“PALEOLITHIC ART IN THE CÔA VALLEY IS PERHAPS THE FIRST MANIFESTATION OF LAND ART'”.
The Côa Museum was designed by Camilo Rebelo and Tiago Pimentel, a team of architects from Porto. Built-in January 2007, it opened on 30 July 2010. The design of the building starts from the idea that “Paleolithic art in the Côa Valley is perhaps the first manifestation of ‘land art'”. Although it is one of the largest Portuguese museums, it sits gracefully, with part of its volume set on top of the hill that, on its left bank, tops the mouth of the Côa, celebrating the meeting of the two world heritage sites of the region: the Prehistoric Art of the Côa Valley and the Wine Landscape of the Douro. If by far the building resembles a huge outcrop erupting from the ground, a closer inspection reinforces this perception, since mineral pigments were used in the concrete and the facade was treated superficially imitating the natural irregularities of shale, the predominant rock in the region. According to the descriptive memory in the preliminary draft of July 2005, the “Unique Assumption” of the Museum is its perfect “integration into the landscape”, converting his body, although in “strong and affirmative gesture”, a mark “subtle, sensitive to topography, little modifying the profile of the hill and dialoguing with the landscape. The Côa Museum does not replace the visit to the rock art sites of the Côa Valley Archaeological Park, after all the ‘real’ Museum. It is the portal that will allow visitors to start discovering the rock art of the Côa and Douro valleys.
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