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Póvoa Dão Village: An Instance of "Heritagization" for Tourist Attraction and Local Development

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The valorization of cultural heritage very often means the search for new uses and rationales for material items that have lost their usefulness or intangible cultural expressions in risk of disappearing. These new uses may ensue from heritage processes through which material or intangible assets acquire values of cultural identity. This requires a process of legitimization, either through academic study, public recognition, or valorization by the market, among others. Based in regional and national periodicals information and semistructured interviews with key informants, this article examines a case in which such a process was legitimized through the market, by means of which a medieval abandoned village, Póvoa Dão, in the district of Viseu (central Portugal), was restored and given a new use in the tourism industry. The village was completely rebuilt in accordance with an architectural plan that respected the original design. The process began by creating market value for a set of buildings as well as for a number of goods and activities that derive directly from its location in a rural area, such as gastronomy and agricultural activities carried out according to traditional methods. The article concludes that the market can play an important role in the valorization of heritage and contribute to create identity and cultural value after rehabilitation. New forms of sociability are identified in the "new" village in contrast to the old rural sociability. last, but not the least, this study looks into some of the ways in which villages rehabilitation can contribute to local development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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