The Côa Parque – Foundation for the Safeguarding and Development of the Côa Valley, also known as Côa Parque Foundation, was created in 2011 to manage the Côa Valley Archaeological Park and the Côa Museum. Its goals are the protection, conservation, research and promotion of the Côa Valley Rock Art and other heritage features in the region.
Through the ongoing archaeology cultural project, the major aim of the Foundation is to promote the integrated development of the region, bringing together partners and private economic agents, highlighting the importance of cultural dynamics and its contribution to the well-being of the Country.
Its initial founders were IGESPAR, ARH Norte, Entidade Regional de Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal, Associação de Municípios de Vale do Côa and the municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa. In 2017, other entities joined as partners: Turismo de Portugal, Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente and Secretaria de Estado da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior. The Associação de Municípios de Vale do Côa and the municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa remained as founders as well as Direção-Geral do Património Cultural, successor of IGESPAR .
The Côa Parque Foundation intends that all undertaken cultural activities are elements that stimulate a plan for the economic and social development of the Douro and of the Country. Such approach combines cultural heritage with economy, leisure with knowledge, research with tourism, thus multiplying employment and contributing to the renewal of the region.
Safeguard, preserve, research, promote and value the Côa Valley Rock Art.
Establish the Côa Valley Archaeological Park and Museum as strategic assets of national and international reference in the areas of Heritage, Science and Tourism, playing a fundamental role in the economic and social development of the region.
Preamble of the 2017 statutes
Côa Park – Foundation for the Safeguarding and Development of the Côa Valley was established by Decree-Law no. 35/2011, of March 8, as a public foundation under a private law regime, with the main purposes of safeguarding, researching, promoting and valuing the Côa Valley rock art. Meanwhile, the Framework Law of Foundations, approved by Law no. 24/2012 of July 9, amended and republished by Law no. 150/2015, of September 10, determined its respective application to already established and recognized public foundations under private law regime, thus imposing the adaptation of the denomination and statutes of the Foundation to the provisions of the aforementioned law.
On the other hand, following the vicissitudes suffered by the Foundation since its inception, the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 79/2016, of November 30, identified the main strategic guidelines for the objectives to be pursued.
These strategic guidelines are:
Development of scientific and research activities linked to the cultural and natural heritage of the region
Environmental education and awareness of diverse publics, aiming at the protection and valorization of the water resources, species and habitats
Strengthening of the region′s tourism potential
Creation of new infrastructures and services to support economic development, favoring settlement, growth and wealth creation, with a view to reversing trends of desertification and population aging
Promoting, through all these aspects, the reinforcement of the integration and territorial cohesion of the project and its renewed and persistent international appreciation
In fact, the Côa rock art, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998, was one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the Upper Palaeolithic at the end of the 20th century throughout Europe, and its importance is internationally recognized, which imposes a strategic and integrated action that guarantees the effective pursuit of the purposes that led to the creation of the Foundation: the safeguarding, research, promotion, and public enjoyment of the heritage and natural resources of the Côa River Valley.
In this context, the Government considers that its action in the area of science, technology and higher education should also be strengthened, in close coordination with the areas of culture, economy, tourism and the environment, in particular through the involvement of scientific institutions and higher education, with a view to the development of scientific and technological cooperation focused on the heritage, scientific and environmental valuation of the Côa Valley.
Rock art dedicated library
– Lockers for the safeguard of small volumes; – Point of information for in-depth consultation on the topics covered; – Audio-guide system; – Guided daily visits to the exhibition in pre-defined hours; – Cardiac defibrillator; – Wheelchair; – A Reception Center, in the village of Castelo Melhor, where visits to the Penascosa rock art site depart from.