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Former Civilian Jail Building

The firs jail kwon in Vila do Conde has build in the XVI century. However, in the latest years of the XIX century, there was the need for a new facility has felt, mainly to provide security and hygiene conditions. In June 1903, the formal proceedings for a new jail building were started, but several events delayed the processes until, finally, a different project from the original one has started at 27 de April de 1915. It was this way that a unique specimen of architecture has built, with a dodecagon shape surrounding a circular interior yard, closed with a glass-roof.

Meanwhile, in the 70 decade, de building cessed his functions and, in 1997, the City Hall started a rehabilitation plan, with the support of the European Community, which was inaugurated the 1st September 1999 by the minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Dr. José Mariano Gago. At this time, the possibility of using the space for a local science museum arouse, and culminated with the installation of the Vila do Conde "Ciência Viva" Science Centre.

This qualification process received a prize by the Jury of the National Architecture Prizes Alexander Herculaneum, that evaluates the best architectural interventions of the historic centres of the cities.


"Ciência Viva" Science Centre

Using “The Water” as the main motive, our exhibit presents the visitor 18 interactive experiments where some phenomena can be observed and tested, in several areas of knowledge (maths, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, rational use of the water resource, among others). Without any concern about the presentation sequence, here is a list of some of the concepts involved in the exhibit: pressure, density, impulsion, light phenomena (reflection, refraction, dispersion), resonance, strobe effect, Coriolis forces, habitat and ecosystem.

The visit to our Centre is completed with a visit to the lab (where several small and simple experiment are presented), to the aquarium, to the meteorological station and to the auditorium(where a film is projected).