In the land of the valleys of Sousa, Douro and Tâmega, in the heart of the North of Portugal, stands an important architectural heritage of Romanesque origin. Common traits that carry legends and stories born with the foundation of the Nationality and which witness the significant role that this territory formerly played in the history of the nobility and religious orders in Portugal.
This heritage is structured in the Route of the Romanesque, germinated, in 1998, within the municipalities that comprise the VALSOUSA – Associação de Municípios do Vale do Sousa [Association of Municipalities of Vale do Sousa: Castelo de Paiva, Felgueiras, Lousada, Paços de Ferreira, Paredes and Penafiel] and extended, in 2010, to the remaining municipalities of the NUT III – Tâmega and Sousa [Amarante, Baião, Celorico de Basto, Cinfães, Marco de Canaveses and Resende], thus bringing together in a supramunicipal project a common historical and cultural legacy.
Anchored in a set of 58 monuments (and two interpretation centres) of great value and exceptional characteristics, the Route of the Romanesque intends to take on a role of excellence in the scope of cultural and landscape touring, able to position the region as a reference destination of the Romanesque.
Over the last few years, the Route of the Romanesque has been emerging as a national reference project, being recognised as a paradigm of regional development, in various areas of intervention: from heritage conservation to tourist promotion, from scientific research to the dissemination of knowledge, from cultural promotion to heritage education.
Since December 2009, the Route of the Romanesque has been part of TRANSROMANICA, recognised as a «Great Cultural Route of the Council of Europe», in August 2007.