Unesco City of Literature

The Óbidos Vila Literária strategy was established in 2013, which aimed to pave the way for the regeneration of the historical center of Óbidos. This popular tourist destination was already known for its events calendars, with particular reference to the Medieval Fair, the Chocolate Festival, the Christmas Village and the Opera Festival, all of which proved to be crucial in revitalizing the local economy. However, Óbidos needed to find a new development strategy and chose literature as a way to look towards the future.

The strategy was to create a cultural and literary center in Óbidos. When in 2012, the largest Portuguese bookstore in a Church was open, this town drew attention to the new configurations between spaces, activities as well as between local and foreign talents. We started with the idea of building a physical network of bookstores. In a few years, it skyrocketed to 11 new bookstores, as well as a literary hotel and 2 literary-themed restaurants.

On December 11th, 2015, UNESCO bestowed Óbidos the designation of a Literary City, an integrant of the Creative Cities Network program. This prestigious network aims to promote cooperation with and between cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for urban development.

Óbidos Vila Literária is a unique project in the context of the artistic and cultural manifestations that take place in Portugal. The quality of this literary and artistic project is recognized by the regional, national and international community.

The activities of Óbidos Vila Literária are ongoing, with particular reference to festivals and other literary and artistic gatherings, namely in FOLIO – International Literary Festival; and in Latitudes – Literature and Travel Festival.

Óbidos Vila Literária plays a crucial role in the social cohesion of the territory involving the residents of the municipality and of the Western region, extending even to other municipalities and neighboring regions. The plan of activities encompasses social inclusion, integration, and collaboration with schools, polytechnics, and universities, students, teachers, and researchers. This plan, that starts from the book and reading, has a holistic and integrative concern covering the different areas of knowledge and the Arts.

Learn more about out Óbidos Vila Literária by watching this video below!