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Frontpage News 2012 Lisbon's fortress lines

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Restoring Lisbon's bicentennial fortress lines

  • The newly restored Zambujal fortress north of Lisbon, Portugal, was opened to the public in January 2010. The fortress is part of the Linhas de Torres Vedras fortress lines, which are undergoing restoration thanks to €1.5 million in support from the EEA Grants.

    The Zabujal fortress is part of the Linhas de Torres Vedras, a military defence ring constructed by General Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, during the Peninsular War. The fortress lines were constructed in less than a year (1809-10) and in high secrecy to defend Lisbon against Napoleon's forces.

    The Linhas de Torres Vedras consists of 152 fortresses (stonework fortresses, land redoubts, small forts and batteries), quarters and escarpments, and had a total of 427 firing positions. The fortress lines have until now been partially ruined and threatened by erosion and human intervention in the form of dissonant elements such as communications antennas, wind generators, etc.

    The restoration has led to the establishment of a new historical sightseeing route which will teach tourists and local visitors alike about the era and the role of the fortress lines in preventing a French invasion during the Napoleonic wars.

    The restoration project has been carried out by the Torres Vedras Municipal Chamber, an association representing six adjoining municipalities, in cooperation with the Directorate General for National Monuments and Heritage Sites (DGEMN), the Institute of Architectural Heritage (IPPAR) and the Infrastructure Direction of the Portuguese Army.

    The opening event was covered by the nation-wide newspapers Diário de Notícias, Público and Expresso (in Portuguese).

  • Country:


    Project title:

    Historical Route of Defensive Lines of Torres Vedras

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Conservation of European cultural heritage


    € 1,494,220



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project promoter:

    Câmara Municipal de Torres Vedras

    Type of institution:

    Local authority

    Project duration:

    47 months

    Project cost:

    € 6,000,000

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    05 December 2007

    The purpose of the Project is to implement a tourist and cultural route - the Historical Route of Defense Lines of Torres Vedras - with the overall objective of revitalising the historical and cultural heritage of the defense lines of Torres Vedras. Reference is made to the application dated 10 May 2006 and additional information provided by the Focal Point dated 24 November and 05 December 2006, 23 March, 26 March, 26 April, 10 May and 29 May 2007.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - rehabilitation of military structures;

    - purchase of land (48 000 €) and real estate (windmill/6 500 €) in the Municipality of Sobral do Monte Agraço;

    - creation of welcome and interpretation centres;

    - creation of supporting elements for the visitors to the military structures (road access and parking);

    - educational and tourist promotion of the cultural and natural heritage of the lines of Torres Vedras;

    - promotional activities.

    The Project Promoter is the Municipality of Torres Vedras (Camara Municipal de Torres Vedras).

    The Project shall be implemented in partnership with the Municipalities of Sobral do Monte Agraço, Mafra, Arruda dos Vinhos, Loures, Vila Franca de Xira and the General Directorate for National Buildings and Monuments (Direcção Geral dos Edificios e Monumentos Nacionais - Direcção Regional de Monumentos de Lisboa).

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Project Promoter provides at least 25.89 percent of the total eligible Project costs.