Territorio Mudéjar, an example of good practices at the seminar on cultural heritage as a sustainable resource in ‘empty Spain’

Territorio Mudéjar participates in the leading forums on heritage and innovation, including the online seminar entitled “El patrimonio cultural como recurso sostenible en la España vaciada” (Cultural heritage as a sustainable resource in empty Spain), sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports. We not only attended, in this case, but also stood out as a role model of good practices.

At this meeting, coordinated by the Cultural Heritage Institute of Spain (IPCE) and held on October 5 and 6, the lecturers included full professors of the art history department at University of Zaragoza Ascensión Hernández Martínez and María Pilar Biel Ibáñez, who gave a conference entitled “La cultura y el patrimonio como recurso: la lucha de Aragón contra la despoblación” (Culture and heritage as a resource: Aragon’s fight against depopulation).

In line with the theme of the seminar, they discussed how this demographic challenge requires coming up with strategies to encourage people to stay in places with difficulties and studying measures that generate social benefits for the residents, attract visitors and possible new residents, and turn heritage into a driver of the economy, tourism and employment and, above all, to uphold a cultural identity.

In this regard, they explained how we, at Territorio Mudéjar, strive to consolidate a unified, collaborative management network for the use of historical and artistic resources linked to important Mudejar heritage in our towns. And also how we see these resources as a driving force in the development of the towns and as emblems of identity for upholding the communities existing in our region.

They further highlighted that our entity ensures that the projects directly affect the region through responsible and sustainable management of Mudejar cultural heritage.

Experts from the IPCE, the University of Seville’s Industrial Heritage Laboratory, the Santa María la Real and DeClausura Foundations, the Polytechnic University of Madrid School of Architecture, and Asociación Amigos de los Castillos, to name a few, also participated in the seminar. They discussed the issue of desertion of rural areas and the ensuing consequences for heritage, including the loss of traditional architecture and monuments, movable assets, habits and intangible customs.

They also assessed good practices such as reputable cultural routes, famous restoration projects, preserved monuments, foundations whose efforts have had excellent outcomes and models such as that of Territorio Mudéjar.

Mudejar valley culture, in the Ruta 67 digital catalog of the Community of Calatayud

The Ruta 67 digital catalog was created as part of the “Descubre tu comarca” (Discover your district) employment workshop, in which Territorio Mudéjar participated by presenting one of the sessions. It maps out tours of the Community of Calatayud district, to discover its historical, cultural and culinary treasures. These routes invite travelers to enjoy the Mudejar heritage in these towns:

Territorio Mudéjar participated in this employment workshop last year by offering a training session that included a field trip to the entity’s offices in Tobed. Participants who took part in the workshop, sponsored by the Community of Calatayud district and subsidized by the Government of Aragon and the INAEM, for a full year received a level 3 professionalism certificate for local tourism promotion and visitor information, which qualifies them to work in visitor information settings.

Posters with QR codes will be set up in the towns through which the routes pass, which travelers can scan with their mobile phones to read the digital brochure. You can also download it here.

Territorio Mudéjar participates in the CortonaOpen3D workshop as an example of innovative heritage management

Territorio Mudéjar took part in the CortonaOpen3D workshop, a specialized course in computer graphics and smart city design applied to cultural heritage, which was held from August 1 to 10 in the Italian city of Cortona, in the province of Arezzo (Tuscany), to share its example of innovative management of artistic and historical heritage in a rural setting.

During this workshop, the participants work individually or as a group to develop an architectural design project or an art installation inserted into the context of the city of Cortona. To do this, they receive specialized training in different areas related to architecture.

In this regard, Victoria Trasobares, director of Territorio Mudéjar, gave a conference to explain the Territorio Mudéjar model “as a strategic example of heritage management: the project behind the projects”.

The lecture was streamed live from the town of Tobed and in it, Victoria Trasobares discussed how the Territorio Mudéjar network began and grew, outlined its activity program and, in line with the course contents, explained how a technological vision can guide the work of historical, artistic and cultural heritage management.

She also talked about the “Mudéjar Patrimonio Mundial 3D” (3D Mudejar World Heritage) project, a cross-disciplinary initiative led by Luis Agustín Hernández, architect and professor at the School of Engineering and Architecture of University of Zaragoza, aimed at revaluing Mudejar heritage. The project arose from the 2019 fieldwork grants and will continue in a major new cross-disciplinary, multi-university project between Spain and Italy. The University of Zaragoza (School of Engineering and Architecture, and the Art History department of the School of Humanities), the Polytechnic of Turin, Polytechnic of Milan and the University of Salerno will all take part.

