The traditional Portuguese cobblestone pavement was nominated to become part of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage on Friday, March 19th, in Lisbon by António Prôa, general secretary of the Portuguese Traditional Cobblestone Pavement Association.
The Portuguese cobblestone pavement is part of Lisbon’s identityFernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon
The short term goal is to also present the traditional cobblestone pavements to UNESCO so that they are added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as has already happened with the traditional Portuguese music, Fado. Already in 2016 there was talk of bringing them to UNESCO’s attention but the idea didn’t come through.
António Prôa considers that nominating the cobblestone pavement this year is a way to value the profession of the traditional pavement or ”calçada” workers, as well as to preserve this architectural gem that is present all over the country, and in different parts the world.
António Prôa said that one of the main risks is that at this moment there are only 11 master “caleteiros” in Lisbon and that in 1927 there were 400. The survival of the “calçada” craft could also be put in jeopardy, Prôa noted, because of the lack of maintenance, the decline of the stone extraction industries, and the change to other types of pavements.
Fernando Medina, mayor of Lisbon, revealed that March 19th was a special day since, “the Portuguese cobblestone pavement is part of the city’s identity.” Besides Portugal, one can see examples of “calçada” in other countries, such as East Timor, Angola, Brazil, Mozambique or Macau.