Photographer's Note

Boat at Alqueva lake

Since I am going to spend my weekend on Alentejo, maybe it is a good idea letting you one more of the region on my absence. I am sorry for those who became fans of cork and holm oaks, as there are only some tiny ones here. :-)

The day was rather unproductive photo wise and I only got two shots that satisfy me. I have posted the other one as a WS.

Alqueva is said to be the biggest artificial lake of Europe. It lies on one of the driest regions of Portugal. It has been the subject of many debates since more than 50 years ago. It only exists in reality since 2002, when the construction of the dam was finally completed and the water started to fill the lake, but the ideas of its construction go back to the first half of the 20th century. Interestingly and sadly, I see not much talk what good things it has already brought to the region. In fact, there is much less talk about it now than there was in times that it was nothing but a project that no government had the courage either to drop or to make go ahead. I know about my limited knowledge on "development" (it's so frequent that this word give the creeps) issues, but I saw too many supposedly experts considering that it was a huge mistake building it and there are some alarming evidences that maybe they were right. Just two examples: the quantity of real state agencies that exist today on the region and the fact that almost any news that make its ways to the national media is about tourism development. What the hell, I have nothing against tourism, but apart from mass tourism beach resorts, is there any region that can rely only in tourism? And even if that was economically viable, is it the best and only way to go?

Well, enough talk, I hope I am not being too pessimistic. After all, everytime I went to the region with my late father (and I did it several times a year in my childhood, as my father was born on the region and most of his family still lives there), I heard him talking with enthusiasm of how great it would be if those lousy politicians finally decided to go ahead with the construction of the dam that would solve all the problems of the region. Sadly for him, he never saw his beloved home village of Monsaraz turned into a castle overlooking a huge lake instead of a river valley an the infinite plains.

Finally, I must admit that the lake is at the same time strange (for being artificial) and beautiful and I only hope this photo can show of bit of that.

Weblinks to more info: Wikipedia, Geota. The latter is outdated and maybe a bit too radical, but it is a good example of the heat of the debate at the times that the decision of the construction of the dam was about to be finalised.

Location (latitude, longitude): 38.20193,-7.4877

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Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
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