In addition, the conference at CortonaOpen3D represented the first of numerous wide-ranging activities open to the students in the 2020 Challenge Program internships, an initiative funded by the Provincial Government of Zaragoza and managed by Universa, the job orientation and employment service of University of Zaragoza.

The Aragonese Mudejar, a mouse-click away around the world with the Google Arts and Culture platform

The Mudejar architecture of the province of Zaragoza can be accessed at the click of a mouse by anyone, anywhere around the world, thanks to its inclusion in the “UNESCO World Heritage” collection on Google Arts and Culture, a multi-lingual platform that has received more than 175 million visits and a mobile application that has been downloaded more than 30 million times, which offers virtual tours of museums and heritage treasures around the world.

Thanks to the initiative of the Provincial Government of Zaragoza and Territorio Mudéjar’s collaboration, the platform has included the Mudejar architecture of Aragon in a special UNESCO project for the promotion and dissemination of World Heritage sites. Specifically, the platform displays the monuments designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2001: the church of Santa Tecla in Cervera de la Cañada, the church of La Virgen in Tobed and the Santa María collegiate church in Calatayud, in Zaragoza province, and the Seo, the San Pablo tower and the Aljafería palace, in the city of Zaragoza. Mudejar sites in the province of Teruel, declared UNESCO World Heritage 15 years earlier, thus triggering the process of promotion and rediscovery of the Mudejar as the most authentic art form in Aragon, can also be seen.

The Mudejar art of Aragon has a strong regional component and cannot be understood through a single site. Its diversity and wealth is much more thoroughly explained when it is defined as “valley culture”, in which the valleys of Zaragoza are a highlight. To discover all its splendor, Google Arts and Culture has also included photographs of some monuments in Territorio Mudéjar that are not listed as World Heritage, such as the church in Torralba de Ribota, the San Andrés tower in Calatayud, the magnificent views of the city of Daroca and the church in Aniñón, just a few of the many wonderful examples found scattered throughout the valleys of Zaragoza. In addition, there are also images of the Seo in Zaragoza, the San Pablo tower and the Aljafería palace in the city of Zaragoza, as well as the El Salvador church tower in the city of Teruel. All of them offer a glimpse of the scope of Mudejar heritage as a cultural expression found nowhere else in the world.

The platform offers photographs, a video about the Mudejar identity of the towns in Zaragoza that share this rich heritage, and a photogrammetric model of some of the World Heritage churches. This model was created as a result of the work done in one of the Territorio Mudéjar fieldwork grants in 2019, representing a launching pad for many other projects in the field of 3D heritage. The owners of the more than 30 million mobile phones that have downloaded the Google Arts and Culture app have received a message containing a link to all of these contents.

 

Universality, uniqueness and authenticity

This initiative spotlights the Mudejar World Heritage brand internationally and provides a powerful tool for heritage outreach and for the towns in the province.

The Mudejar architecture of Aragon was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001 for its “universality, uniqueness and authenticity”. Although Mudejar is usually described as Christian architecture built by Mudejars, Muslims who remained in the lands conquered by Christian rulers, this avant-garde movement from the medieval period is actually much more complex. This genre, which extends across several centuries and has a regional component entailing journeys across valleys, mountains and urban settings, has stamped each town with a unique personality that goes beyond mere monuments to encompass urban design, the division of land, the landscape and society, impacting the intangible heritage of the towns and their idiosyncrasy.

 

Link to Aragonese Mudejar architecture on Google Arts and Culture:

https://artsandculture.google.com/story/VwVBrGnQt1ZofQ

 

Territorio Mudéjar, main feature of the UNESCO “World Heritage” magazine

Our towns are featured in an extensive article in the first issue of this landmark magazine

The towns and heritage of Territorio Mudéjar are featured in the first issue of “World Heritage” magazine, published by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. This landmark magazine has devoted two pages to Mudejar art in the province of Zaragoza, outlining the key points that make Mudejar a unique, avant-garde style in which we can read the history of Aragon.

The article, which is available in Spanish, English and French, explains how the Mudejar art of Aragon, the architecture of which was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2001 due to its “universality, uniqueness and authenticity”, tells the story of our region and reveals an extraordinary rural setting that contrasts with the more ethnographic image commonly associated with villages. It is cultured, refined architecture that, nonetheless, remains close to everyday life and shows us a region that exudes intellectualism and beauty.

