Pont du Gard Caldes de Malavella Les Ferreres Canal de Brienne Canal du Midi Fontana de Medici Public wash house Escadorio do Bon Jesus Fonte do Idolo

/activities/case studies

The following case studies selected by each partner country (Spain, Portugal, France, Italy) are based on different themes with the aim to promote networks for the enhancement of water cultural artefacts in connection with: sacred or symbolic meanings, urban stratification, communication and urban forms, economic production.

In ancient times the Hispanic Northeast was a place where various civilizations (Iberian, Greek, Roman) for which water was an essential element not only from a functional but also a symbolic and religious point of view, came into contact. The importance of water and its symbolism is revealed by the perpetuation of its places of worship through the ages by virtue of adaptation to the new civilizations and customs. Through an analysis of the territories of Tarraco, Gerunda and Emporiae, three very different civitas from the geographical, political and demographic points of views, we will attempt to achieve in-depth knowledge of these spaces combining water and sacredness. By establishing an architectural and/or spatial classification of these spaces we will analyse their ritual structure or everyday use. Our research will focus on places like sanctuaries, whether or not equipped with an architectural structure, temples located in urban surroundings, private spaces related to the cult of water, and water collection, transport and storage systems; However, equally important will be these artefacts' relation to their surroundings, whether urban, farmland or woods, and with the local population, as expressed through votive offerings.

This study seeks to locate and highlight in the Braga region the widespread presence and use of water in different cultural contexts, from prehistoric times to the modern age. The focus of the study is north-west Portugal (Northwest Iberia), in the heart of the Portuguese province of Entre Douro and Minho, and includes the city of Braga and its region, where water is to be found in abundance due to the dense hydrographical network and the granite geological substrate. The earliest manifestations linked to the symbolic use of water in the area date from the Iron Age and are represented by the monuments used in ritual baths found in large oppida of the Braga region and also in the town itself. The sanctuary/spring known as Fonte do Ídolo and dedicated to Nabia, an indigenous deity connected to water and fertility, dates back to the same period. After the founding of the Roman town of Bracara Augusta the shrine was monumentalised and endowed with sculptures, inscriptions and a sacred lake. Water use is widely documented in the Roman city through aqueducts, wells, fountains, public and private baths brought to light during excavations carried out in Braga over a period of more than three decades. Several fountains testify to water use and social relations in the Middle and Modern Ages, while some well-known monuments and gardens document the importance of water in Baroque Braga, particularly well represented by the aqueduct of the Seven Fountains, the gardens of the Monastery of Tibães and the Bom Jesus sanctuary.

The foundation of the city of Toulouse, whose origin goes back to the end of the Bronze Age, is connected with its geographical location on the banks of the river Garonne and the town’s history is linked to the Garonne and its two affluents, the Ariège to the south and the Touch to the north, as well as the presence of two fords, upstream (Croix-Falgarde) and downstream (Bazacle). Over the centuries Toulouse flourished as a water communication crossways facilitating the flow of commercial exchange between the Atlantic ocean, the Mediterranean sea and the Pyrenees. The town’s location also determined the development of water communication works which had a great influence on Toulouse’s urban structure and characteristics. The creation of large infrastructures such as the Canal du Midi, built by Pierre Paul Riquet from 1666 to1687 under Louis XIV to allow join the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, added to the complex history of works on every scale. As a result, from the XVIIth to the mid-twentieth century Toulouse's waterways developed into a major water communication system including channels, hydraulic works and dams which in turn led to urban improvements on a large scale. In present-day Toulouse, all the major functions of contemporary urban development are still related to this great river and channel complex.

The study, whose object of interest is the vast territory consisting of twelve towns that belong to the Museum system of Lake Bolsena, aims to analyze the relationships established between the presence of water, the production system and changes in landscape in this particular area influenced by the neighboring regions of Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria. In particular the analysis of historical maps relating to the period between the XIXth and first half of XXth century, show that can be traced distinct systems of aggregation related to the artefacts used in the processing of raw materials, some of which persist in time while adapting to new uses dictated by the demands of progress. The framework outlined by the research aims to propose a new perspective of development of this area not yet covered by the proposals although many tourist cured by Region, Province and from municipalities. The proposed line is one that focuses on the light and even complex web of territorial organization consists of the small local economy. Thus the theme of this first proposal for a path of recovery, winds up the most significant landscapes of the area, stopping from time to time, at the public fountain, with its different architectural variants, the mill for processing cereal and turned himself in time, the water pumping station and the hydroelectric plant, all artifacts related to the waters that are the recurring types in the test and at the same time the sign of the evolution of time. The research was carried out in collaboration with the Scientific Committee of the Museum System of Lake Bolsena (Si.mu.la.Bo).

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