From all the European cultural itineraries and due to an historical and touristic significance, a route is stressed that spans both the economical path of wool as a raw-material and the touristic path of the wool industrial patrimony. In the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal, this route crosses Beira Interior region, by Covilhã, that is considered the centre of the woollen cloths national production, and left in the region innumerable traces since the 12th century up to the present.
In the Wool Route – TRANSLANA, TRANSLANA Project, through the historical path that links Serra da Estrela to a natural richness of the waving plains of the Spanish Extremadura, we search the wool marks printed in the landscape and in the men’s culture that live in this border territory, anchored by two museums that are the beginning and the end of a route that is recognisable all along the paths that were defined in the landscape and identified as Wool Route-TRANSLANA: the Museo Vostell de Malpartida de Cáceres and the Wool Museum of UBI, in Covilhã. In the 19th Century, this route revitalises the wool traders’ path that walked on it, from the 17th century up to the beginning of the 20th century. Leaving from the Lavadero de Lanas de Malpartida, whose building is now included in the Museo Vostell, the wool was conducted to Covilhã in order to guarantee the regular working of several factories. From all the factories, we must focus on a company named Royal Veiga Factory, due to its industrial significance. Nowadays, this building is the Wool Museum headquarters.
In PINHEIRO, Elisa Calado – Da lã aos lanifícios – No princípio é a lã...a cultura pastoril. 2006. p. 15
The Wool Route and its contribution
The current development of practices and politics related to cultural tourism has contributed to define and disclose a diverse set of cultural routes, wherein the Wool Route has been acquiring shape and profile. In 1987, the European council launched a programme regarding cultural routes with touristic purposes, namely the improvement of the Europeans’ leisure time quality, inviting them to go through and explore the “real or imaginary tracks in which, through unity and diversity, the European identity has been forged”, a statement defended by Michel Thomas-Penette, Councilor of the Cultural Routes Programme of the Council of Europe (Universitat de Barcelona, 1996).
(Fernando Lozano Hernando, Guia dos Itinerários Culturais das Regiões da Europa, 1ª Ed., Barcelona, 1992).