Spain's European Heritage
Monasterio de Yuste (Cáceres)
The European Heritage Label is awarded to those places, monuments or cultural properties that have played a key role in Europe's common history. Spain's inclusion on the list was a foregone conclusion. This trip will take you to see the Spanish sites that have this label and will give you an idea of their importance for the European citizens of both the past and the present.
The European Heritage Label is a European Union initiative whose aim is to publicise and preserve the continent's cultural wealth. It includes places that have been particularly important and relevant in the development of a general European identity over the course of centuries, from a historic, artistic or ideological standpoint. As might be expected, several of these sites are in Spain. A tour of these places will reveal not only monuments, buildings and landscapes that are well worth seeing, but also Spain's significant contributions to the common European legacy.
Royal Monastery of Yuste
This 15th-century monastery is an exceptional work of Renaissance architecture. It is located in the interior of Spain, in the province of Cáceres, and the fact that it was awarded a European Heritage label is particularly symbolic: the Emperor Charles I, who is considered one of the first promoters of the idea of a unified Europe, chose it as his residence after abdicating. A visit to this place, with its cloisters, its Gothic and Renaissance elements, its Flemish-style gardens, its furnishings and paintings, is sure to please.
Archives of the Kingdom of Aragon
These archives await you in the city of Barcelona, in the traditional Gothic Quarter. One of the claims to fame of this institution, created in 1318, is that these are the oldest living archives in Europe. At its two locations, documentation that is essential to the study of the history of Spain and the Mediterranean countries is preserved. Among its treasures is the eye-catching collection of maps and plans, and the famous medieval codices of the monasteries of Ripoll and San Cugat del Vallés, important centres for the dissemination of culture in the Middle Ages. You are sure to enjoy the permanent exhibition at the Viceroys' Palace, an elegant 16th-century building that forms part of the Archives.
This natural feature of northern Spain is a legendary place in European history. In ancient times, it was believed to be the end of the known world, and as it was the westernmost point of the Roman Empire, its name reflected this: finis terrae (in Latin, "the end of the earth”). The symbolic nature of this location in Galicia made it the last stage on the Camino de Santiago route for many pilgrims coming from Europe. Its impressive scenery and breathtaking views of the sea and the coast may well leave you speechless.
The Hall of Residence
Located in Madrid, the Hall of Residence was one of the liveliest and open cultural centres in Europe in the inter-war period. It was home to such famous Spaniards as Federico García Lorca, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí and Severo Ochoa. Today, it is still an internationally recognised forum for intellectual interchange and dissemination, in which artists and scientists from all over the world take part. Its full schedule of activities means that you will be able to attend conferences, roundtables, concerts, exhibits and poetry recitals, to name a few.
The European Heritage Label is a tribute to the cultural diversity of the "old continent", and the list is increasing year by year. You can already start enjoying it in Spain.