Carregal do Sal invests 630 thousand euros in the garden of the house of Aristides de Sousa Mendes

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Carregal do Sal is reforesting the garden of Casa do Passal, as Aristides de Sousa Mendes left it, in an investment of 630,000 euros, the mayor told Lusa today.

“We don’t have 100% certainty, but we have a series of indications that point to a series of trees and species that Aristides de Sousa Mendes brought from the places where he worked and the aim is to try to translate what the outside area of the house was like at the time, with the tree species he had,” said the mayor of Carregal do Sal, Paulo Catalino Ferraz.

Speaking to the Lusa news agency, the mayor said that the exterior repairs taking place at Casa do Passal, the future Aristides de Sousa Mendes Museum, which will be inaugurated on July 19, involve an investment of 630,000 euros.

“It’s about two hectares, the equivalent of two soccer pitches, with hundreds of species, some of which are already there and others that are yet to be planted. We’d like to have some more mature ones for the museum’s opening, but the nurseries don’t have any large trees,” he added.

In order to carry out the work of “recovering the entire tree area”, Paulo Catalino Ferraz asked for “support from the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), not least because of the access it has to a series of nurseries and the Buçaco forest”.

“That’s why we’re working with the ICNF to try to find solutions, so that we can have some small ones, which will grow over the years, but so that in the coming weeks we can also have some that are already of a certain size,” he explained.

This was in order to “try to find some species that were supposedly part of that house, because no trees remained from the time of Aristides [de Sousa Mendes], they ended up dying”.

“The space was abandoned. What was there, unfortunately, was completely dead and we know that it had several species that he brought, according to his family, from the cities where he worked,” said the mayor.

As an example, Paulo Catalino Ferraz said that “an alkaria rose will be planted, similar to the one that existed before, since Aristides [de Sousa Mendes] had one that he brought from Curitiba (Brazil) where the plant is typical”.

The municipality has made agreements with cities such as Bordeaux (France), Curitiba (Brazil) and Antwerp (Belgium), where “it is assumed that Carregal do Sal will bring some species and they will also bring them to plant in the garden” of Casa do Passal, he revealed.

“We know it will be difficult, but we want to make the garden as real as possible to the time when [the consul] lived there. We’re working with various cities to try as much as possible to achieve this goal,” said the mayor of Carregal do Sal, in the district of Viseu.

The garden will “also be a memorial to the work and life” of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and, in order for it “to be a space for public enjoyment, it will have a small bar, an amphitheater and dressing rooms,” he added.

“We want to bring the space back to life and make it a living memory of what it was like when Aristides [de Sousa Mendes] lived there and that’s why we also want it to have a cultural dynamic, with concerts, for example, and for it to be used not only by those who go to the museum,” explained Paulo Catalino Ferraz.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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