Ana Umbelino
Vice-President of RHLT

The Historic Route of the Lines of Torres Vedras (RHLT) is today, unequivocally, an internationally recognized tourist-cultural itinerary. It inscribes, at its core, one of the most notable examples of military architecture and engineering, combining two differentiating assets of the territory: historical heritage (tangible and intangible) and natural heritage.

The RHLT's management is anchored in the Association for the Tourism and Heritage Development of the Lines of Torres Vedras, which brings together a plethora of municipalities as well as public and private agents committed to a common cause: the structuring and consolidation of a sustainable tourism product.

The deepening of knowledge between the different actors has allowed for the identification of affinities and shared interests: substrate for the structuring of a thematic tourist offer, based on collaborative networks, strongly capillarized, which intertwine the various resources, organizing a system of experiences.

Since 2018, the Historic Route of the Lines of Torres Vedras has been part of the Destination Napoleon European Cultural Itinerary, projecting itself into a space that enlarges the possibilities for promoting and disseminating this unique tourist product, expander of the opportunities for transnational cooperation that bring innovation. In this particular domain, and within the context of valuing the historical-military and natural heritage of the French Invasions and the Peninsular War, seven routes were created, based on an itinerary that runs along the Lines of Torres Vedras, crosses part of Central Portugal, and the Spanish region of Castile-Leon. The RHLT is part of the Wellington Route and the Third Invasion Route.

On a national scale, with the support of Turismo de Portugal, a network of Napoleonic itineraries is being set up. Electing innovation as a motto and digitization as a means, various mediation and heritage interpretation tools were designed to intensify the experiences of appropriation and immersion carried out by different visitors and tourists.

Accessibility to heritage, particularly the guarantee of its public enjoyment by people with functional diversity, has motivated several investments, an expression of the commitment of the Association for the Tourism and Heritage Development of the Lines of Torres Vedras towards inclusion. The training of tourist agents also deserves increasing attention, in the certainty that customization demands complementarity and articulation.

The qualification of the offer, through an agenda of cultural events that take the historical process as raw material for (re)creation and call for the participation of the surrounding communities promoting cultural democracy, begins to have materiality in initiatives such as the Open Day of the Napoleonic Itineraries.

One of the transverse and building pillars of the RHLT refers to Heritage Education which, in recent times, has known a remarkable boost due to the collaborative work leveraged within the Association for the Promotion of Tourism and Heritage of the Lines of Torres Vedras, beneficiary of cognitive, creative, artistic, and financial fundraising, through two successful applications to the ‘Valorizar’ program promoted by Turismo de Portugal – unequivocal testimony of a virtuous relationship. The attention given to the new generations and families led to the creation of specific communication tools and edutainment resources, such as the board game ‘Napoleon Bonaparte: the beginning of the end’; the field notebook with activities and practical challenges and props aimed at children and young people in school age who are visitors of the RHLT, whom we will get to know better in this issue of Invade magazine!

The presence of the RHLT in the 2023 edition of the BTL: Bolsa de Turismo de Lisboa, at the invitation of Turismo do Centro, highlights the growing reputation of this composite tourism product. It should be noted that the BTL was the stage for the presentation of new supports and instruments for the promotion and dissemination of the RHLT.

The path taken gives rise to the certainty that cooperation, based on the pooling of resources, constitutes a transforming force. What the Historic Route will be tomorrow will be dictated by our collective effort!