice of all types of water sports. The riverside also offers excellent mooring facilities for recreational craft.
Several of Viana do Castelo's beaches have been awarded a "Blue Flag", not only for their water quality, diversity of geology and ecosystems, but also for environmental awareness and safety.
The City's Festivities in August and the richness and uniqueness of Viana's ethnographic traditions make it the capital of Portuguese folklore. The creativity of its handicrafts, in particular ceramics, jewellery and embroidery, is another attribute that make this town especially attractive to tourists.
It is worth living in Viana do Castelo!

My particular view - A stagnant historical centre

After going around photographing "my town", I came home reflecting about some topics and now I’m sure that I must write a few lines about it.
Searching on internet I’ve found the text above, which made an incredible picture about Viana do Castelo.
Reading the description above, everything seems perfect and harmonious. In fact the city has undeniable values: river, mountain and sea frame a consolidated urban core over a medieval grid. Not many cities have this natural treasure.
Apparently is a dynamic and growing city. What my eyes see is quite different. It is an impoverished city, stagnant, with too many problems unresolved, with many promises, with terrible urban management mistakes, with an apparent conformity in relation to his condition. More and more peripherical city. Even if is true that the city evolved a lot in the last years!
Maybe because I’m not living permanently in the city, I recognize more and more defects. Even if I will never forget to appreciate his virtues.
The truth is I hear more complaints from his habitants; I feel an invisible barrier in the city to the potential investments. Every time I’m walking around town I question myself, if it’s real that the city has so much potential, why should people avoid? What’s wrong with the investors that are escaping to other cities, maybe because there are no mechanisms to encourage their permanence in town?!
Increasingly placards with "sell” or "rent";  shops and restaurants  opening  and closing in a few months, traders tired of swimming against the tide; historical centre buildings in ruins; inescapable value buildings completely unimproved; historical centre where few still living, becoming a desert after working hours.
I don’t think is enough propagandising that "we have" a city full of heritage, infrastructure, places of undeniable beauty, passing the image of clean city, modern city, environment friendly.
Is that asking too much a city with so much potential try to be different? Or am I being too critic?...

Contemporary Architecture can also be insensitive to the urban grid! Does the context matter?!
Some people called "the train", maybe is a little... A great building...maybe...but in another place.
Some people still can do something like this in historical centre. Other's can't...

 Contemporary Architecture can also be expensive when located in historical centre!

 Amazing opportunities of investment in ruins. Where's the money?
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Viana do castelo - A stagnant historical centre
Viana do castelo - A stagnant historical centre
Reviewed by juragan asem
Published :
Rating : 4.5