Posts Tagged ‘Museum’

Melgaço: Solar do Alvarinho

February 18, 2011

“Solar do Alvarinho” is a building in the old historical town of Melgaço – Portugal dedicated to the advertising, development and sale of Alvarinho wine. (Marked as a Cup in the map)

Alvarinho Soalheiro

Alvarinho is considered by many to be the noblest of the Portuguese white wines and is for sure the “Vinho Verde” which reaches the higher alcoholic graduations.

This wine has spread to other regions in the planet but the real Alvarinho production is limited to the sub-region “Monção and Melgaço” in northern Portugal. And it’s only made from Alvarinho grapes.

The building was among the centuries a town hall, a courthouse and a library. The top floor features a tasting room where you can try and compare the brands for FREE. Following the guidance of the employee I tasted the 2010 “Soalheiro” and a new addition to the Alvarinho family: Organic Farming – “Quinta das Alvaianas”.

At the ground floor there’s the bar/cafeteria and the shop where besides the wine you can also find other local traditional products like the “chouriço” or the “presunto”.

Wine&Spirits magazine describes “Follies Alvarinho 2009” like this:

“Rating: 92/100 – As reviewed by Wine & Spirits Magazine on 08/09. While the aroma is flinty and a little undeveloped, the flavors already show layers of fruit, from Mandarin orange and lime to white peach and an anise-like fennel note. The contrast between smoky richness and freshness makes this a luscious wine to enjoy in late summer with lobster and corn on the cob, both off the grill.”

For more information about Melgaço please check the other posts in this category.

Photos taken in January 2011.

Melgaço: Memory and Frontier

November 12, 2009

Museum “Espaço Memória e Fronteira”

ticket: 1€

Melgaço’s extensive border with Spain (either by land or across the Minho River) made this municipality a possible way of leaving and entering Portugal unnoticed, especially before the opening of the borders when Portugal joined the European Union in 1986.

Memory and Frontier (1)

Memory and Frontier building

The museum “Memory and Frontier” is dedicated to the contraband history that used to be a part of the municipality and also to the illegal emigrants who left Portugal during the dictatorial regime years, searching abroad for a better life and job opportunities in order to be able to send money back to their families.

Contraband was most common during the decade of 1940. The ground floor of the museum features some original objects in exhibition like a small boat, a coffee toaster and a republican guard uniform. Any product with an interesting price difference between Portugal and Spain would be smuggled: coffee, soap, rice, almonds, and chocolate for example.

The emigration part starts with a ramp towards the second floor symbolizing the search of a new life. The second floor shows the visitors the causes of the emigration, the preparations to the journey, passports and suitcases. Once you reach the second floor the documents are dedicated to the arrival and adaptation to the destination countries. Melgaço was a way towards France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland but many Portuguese also emigrated to USA, Brazil and Venezuela during this period.

The museum is linked to the center of the town (Vila – Melgaço) by a pedestrian bridge over the small river “Rio do Porto”.

Note 1: I actually liked visiting the museum: it displays interesting objects, it is well organised and it is quite interactive with motion detectors locating the visitor and adapting the soundtrack. Unfortunately the sound and texts in the museum are in Portuguese only.

Note 2: unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside the museum. Here you have a couple of photos I found in the municipality webpage (site in portuguese)

Melgaço: Cinema Museum

November 11, 2009

Museu de Cinema de Melgaço – ticket: 1€

More than thirty years ago a French cinephile met a Portuguese couple and accepted their proposition to spend holidays in Melgaço. His name was Jean-Loup Passek, he was responsible for the International Festival of La Rochelle, a cinema counselor at the Georges Pompidou Centre, wrote a Cinema Dictionary (“Dictionnaire du Cinema” edited by Larousse) and coordinated the “Camera d’Or” award in the Cannes Festival. It seems he was so much charmed by the town that some say he mentioned the ideia of creating a museum dedicated to the 7th art in his first visit.

The Cinema Museum of Melgaço contains all the donated private collection of Jean-Loup Passek. I was told that the first room is permanent and the rest keeps rotating every week or two.

Cinema 1st Room

First Room

 In the first room you’ll find XIX century objects, previous to the invention of the cinematograph by the Lumière brothers, like magic lanterns and others with strange names like “Zoetrope”, “Praxinoscope”, “Phenakistoscope” or “Phantascope”. Not only are these old inventions of technique and science but also the testimony of the search of new ways of entertainment and of manipulating perception by Mankind.

Poster Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita poster

After the first room, when I visited the museum, the rest of the exposition was dedicated to the Italian director Federico Fellini (1920 – 1993), with film posters, photos and even a letter from the director to Jean-Loup Passek. As said before, this section changes periodically.

The museum also features a small “viewing room” with chairs facing a screen hanging in front of the exposed Castle wall. The screen displays short films of Charlie Chaplin and of Buster Keaton, among others.

The museum is located in Old Town – Vila – Melgaço. For more info check other posts under the “Melgaço” category like THIS ONE.


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