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Irrigation tribunals in the Spanish Mediterranean

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The Council of Wise Men of the Plain of Murcia and the Water Tribunal of the Plain of Valencia


As legal water management institutions created by tradition, in use from the Al-Andalus period (9th - 13th centuries) up to the present day, both tribunals were given the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity designation in 2009.

Both tribunals are still valid and can be discovered in person. The first one takes place every Thursday at 10 am in the Salón Real (Royal Hall) of Murcia Town Hall. The second one takes place every Thursday at midday in the Puerta de los Apóstoles door of Valencia Cathedral.These tribunals contribute significantly to the cohesion of the irrigators' communities and pass on orally the knowledge that comes from secular cultural exchanges. They also have their own specialised vocabulary and many terms that come from Arabic. While their main function is legal, they also have very important symbolic meaning, as seen in the rituals used to pronounce their decisions and their frequent presence in local iconography.

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