Ávila, Salamanca and Segovia: Castilla y León's three World-heritage Cities
Every part of the world holds pieces belonging to a bygone age-old culture or human settlement that marked a people's identity. The catalogue of world heritage goes beyond the publicity sold in the travel agents or the attractive photographs lining tourist offices.
In order to avoid their disappearance, in 1960, a world convention warned all countries of the need to look after their heritage. The cause of this decision was the construction of the Aswan dam that threatened Egypt with loss of the monuments of Nubia. UNESCO reacted calling for international solidarity: and the importance of awareness from governments of the need to conserve that inheritance of their people.
The possibility that such items might be destroyed made the world aware that such wealth does not belong to any particular country: but is a universal property and its care is the responsibility of the citizens of the whole world.
The General Conference of the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture took responsibility for this call in 1972, the date the Convention for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage was created. This establishes the requirements for an item to be considered Cultural Heritage. Thus we are not only talking about monuments, but constructions or places of an important aesthetical, historical or anthropological value. From this point on, the project got off the ground and the international community made a commitment: a first debate would be held in Quebec (Canada) on World-Heritage Cities and after that the communities would reorganise themselves.
Spain's World-heritage Cities
In Castilla y León, there are three cities that have earned the mark of World-Heritage City: Salamanca, Ávila and Segovia. On 17 September 1993, the town halls of Ávila, Segovia and Salamanca, together with Cáceres, Santiago de Compostela and Toledo, signed an agreement in order to become a Spanish Group of World-Heritage Cities. In 1996, Córdoba was included and, two years later, Cuenca.
Commitment is made in the conservation and protection of items, deepening studies so that their treasures can help to educate and train future generations; acting in a joint way to defend the historical and cultural heritage, performing common projects and tackling the problems that affect each of the spots; also establishing policies to exchange experiences and plan a tourist and image policy that corresponds with the interests of all group members.