Skip to main content

The CdAN

By 21 de February, 2024April 29th, 2024No Comments

A know-how and its spaces: soul and body of the Nautical Arts Center

Wooden shipbuilding know-how breathes in the streets of Vila do Conde. Through its four spaces – Nau Quinhentista, Alfândega Régia-Museu de Construção Naval, Casa do Barco and the new Wooden Shipbuilding Training Center –, CdAN invites everyone to experience this art and train talents to perpetuate it.

They are spaces steeped in history, tradition and the active transmission of knowledge, united by the same art. Complementary, they allow each other to be discovered individually. Shall we go inside?

Nau Quinhentista (16th century ship replica)

An ex-libris of the city, the “nau” (16th-century ship) anchored in the River Ave is a replica of the many that were built in Vila do Conde during the period of Portuguese maritime expansion, and which mainly sailed the North Atlantic route from here. Robust and bulky, this type of ship was capable of carrying large loads of food (for the crew) and goods to trade overseas.

The ship itself deserves all the attention, but this tourist and educational center has more to offer: human sculptures depict the crew; we see their quarters, navigational instruments, a period apothecary and, through other references, we sail back in time. If anyone raises the anchor, we’re ready to go to the port of Antwerp…

Alfândega Régia -Museu de Construção Naval (Royal Customs House – Shipbuilding Museum)

In this building, whose origins date back to 1487, we revisit the 15th and 16th centuries with the help of new technology. At the entrance, an interactive world map shows the maritime routes and the main European shipyards of the time.

In a second multimedia installation, dedicated to Vila do Conde, the present day is the starting point for a journey into the past: it shows how the wooden shipbuilding industry emerged and evolved and how the port and shipyards flourished during the Discoveries era. There is also a permanent display of period merchandise in the customs area and a room dedicated to the construction techniques of the 15th and 16th centuries.

On the second floor of the building is CEDOPORMAR – Documentation Center for 16th Century Seaports, with a wealth of digital reproductions of written and iconographic documentation of shipbuilding, sailing and overseas trade in the 16th century, available to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in history.

Casa do Barco (Boat House)

Forming a triangle of discoveries with the Nau Quinhentista and the Alfândega Régia- Museu de Construção Naval, the Casa do Barco – part of the Vila do Conde Interactive Tourism Shop – shows us the techniques and processes of wooden shipbuilding that have come down to the present day, as well as the evolution of this art between the 18th and 20th centuries.

In the center of the House is a life-size “motora”, a fishing boat used in the 1940s and 1950s, without the planking placed on one side of the boat so that we can see the interior structure. There’s a reason it’s unfinished: it’s part of the permanent exhibition “com o Risco se faz um barco” (“with Scratch a boat is made”). In fact, occupying one wall and part of the floor is the boat’s scratch, where through a centuries-old method (described as early as the 18th century) the respective geometric plan is “thrown into the room”, in other words, drawn to real scale. The explanation of this process, as well as the exhibition of various tools and utensils, bear witness to the heritage of invaluable know-how that we must not lose.

Wooden Shipbuilding Training Center

Naval carpentry, steeped in local tradition, now has a “nautical license” to head into the future. On the first floor of a building in Praça José Régio is this new center, from which certified craftsmen and small wooden boats will emerge. Their enjoyment by the public is part of the concept.

In fact, specialized technical training, educational services and experiential tourism come together in this CdAN hub, which will begin operating in the first quarter of 2024. It consists of several training rooms, a ship modeling area, a library specializing in maritime culture and a workshop. However, the Centre was born to be much more than its physical space: the program will include practical activities at the Alfândega Régia- Museu de Construção Naval and the Casa do Barco; outings to the river and sea with the boats built here; visits to places of interest, such as shipyards; workshops and other initiatives.

The spaces of the Nautical Arts Center cross the areas of training, research and recreational experiences that invite the active participation of all audiences. Welcome!