Moliceiros and tradition
This small town, once an important seaport, has a long history. The salt pans of Aveiro were mentioned in the will of Countess Mumadona Dias, which goes back to the year of 959, and who was the founder of the castle of Guimaraes.
In the 15th century it was a substantial city, enriched because of the salt and the cod fishing boats. The presence of Princess Santa Joana, daughter of D. Afonso V, in the Convent of Jesus, had important repercussions for Aveiro, as it drew attention to the city and favored its growth. The Age of Discovery was a period of great wealth and demographic increase, in which Aveiro became an important commercial and maritime center.
Its wealth disappeared, suddenly, when the storms silted the port in 1575. Only in the 19th century, with the opening of the new inlet on the beach, Aveiro recovered a little of its importance: the boats went back up to the city and the salt pans resurfaced. The construction of beautiful Art Nouveau buildings is a testament to that golden age.
The moliceiro is an elegant working boat, destined to harvest and transport the typical vegetation of the Aveiro River - the moliço. Chemical fertilizers have reduced the demand for this vegetation, which is why most moliceiros are currently used for tourist cruises now. The moliceiro exists throughout the Rivers surface, varying its dimensions according to the area where it is navigated. It is a boat with very low sides - to facilitate the harvesting and loading of the moliço -, measuring 2.5 meters wide and 1 meter long. Built of pine wood, it resists, on average, 7 years of work and its means of propulsion are the sail, the rod or the tow. One of its characteristics is the cheerful colors used in the composition of its panels: blue, yellow, green, red ... The variety of panels is endless, and the themes represent the decorator's imagination. It is precisely in these panels that the most witty and humorous drawings and legends.