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Madrid is now inscribed on the World Heritage List. In 2019, Spain submitted the Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, Landscape of Arts and Sciences to UNESCO as a candidate to be inscribed on the World Heritage List, and UNESCO approved the nomination in 2021. Indeed, this area is an extraordinary urban landscape that has combined culture and nature since the mid-16th century, resulting in its Outstanding Universal Value status.

es.unesco.org

UNESCO’s World Heritage List includes sites of outstanding universal value. This list was created in 1972 by the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage to protect heritage considered important for all humanity and worthy of preservation for present and future generations.

Each year, countries submit candidacies which are examined in detail. UNESCO’s World Heritage list consists of more than 1,100 sites worldwide. Spain, with a total of 49, is one of the countries with the highest number of listed sites, along with Italy and China. Each year, countries submit nominations which are examined in detail and voted on by the World Heritage Committee.

Real Observatorio de Madrid photography, taken by Amador Toril.

Management bodies

  1. The Civic and Social Council is a participatory body comprising institutions, entities, foundations, and associations with a legitimate interest in the Landscape of Light. It convenes in sectoral working groups whose proposals are submitted to the plenary of the council for approval. Work is currently in progress on its new legal status, which will be that of an Association. The actions resulting from this initiative will be shared and tracked in an online database.
  2. The World Heritage Commission comprises the Madrid City Council, the Community of Madrid, and the Ministry of Culture and Sport and is responsible for liaising with UNESCO.
  3. The Scientific Council comprises experts in various fields chosen for their extensive professional experience and knowledge in World Heritage matters.
Close-up of entrance atrium of the Real Observatorio de Madrid photography.
Sculpture of Francisco de Goya at the entrance to Museo Nacional del Prado photography, taken by Tomás Zarza.
View of the Jardines del Buen Retiro from the Monumento al rey Alfonso XII photography.
Full view of The Landscape of Light, showing the enormous green patch of the Jardines del Buen Retiro in the centre photography.

Top: close-up of entrance atrium of the Real Observatorio de Madrid. Bottom: Parterre del Retiro. Bottom left: sculpture of Francisco de Goya at the entrance to Museo Nacional del Prado. Right: view of the Jardines del Buen Retiro from the Monumento al rey Alfonso XII. Bottom: full view of The Landscape of Light, showing the enormous green patch of the Jardines del Buen Retiro in the centre.

The World Heritage Designation

Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a Landscape of Arts and Sciences

The World Heritage property includes the Paseo del Prado, Retiro Park, and the surrounding area. It has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a Cultural Landscape; a landscape of outstanding value that man has shaped throughout history.

The Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, Landscape of the Arts and Sciences, Landscape of Light, was the first tree-lined boulevard in a European capital. It was created in the 16th century to provide the inhabitants of Madrid with a space for leisure and relaxation in a tree-lined environment.

Documents relating to the Landscape of Light in the Memory of Madrid Digital Library

The Memory of Madrid Digital Library is a project aimed at promoting the memory of the city through the digitisation of the Madrid City Council’s historical heritage, especially items preserved in its archives, museums, and libraries. Visitors can access photographs, newspapers and magazines, postcards, books from the 16th to the 20th centuries, objects from museums, etc. All these elements provide helpful information to understand the evolution of the city and Madrid’s cultural life.

Given its significance and relevance, the Memory of Madrid Digital Library is the municipal institution that houses all the instantly accessible digital documentation associated with the Landscape of Light.