Underwater Archaeological Charter of the Azores (Portugal)

Island of Ponta Delgada Azores

The site:

The Azores archipelago has more than a thousand registered wrecks, submerged throughout more than five centuries. The regional government has selected around 30 sites on eight islands and has established a tourist route with reasonable access for visitors.

The sites are wrecks, war barges, merchant ships, small passenger ships, anchor cemeteries and a gun depot.

The project:

All 30 sites have been inventoried and protected by Portuguese national legislation as underwater archaeological sites under the supervision of the regional government and national maritime authorities; they are also protected by regional legislation. In addition, in 2018, the government published a series of good practices for diving into the underwater cultural heritage of the archipelago.

In order to protect as much as possible the heritage present in the Azores, a partnership with local diving tourism operators has been set up with the main aim of ensuring continuous but also non-intrusive access to the sites. One of the government's wishes is to provide opportunities for people who do not dive to visit and discover the heritage in question. Underwater archaeological parks and partnerships with tourism operators facilitate the protection of sites and wildlife.

Public access:

Sustainable public access is promoted by the Azores Government Office, which is dedicated to improving the tourism sector. The Office encourages the public to visit the archipelago and the cultural heritage there, while making efforts for those not diving through the use of glass-bottomed vessels.

The regional government supported local and national television programmes on the historical and cultural context of the sites. An awareness-raising project has also been set up through the creation of a series of travelling exhibitions on underwater archaeology and on the appropriate means of visiting these sites. These exhibitions have been presented in schools throughout the archipelago and are complemented by the development of educational material for school programmes to raise awareness among young people. Finally, the regional government is participating in a European support project, the "margullar", aimed at raising public awareness of underwater archaeological sites and improving tourism potential.

Contact :

Website: http://www.azores.gov.pt/Portal/en/entidades/srec/noticias/Azores_to_have_archaeological_risk_charter_announces_Avelino_Meneses.htm  

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