Madrid celebrates UNESCO declaration of the Paseo del Prado and El Retiro as World Heritage, in the category of Landscape of Arts and Sciences.
The candidacy presented jointly by the City Council, the Community of Madrid and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, under the name Landscape of Light, wins the first enclave in the city of Madrid and the first historic urban landscape declared in Europe.
UNESCO wanted to recognize the exceptional nature of the first tree-lined promenade in a European capital, created in the 16th century, being also a model of urban planning intervention that combines culture, nature, art and science.
It was originally conceived in the time of Felipe II and would later become, in the 18th century, a benchmark of enlightened urban planning to promote scientific research and disseminate this knowledge to society.
The Community of Madrid thus incorporates the city of Madrid to its municipalities with properties included in the UNESCO list: San Lorenzo de El Escorial (the Monastery and the Royal Site), Alcalá de Henares (University and historic precinct), and Aranjuez (Cultural Landscape). Together with El Hayedo de Montejo, declared a Natural Heritage Site, there are now five World Heritage Sites in the region.
In the heart of the city center, the new heritage assets thus recognized by the declaration include El Retiro Park, the Jeronimos neighborhood and the Paseo del Prado, from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, in Atocha. Together they form a unique urban environment, now of outstanding universal value.
The area comprising this Landscape of Light is home to important scientific, political and cultural institutions. Among them there are green spaces such as the Buen Retiro Garden or the Royal Botanical Garden, public institutions such as the Royal Astronomical Observatory, the Congress of Deputies, the Bank of Spain, the Madrid Stock Exchange, the Cervantes Institute or the Royal Spanish Academy.
Important cultural references can also be found, such as the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Museo Nacional de Antropología, the Casa de América, the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, the Museo Naval, the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza or CaixaForum Madrid.
Together, all these institutions add up to more than 21 already recognized Assets of Cultural Interest and their funds and collections have great universal value, with works by Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Titian, Rubens, El Bosco, Van Eyck, Dürer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Mondrian, Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró.
More information: Lista del Patrimonio Mundial de la UNESCO
Image credits: Paseo del Prado © Karol Kozlowski. Shutterstock