Alqueva - The First Starlight Destination
Alqueva, Portugal - Starlight Tourism Destination
December 2011 - Alqueva is the first site in the world to receive the 'Staright Tourism Destination' certification. This certification, awarded by the Starlight Foundation, recognizes the quality of the night sky in Alqueva and tourist activities related to the starry sky.
Starlight Destinations are visitable places characterised by excellent quality for the contemplation of starry skies and the practice of tourist activities based on this resource.
The Starlight Tourism Certification System was created with the aim of encouraging, at world-wide level, the improvement of the quality of tourist experiences and the protection of the night skies in Starlight Destinations.The Starlight Certification seeks to guarantee the capacity to enjoy the view of the stars and to discover the associated scientific, cultural, natural and scenic values.
The Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve has 3000 square kilometers and is spreaded along six municipalities, Alandroal, Barrancos, Moura, Mourão, Reguengos de Monsaraz and Portel. Included in the Reserve is the Alqueva Dark Sky Route which integrates accommodation, restaurants and activities. This Route has already people prepared to guide the astro-tourists and we have telescopes. The entrepreneurs of the Route are adapted to this product and for example they have late breakfast, late check-out, brunch, late lunches, late dinners, etc, small things that are important for the ones that use the night.
The unrivalled spectacle of a dark and star-filled night sky does not go unheeded by anyone and the sky of the Alqueva is worth observing very closely! Look through the telescope and be enchanted by the majestic profusion of brilliant planets, constellations of rare beauty and rivers of stars, all of which the Alqueva Dark Sky® Reserve offers you. Without doubt it is a Back-to-Black experience full of emotions. Next to this sublime lake, the only sound is that of the birds, creating an air of tranquillity that encourages the contemplation and the enjoyment of the stars. This is an invitation to linger in full communion with nature!
Neolithic humankind gave immense importance to the sky, considering it part of the landscape and studying it with interest. The predominance in this area of mining – silver, copper and mercury – together with its proximity to important waterways, explains the occupation of these lands in the distant past. Still visible are various megalithic remains which suggest that our ancestors symbolically valued the landscape, relating it to the diversity of celestial movements. Hence it is believed that many of the megalithic monuments symbolise the importance of the sun and the moon at significant moments in the natural cycle as well as the relationship of the stars to the life of human beings.
If you are part of that great majority of people who have never had the opportunity to admire the centre of the Milky Way, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, come to Alqueva, lie on the ground and lose yourself in the immensity of the star-filled sky!
Discover the Lands of the Great Lake, become enchanted by its flora and fauna, taste its delicacies, feel the genuineness of its people and explore its natural beauties.
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