On November 4, 2021, it will go down in the history of Carmona . On this day, the definitive step was taken for the city of Los Alcores to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site . A career that seems long but in which she will be accompanied by a large multidisciplinary group of 13 professionals who make up the advisory council of the candidacy . This body met yesterday for the first time after the official presentation that took place in the main courtyard of the Parador Carmonense, the former Alcazar del Rey Don Pedro, another of the heritage jewels of a municipality whose orography has allowed human civilization to settle in he from the Turdetan era.
A quality that is the basis of the candidacy that already has the support of two public administrations: that of the local council itself (headed by its mayor, Juan Avila ) and that of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, whose head, Patricia del Pozo , has made public his support for the initiative in recent months. In this way, compared to the race that began in 2003 and was quickly frustrated (it did not prosper beyond the Andalusian Executive), the current candidacy is not justified only by the vast artistic heritage, but also takes a much broader perspective , when considering the natural landscapeas the main foundation of all the cultures that have inhabited ancient Carmo in the last 5,000 years, which has led to the city having up to 16 buildings declared BIC (Well of Cultural Interest).
Joseph Maria Head(technical architect and National Award for Restoration and Conservation of Cultural Assets) explained in his speech yesterday, as coordinator of the advisory council, the importance of orography in the history of the municipality. He recalled that Carmona sits on a mound – with a height of 235 meters above sea level – in the middle of the Campina plain. A situation that has given it a defensive privilege and that has made it a difficult place to conquer. In fact, Fernando III was aware that before taking Seville he had to do so with what was then called Qarmuna. It is also a totally hollow mound, full of water, which has guaranteed the supply of its inhabitants in these five millennia.
The fact that the natural landscape is chosen as the main bulwark to achieve the UNESCO declaration also responds to a strategic question. In this sense, Cabeza explained that, given the numerous municipalities that have already received such cataloging for their material heritage, the alternative that currently opens up more possibilities is the one that concerns the natural environment that sustains it and that explains its artistic wealth.
This differential fact validates that his advisory council is made up of 13 professionals from very different disciplines . There are experts in Archeology, such as Antonio Almagro Gorbea , National Award for Restoration and Conservation of Cultural Assets in 2016; and Pilar Leon-Castro, emeritus professor of this specialty at the University of Seville (US). Professors of Ancient History, such as Antonio Caballos , and of Medieval History, such as Manuel Gonzalez , are also present ; an anthropologist of great recognition like Isidoro Moreno ; the doctor in Biology from the US and former director of the Donana Biological Station, Juan Jose Negro Balsameda ; and an eminence in Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, Manuel Losada Villasante (Prince of Asturias Award and Favorite Son of Andalusia).
It has architects with an accredited professional career in the conservation and restoration of important buildings. Such is the case of Alfonso Jimenez Martin, professor at the Superior Technical School of Architecture of the US, who held the position of senior teacher of the Cathedral of Seville for many years; and Fernando Mendoza Castell , winner of the Europa Nostra Award in 2010, drafter of the subsidiary regulations of Carmona in 1983 (which have been so important in maintaining the hallmarks of urban planning in the city) and who was in charge of the important restoration of the temple of the Savior.
In addition, this group includes two other highly prestigious professionals who have a close relationship with important bodies that have to validate Carmona’s aspirations to become a World Heritage Site . This is Roman Fernandez-Baca, current mayor of the Alcazar of Seville, who has held the position of general director of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture and for 28 years has been head of the Andalusian Institute of Historical Heritage (IAPH). He currently acts as a consultant member of UNESCO , a world body that grants the intended cataloging and that, previously, is advised by Icomos , where another member of this large group, the professor of Human Geography of the Hispalense, Victor Fernandez Salinas , has exercised the Presidency of the international committee of cultural itineraries and the secretary of the Spanish national committee.
According to Jose Maria Cabeza himself, the professional projection of these names is essential for the phase that is now beginning, in which the report that supports Carmona’s proposal is already in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, which has to send it – once he has endorsed the candidacy – to the equivalent ministry, which will transfer him to the so-called Grupo Uno . The coordinator of the advisory council emphasizes that said entity especially values ”the prestige” of those who endorse the initiative, a quality that more than meets the list of experts that was presented yesterday. A piece of advice, moreover, with a multidisciplinary nature , as it is an application based on such a broad scope as the natural, cultural and heritage landscape.
Once examined by Group One, the report will return to the Carmona City Council, which may make some modifications according to the observations of this consultation body. The local administration will again send it to the Junta de Andalucia. From there again to the Ministry of Culture which, in this second phase, will take it to the Historical Heritage Council , made up of, among other experts, members of Icomos.
In this procedure, its inclusion in the indicative list , where Italica is already found, will be decided. Once it reaches this designation, it remains to be seen that the candidacy (only one a year is presented in all of Spain) will be sent to the UNESCO World Heritage Center., last entity to decide on the denomination that is intended. A process that, in any case, is difficult to finish in less than six years.