"When I lose contact with my roots,
I'm a person without a face, without a past,
without a present, without a future". (Anne Wilson)
We come from Spain; from a small region called "Las Arribes del Duero" (The Canyons of the Duero), located in the northwest of the province of Salamanca.
It is a flat area covered by the sun with canyons dug out by the two rivers: Duero and Agueda, with the Districts of Braganca and Guarda in Portugal and "La Ribera,Vitigudino,El Abadengo y Ciudad Rodrigo"in Salamanca,Castilla y Leoacute;n.
The communities contain mainly older citizens particularly in the Spanish areas.Both the Portugese and Spanish regions are impoverished and decimated mainly due to problems with emigration of the sixties.
It is an extensive longitudinal territory of flowing canyons (more than 300 Km) that constitutes a real natural frontier with our neighbouring Portugal.
The valleys, due to their climatic kindliness, are dominated by agriculture, especially fruit-bearing orchids, vineyards and olive trees that settle in the plain, more or less near of the "Arribes" (canyons),but always surveying the wild interior of the canyons. For the famous Spanish writer Don Miguel de Unamuno, it is "the most beautiful, wildest and most impressive landscape from the whole Spain".
In this border territory,San Felices de los Gallegos village is rooted with art and history which is distinguished by its medieval character highlighted by the Tower of the Homage, the Castle and its well conserved Wall. Both are at the present, faithful testimonies of the continuous fights between Portugal and Spain in the past history.
The appearance of a sculptured boar, has given cause to think that in this emplacement there once existed an Iron-Age settlement (sixth century B.C.) and later on the establishment of a little group of the end of the Roman age or Visigoth (fifth century A.D.onwards)
The mute stones and the antique goods of "El Lagar del Mudo" explain to us loudly that the olive collectors, after harvesting hardly the olives in the field by hand,put them in the "lagaretas" (small enclosed spaces limited by a stone wall) waiting for their turn to be ground in the mill where two big stone wheels were rotated around an axis, thanks to the traction of a couple of mules.
The crushed pulp was deposited in heshin baskets made of esparto that were heaped together and heated with boiling water, then pressed with the a so called acute;Beam press' or acute;Lever press'.The oily liquid obtained from pressing was decanted into large earthenware jars,where it laid until being stored.
Jesus Goacute;mez always knew this place as a simple pen.When he grew up he came to realise the meaning of those abandoned stones, half-buried by the overgrowth, the brushes and the straw.He began to investigate about the world of olive oil and when knowing better that culture,he decided to recover restore and value the building and all that remains.
The architect Miguel Aacute;ngel Manzanera start writing the project of the construction work.The foreman Aacute;ngel Meacute;ndez Hernaacute;ndez and the workers Salvador Trebejo and Francisco de Dioacute;s, who,with their knowledge on traditional construction,transformed that pen into an exquisite museum full of history and charm.
After a year and a half of construction work the four proposed objectives were achieved:
- To restore a historical building of the popular architecture using the materials of the surroundings,stone and wood,with a perfect adaptation to the orographical, climatic and architectural characteristic of the area.
- To collaborate in the economic, social and cultural development of San Felices and the area of "Las Arribes".
- To increase the tourist and cultural appeal of the area.
- To collaborate in the education of the youth, bringing them closer to a time, a culture and some sadly forgotten technologies.
With the setting in value of this very patrimonial one the Press contributes to increase the cultural offer of the community so much at local level as provincial and national and let us wait that starting from now and with our presentation it is also known at European level."El Lagar del Mudo" is therefore a new contribution to increase the social well-being of this area. Many people go now to San Felices attracted by the cultural tourist offer completed by the museum.
"El Lagar del Mudo" has the great honour of being for Europa Nostra one of the six projects deserving of a Medal in the category of "Restoration and Value of the Artistic
Historical Heritage" in 2002.
The main value that has been granted by this merit is found in the basic principles that have guided the whole gestation: the respect of the industrial architectural pecularity of the building and the use of the traditional technics recreated in its reconstruction to be strictly faithful to the original building.An additional value has been the efficient conversion of the building into a careful and exquisite museum of the culture of the olive oil. We understand that a high degree of Professional Excellence exists when a group of people joined together round a common purpose are capable of adding their personal experiences with a deep compromise and from a multidisciplinary perspective.
To obtain the expected Professional Excellence it is not enough to have some people working together,but it is necessary to have a high degree of interaction or synergy among them that makes the whole to be more than the sum of the different parts.
We can finish affirming that the Professional Excellence is achieved only when each member of the group acquires a high ethical compromise that drives him to reach his own professional efficiency.
Since the idea emerged to this precise moment we can say that the illusion and the search for professional efficiency have been the guidelines that have guided everyone who was involved in this project,the motors that have made this dream possible.
Faced with the crushing globalization of the culture,the back to the past, to our roots, help us in our assertiveness in the individual level and in the small societies level.
We search for our "small village"and all that which is implied: its rituals,its faces,its history,its places and its moments of encounter; to sum up, we search for our culture, for our identifying marks from our most human area.We search for ourselves.
The contemporary societies has the moral and historical duty to preserve the valuable part of our legacy of the past but, at the same time, to generate the progress with new ideas.
We reiterate to the management of this beautiful event our deepest gratitude for having been invited.
Farewell dear friends,we take you in our hearts and we wait for you with wide-open hands in "El Lagar del Mudo"in San Felices.
We always take you in our hearts and we wait for you with wide- open hands in "El Lagar del Mudo" in San Felices de los Gallegos, Spain.
"El Lagar del Mudo"
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