World Heritages in Spain Part IV

By | August 31, 2021

Sierra de Atapuerca (World Heritage)

At the sites in Gran Dolina and Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca, sensational traces of human life have been discovered since the 1990s, including around 800,000-year-old fossils of the genus Homo from the Paleolithic Age. They provide information about human evolution and are unique testimonies to the earliest ancestors of man today in Europe.

Sierra de Atapuerca: facts

Official title: Archaeological sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca
Cultural monument: Karst mountains consisting of limestone over 1000 m high, criss-crossed by numerous crevices and caves; so far only a small part of the caves has been systematically examined (Gran Dolina, Galeria-Covacha de los Zarpazos, Penal, Sima de los Elefantes, Sima de los Huesos, Cueva Mayor and Mirador); numerous archaeological finds from the Pleistocene: animal and human skeletal remains, fragments of flint, tools made of quartz, limestone and sandstone as well as other traces of human settlement during the last 800,000 years
Continent: Europe
Country: Spain
Location: Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos Province
Appointment: 2000
Meaning: Unique archaeological finds from the earliest human settlement in Europe

Sierra de Atapuerca: history

3000 BC Chr. Limestone quarries in the region
19th century First (amateur) investigations of the caves
1868 First report on the Cueva Mayor
1898 Fossil finds during the construction of a railway line through the area
1920 Discovery of cave paintings in the Cueva Mayor
from 1960 Systematic scientific research
1994 36 fragments of human remains found in the Gran Dolina (age estimated to be at least 780,000 years)

Ibiza (World Heritage)

According to politicsezine, the Posidonia seagrass meadows and the Salinas for salt production in the Ses Salines nature reserve are part of the world natural heritage. The archaeological sites are reminiscent of the island’s history, which already played an important role during the Phoenician-Carthaginian era. Puig des Molins is the largest preserved necropolis of the Carthaginians.

Ibiza: facts

Official title: Ibiza: biodiversity and culture
Cultural and natural monument: Ten archaeological sites from the late Bronze Age; “Las Salinas”, salt pans that have been operated with practically unchanged methods since the times of the Phoenicians; Excavation site of the old Phoenician settlement “Sa Caleta” (founded in 654 BC by the Phoenicians, around 300 inhabitants, discovered in 1987); “Puig des Molins” necropolis with 4,000 burial chambers (7th century BC – 3rd century AD, discovered in 1903); the “Dalt Vila” surrounded by a huge fortress wall (six bastions, 1931 m long, up to 22 m high, three meters thick, construction started in 1555, according to plans by the Italian fortress builder Giovanni Battista Calvi, extended and completed at the beginning of the 18th century) from Eivissa; 85.6 km² nature reserve, consisting of the coastal lagoons and the “Salinas” of Ibiza and Formentera, including the rocky islands of Penjats, Espardell and Espalmador and the entire area between Ibiza and Formentera down to a depth of 40 m; Protection of the animal and vegetable diversity of the sea by the seagrass Posidonia, a grass-like plant with long, ribbon-shaped leaves and creeping rhizomes that lives at a depth of about 40 m
Continent: Europe
Country: Spain
Location: Ibiza, Balearic Islands
Appointment: 1999
Meaning: Unique coastal nature reserve; Evidence of a long history of settlements documented by archaeological sites
Flora and fauna: Maritime: sea grass meadows, reefs made of lawn corals; Sea squirts; terrestrial: eleven endemic plant species, seven rare, eight endangered; now almost completely eradicated juniper forest, originally widespread in the Mediterranean area; numerous rare animal species, primarily the Mediterranean monk seal (one of the twelve most endangered mammal species in the world); diverse bird life, 205 bird species (including osprey, Adouin’s gull, flamingos), including 171 migratory bird species; five endemic mammal species; eleven reptile species and 56 invertebrates

San Cristóbal de la Laguna (World Heritage)

It was not until 1496 that the Spaniards conquered Tenerife and incorporated it into their kingdom. The city, founded in 1510, became the capital of the Spanish governor. It is the first unfortified colonial city in Spain and became a model for the founding of cities in the New World.

San Cristóbal de la Laguna (World Heritage)

San Cristóbal de la Laguna: facts

Official title: San Cristóbal de la Laguna (Tenerife Island)
Cultural monument: Former capital of Tenerife in the north-west of the island, built in the 15th century; two city centers: the grown upper town and the lower town, laid out like a chessboard according to an urban planning plan with wide streets and large squares; magnificent town houses and aristocratic palaces as well as interesting churches; numerous important buildings from the 16th to 18th centuries; among others: Church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (Immaculate Conception, 1498), Mudejar style bell tower (16th century), Baroque pulpit; neoclassical cathedral Santa Iglesi (parish church from 1515, subsequently rebuilt and expanded several times), marble pulpit (1767), rich silver church treasure; Plaza del Adelantado with City Hall and Palace of Justice; Bishop’s Palace (16th century), former Augustinian monastery, from 1792 the seat of the university
Continent: Europe
Country: Spain
Location: San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife
Appointment: 1999
Meaning: First non-fortified colonial city in Spain; Model for the construction of colonial cities in Latin America

San Cristóbal de la Laguna: history

500 BC Chr. Settlement of the island
1402 Occupation of the Canary Islands by Spain
1494 Spanish defeat when attempting to land in Tenerife
1496 Submission of Tenerife as the last island to the Spanish crown; Founding of San Cristóbal de la Laguna by the conqueror Alonso Fernandez de Lugo; Seat of the Spanish governors and capital of the Canary Islands
16th century Colonization and Christianization of Tenerife
1510 City rights for La Laguna
1723 Santa Cruz de Tenerife as the new capital of the Canary Archipelago
1797 Failure of the English under Lord Nelson when attempting to conquer the Canary Islands
1852 Canary Islands free trade zone

Salamanca old town (World Heritage)

The old town is a jewel of medieval architecture with numerous sights from the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles. Outstanding is the Plaza Mayor, one of the most beautiful squares in Spain, the “House of Shells” and the Old and New Cathedral. The University of Salamanca was founded in 1218, and the city was one of the most important university cities in Europe until the 16th century.

Salamanca Old Town: Facts

Official title: Salamanca old town
Cultural monument: Ancient Iberian settlement and university town with old and new cathedral and the 4,000 m² Plaza Mayor as a lively city center; The adopted home of the famous Spanish writer and philosopher Miguel de Unamuno (1846–1936), an ardent supporter of republican Spain and until 1936 rector of the University of Salamanca
Continent: Europe
Country: Spain
Location: On the Río Tormes, northwest of Madrid
Appointment: 1988
Meaning: One of the oldest and most important university towns in Europe until the 16th century

Salamanca old town: history

1st century Construction of the Roman bridge with 26 arches
12-13 Century in the course of the Reconquista construction of the old cathedral and construction of a new city wall (1147)
1218 Foundation of the university
1254 under Alfonso X, the wise, 12 university chairs were established
16th century Dominican convents of Santa María de las Dueñas and San Esteban
1617 Founding of the Clerecía, a Jesuit college for 300 students
1733 Consecration of the New Cathedral, built in the late Gothic style
1729-55 Plaza Mayor based on a design by Alberto Churriguera (1676–1750)
1867 Sanding the city walls