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Ricardo Pimentel, Mayor of Sambade: In our case it is very important to know what happens in other countries, and from there to get ideas to elaborate new projects and to enjoy the best that is done in Europe

Sambade is classified as "Village of Portugal". Such a thing is seen as an opportunity for the preservation and valorization of the locality, affirming it as a pole for development and tourist attraction.

  • September 26, 2018 13:00
  • Author Olya Georgieva
Medium ricardo
Source: Parish of Sambade

Recently, the parish of Sambade became the first Eco Parish in the municipality of Alfândega da Fé. This award indicate the high quality of life offered to the inhabitants. Sambade is also in the top 10 of the most sustainable parishes in Portugal. Tell us more about the work done in promoting sustainable community development.

Eco-Freguesias XXI Award is given based on the analysis of 10 indicators of local sustainability: Education for Sustainability; Environmental management; Mobility and Transport; Public spaces; Biodiversity and Green Spaces; Information and Public Participation; Proximity Services; Sociocultural animation; Development Promotion and Development Vision. "An Eco-Parish is, in this context, a parish that respects the principles of sustainable development and inclusion and social justice, is economically prosperous and socially dynamic. To be Eco-Parish is to have favorable conditions of employability, accessibility, and wide and qualified range of service supply and equipment, which contribute to improvement of the conditions of attractiveness and competitiveness."


Sambade is the first 100% LED village in Portugal. Tell us more about the project and what this change has brought to your parish?

The parish of Sambade, in Alfândega da Fé, has a new light system with which it became the first village in this municipality with LED lighting. All public lighting has been replaced by 469 conventional lamps, due to an investment of around 80 000 Euros, as part of a project developed by the Municipal Council of Alfândega da Fé and the Parish Council of Sambade, in partnership with EDP (Energias de Portugal/ Energy of Portugal). In addition to the significant financial savings, LED luminaires also allow a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. "This change is very positive in several aspects, it will turn into a significant reduction of the energy bill, estimating a 61% reduction in the energy consumption and a financial saving of about  4000 Euros per year," explained Ricardo Pimentel, mayor of Sambade. "The inhabitants - 450 permanent - liked the change a lot, the village is now more beautiful, because of its white and not yellow light as in the past while managing to maintain the same level of luminosity," said the mayor. Sambade joins two other parishes in Bragança district, becoming even more  environmentally friendly and fully equipped with LED lighting technology.


Every year, during the third weekend of August, the village is getting completely full welcoming hundreds of people returning to their homes and to their land to celebrate the festival of the parish. How do you manage to preserve the history and the traditions in your village and at the same time modernize it?

Through a proactive attitude and agreement with other institutions of the parish, where the role of the Parish council is essential to generate consensus and where logistical and financial support is very important.

The modernization and evolution of the parish is joint work with the Municipality of Alfandega da Fé. We are working with the same objective in mind, using the community funds to prequalify some buildings that were not functional.

Those who visit Sambade will surely realize that a new label appears in some public places of the village.

This is the "Villages of Portugal" logo. The reason is clear, Sambade, the largest village in the municipality, is the "Village of Portugal". The classification is seen as an opportunity for the preservation and valorization of the locality, affirming it as a pole for development and tourist attraction.

The title results from an application submitted by the municipality through the DESTEQUE - Association for the Development of the warm Transmontanian land. The project was popularized through the population during a public session in the House of the People, current Cultural and Technological Center. The presentation aimed to inform and educate the locals about this new project.

The "Villages of Portugal" network is a project developed by ATA - Village Tourism Association. It is a project that aims to create a sustainable national network and reference in the promotion of national rurality.

A new approach to rural tourism based on the differentiation and consolidation of "a unique, more personalized product that values ​​hospitality, leisure, traditions and customs." The "Villages of Portugal" brand has its main mission "the improvement of rural population and the cult of Portuguese rural traditions and customs, through the promotion and preservation of rural heritage."

The admission of Sambade to this network is seen as an opportunity to dynamize the village, economically, socially and culturally, valuing the existing ones and creating conditions for the attraction of new investments and consequently fixation of the population.

In addition, entities, public or private, that wish to develop projects directly related to the tourism sector benefit from a privileged position in the submission of applications to community funds. And at the same time, national and European promotion and dissemination of the village and the associated services / activities are guaranteed.


Adopted as a strategy by the Parish of Sambade, urban regeneration assumes itself as a policy with recognized indicators and results. Good examples are the recovery of old houses for rural tourism, the restoration of the Sambade light fountain, the cleaning of all public streets and the maintenance of the Sambade playground. What are your goals and plans for the future with these works / recoveries of the parish?

The objectives are very simple, Sambade, as the largest parish in the municipality and one of the largest in the district has an obligation to keep all public buildings as well as existing infrastructures in good state.

Those who visit us find a clean and tidy parish where our concern is to welcome well those who have been our guests, so that they feel like visiting us more often.

In terms of tourism, it becomes even more important the private investment, always supported by the Municipality and the Parish councils. It should be noted that anyone who wants to recover old houses can and should seek the support of existing institutions for this purpose in order to obtain information and eventually receive financial support.


How would you describe your parish? What do you want our readers to know about Sambade?

Sambade is an odd village, basked in history and traditions.

Situated in the southern slopes of the Serra de Bornes, once designated as the mountain range -Mel, the village of Sambade is the largest in the municipality. Crossed by the national highway, the main church from 18th century is assumed as a heritage reference point.

It is an important center of production of wool, linen and silk, from where comes the principal wealth. In fact, the village was known as the land of carders, a trade to which many of the inhabitants dedicated themselves. Even today, pastoralism and agriculture are the main economic activities, notably the production of chestnuts.

The name of the parish is related to a religious figure that lived here. Sambade derives from Sambadi, that is the proper name of Father Sambade, who was an important figure. This priest had become famous in the 8th century in Asturias for the eloquence with which he refuted the heresy of the monotheists, as Viterbo points out in his Elucidario, article Bieco. Once, Sambade was one of the largest abbeys of the Transmontanian lands, being the royal patronage.

In this parish of the municipality of Alfândega da Fé were born or lived famous figures that marked the region, like priest António José de Mesquita Pimentel, writer Manuel de Sousa Moreira and professor João Baptista Vilares.


Your latest project aims to create an economic environment that promotes business, attracts new investments and modernizes economic structures. Tell us more about what you have achieved so far in this direction?

At this level we have been investing in the promotion of endogenous products, made in Sambade. We hold the Mountain Festival, a showcase for those who visit us and where we also associate the hunting activity as a promoting point of tourism and investments.

We carry out the yearly wild boar hunting, where about 200 hunters visit us and enjoy our gastronomy.

We also have several initiatives where the recreational and cultural association of Sambade organizes annually as the Raid TT where about 200 participants enjoy our beautiful landscapes. It also holds a meeting of groups of traditional music songs.

Through those and other projects, we have been able to promote many activities together with other institutions, such as the Alfandega da Fé hotel & spa, and some houses in the neighborhood.


What are the main goals and ideas you intend to develop in the near future?

Continue to work for the parish, keep all institutions functioning in order to participate and maintain the traditions existing in the parish.

Take advantage of the community frameworks to invest in the village in existing infrastructures and design projects for new ideas that we may have.


What do you think about a unified platform for European municipalities and its main goal to make and keep European citizens better informed about what is taking place in the European Union?  How can this platform be useful for your projects?

I think it is a great idea. In our case it is very important to know what happens in other countries, and from there to get ideas to elaborate new projects and to enjoy the best that is done in Europe.