To live is to project the future, build bridges between generations, interconnect civilizations. Since antiquity trade has fulfilled this function and merchants played, throughout history, a prodigious educational mission. They were the first to invent and spread the alphabet to unite people, customers and suppliers of goods through the formal language. With roads and bridges the Roman Empire creates its political, military, commercial and cultural space, uniting different and distant peoples. The maritime route to India, pivotal milestone in our history, was a commercial enterprise that resulted in a bridge to a vast exchange of civilizations. Based on a trade union the Europe, after two disastrous wars, decided to change his route and prevent their future, trying a unique and singular union in the history of civilizations. Despite the crisis, Europe is now an unprecedented project, whose borders may perhaps be their laws and the amplitude of citizenship offered to their inhabitants. The illustrations of paper money from 17 countries of the European Union are bridges. The bridge is the metaphor of the journey, the passage into the unknown, the pilgrimage and encounter with others, learning to look at them with love and compassion.
On the scale of the economic power of many people and to scale the capacity of men to appreciate the cultural legacy of the past, we can say that humanity comes in revealing amazing evidence of their creativity and their culture. Just flipping through the flyers of conventional travel agencies to find that, mixed with photographs of exotic paradise beaches, coconut and palm trees, beaches and mountains, are the pyramids of Egypt, with more than 4,000 years old, the Holy Land more 3,000 years of history, the acropolis of Athens with more than 2,500, the holy cities of Buddhism, the Aztec and Mayan pyramids, the Great Wall of China and numerous archaeological sites that are added each year to the menu of tourism to sate the curiosity of outsiders seeking satisfaction and contentment. All these spaces offered curiosity and pleasure of tourists reveal the very special moments of cultural creativity of humanity which, by its grandeur, astonish us and move us.
Alongside these permanent monuments that have withstood the time thanks to the hardness of the stone, there is a much wider intangible heritage, made of oral and written traditions, philosophies and religions, arts and inventions, flavors and melodies, poetry and painting, different ways to build cities, to sow the fields and harness the oxen. In libraries and museums we found stored, preserved and cataloged, the result of the effort of civilizations to perpetuate the memory of their inventors. The fascination of all these cultural manifestations increases as men equip themselves with sophisticated production tools of research, serving up those same newly created instruments to better ascertain the remote past and try to see the most intimate and secret intricacies of other cultures, some of them long gone.
Portugal has an exceptional tourist potential to discover; for being the oldest country in Europe with fixed borders, king and flag set for over 800 years, having created bridges and points of encounter with people from four continents, by having many of its citizens scattered over 160 countries worldwide. Portuguese people built and intangible heritage that arose throughout its history. Much of this heritage lies hidden, outside the conventional and often trodden tourist routes; and it is precisely this more hidden space that are genetic and cultural roots of many of those who once left looking for a wider world of freedom and ambition. They crossed oceans and made in other climates and other cultures the yard of their lives without ever erase memory traces of their the ancestors. Many of them do not belong to the places of their origins, but they left an inheritance to their descendants: the taste and the desire to know their roots.
If the sumptuous monuments of Greece, Egypt and China belong to the cultural heritage of mankind, the space of our roots, both the most visible and the most hidden, belongs to us exclusively as markers of our identity. Our proposed intervention is aimed to these interested by the discovery of their genetic and cultural roots, first to those who now live away from their origins and want to know them better. Our purpose is to create bridges and meeting points, facilitating their discovery, tracing the routes and awakening memories. We also want to satisfy the curiosity of those originating from other latitudes, particularly interested in the pieces of most genuine creativity and untouched Portuguese culture, from language to folklore, from crafts to gastronomy.
We purpose an unique range of choices in religious and cultural tourism, for customers who seek satisfaction away from mass tourism and conventional circuits, away from crowds. Also we intend, in collaboration with organizations in other countries, provide to our countrymen the opportunity to do the same kind of cultural tourism abroad, in similar manner and according to the same criteria of quality.
Anyway, by bridges and paths, we will trace routes for pilgrims of life.