Here is the link for you to read the article:

Territorio Mudéjar presents its model at the MOMAr Interreg Europe meeting in Corsica

At this event, we exchanged good practices in managing sustainable rural heritage with a focus on people

Territorio Mudéjar traveled to the French island of Corsica to take part in a meeting of the MOMAr Interreg Europe project*, an initiative led by the Provincial Government of Zaragoza for the purpose of designing new rural heritage management models that foster sustainable development and adapt to the specific features of each region.

There, we exchanged good practices on a highly interesting topic: “Without people, there are no resources: local management exchanges observing efficiency, sustainability and demographic fragility”. This idea is in Territorio Mudéjar’s genes, since we work as a network around heritage resources in the Mudejar field, always closely linked to the towns and their inhabitants. We are convinced that heritage is alive and evolving because it is part of a context that is lived in, urban, and in the midst of people.

Some of the inspirational examples of heritage management that we learned about include the Route of the Romanesque in Germany, the monumental churches and farms in Groningen (the Netherlands), the efforts to preserve traditional Romanian embroidery on blouses in Mehedinti county and, of course, two projects from Aragon: the sustainable networked management of Territorio Mudéjar and promotion of the ancient village of Belchite (Provincial Government of Zaragoza).

Territorio Mudéjar discussed the management of cultural heritage as a possible strategy for the future. We believe that places in which historical, cultural and natural heritage resources are managed in a conscientious and intelligent manner are resilient, distinctive and identity-based. Places for investment, development and future.

Our efforts are based on these foundations, and this is how we have explained it at the meeting, in addition to discussing how our unified, collaborative network for heritage management works, and talking about all aspects of the Mudejar (architecture, urban design, landscape, popular culture and more) and about the projects we are implementing.

Together, we strive to design new strategies for rural heritage management that foster sustainable development and adapt to the unique identity of each region.

Our hosts gave us a first-hand view of how they work at the Corsican Movable Heritage Conservation and Restoration Center (CCRPMC) located at Fort Charlet in the town of #Calvi, which is in charge of safeguarding the knowledge, preservation and promotion of this heritage. There, we discovered their resources and magnificent artistic and religious heritage.

We also traveled to the city of Corte to learn about the project for the transformation of its citadel, built in the 15th century, and its watchtower, which presides over the entire city. In addition, we also visited the temporary exhibitions at the Museum of Corsica.

*MOMAr is the acronym for the project name: Models of Management for Singular Rural Heritage.

More information: https://www.interregeurope.eu/momar/

FITUR 2020: Territorio Mudéjar as a role model of sustainable tourism and cultural heritage

Territorio Mudéjar is presenting at the leading international tourism trade fair a model for access to heritage that poses an opportunity to uphold local communities

Territorio Mudéjar is present at FITUR 2020, the leading tourism trade fair, which has become an excellent showcase for spotlighting the potential of our towns and heritage, as well as our proposal for smart, ‘green’ tourism strongly linked to the towns and their inhabitants.

At Territorio Mudéjar we strive to develop Mudejar heritage management practices that foster responsible, sustainable tourism designed by those in the places where the heritage is located, always in conjunction with their inhabitants.

We believe that heritage is a driving force for the development and identity of our towns. And we consider preservation, research and dissemination of the Mudejar identity to be key factors in the creation of tourism activities, which must always be designed from within the region and in conjunction with its inhabitants.

Therefore, we have aligned our work with the goals of Agenda 2030 and with the SDGs, as our guiding principles.

In this sense, as we shall explain at FITUR:

  • We promote the management of local eco-systems, extraction and use of nearby materials, native trades and craftsmanship that reduce energy consumption, and investments, all of which aid in the creation of sustainable means of subsistence and encourage green economies.
  • We believe that knowledge is key: accessibility to heritage as a starting point. We contribute our perspective in the construction of quality education at all levels that promotes learning opportunities which we believe to be crucial in the promotion of economic growth and high quality work.
  • We work with heritage space as a concentrator for rural innovation: new uses, workplace innovation, gender equality, inter-generational experiences and, in sum, working to reduce the inequality that arises, in our case, from working with world renowned heritage in a rural setting.

We firmly believe that places in which heritage resources – historical, cultural and natural – are managed in a conscientious and intelligent manner are resilient, distinct and identity-based places. They are places for investment, development and future.

To better spotlight our region, we will also be presenting a video at FITUR 2020, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiCaStafQfA