The Board receives the proposal for the inscription of the Macael marble quarry as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Unesco

Macael quarries.

The Councilors of Agriculture, Cattle raising, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and Culture and Historical Heritage, Carmen Crespo and Patricia del Pozo, have chaired the act of delivery of the proposal of inscription of the marble quarry of Macael in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage promoted by the City Council of the Almeria town, with the collaboration of the Escuela de Mármol de Fines, the universities of Almería and Granada and the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain.

The initiative, which opens the process to achieve the Unesco distinction, highlights an intangible heritage that encompasses knowledge and techniques (the quarrying and their associated trades: artisans, carters…), instruments and tools (mortars, sinks, crosses, "Braces" ...) and cultural spaces (quarries, the placetas, the workshops, the factories, etc), together with their oral expressions, social uses and festivities, like those dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary, stonemason devotion.

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In a ceremony held at the Government Delegation of the Board in Almería, Patricia del Pozo has indicated that “today we are taking the first steps of an exhaustive and laborious work that will have the maximum collaboration of the Andalusian Government. The Ministry of Culture and Historical Heritage has the necessary experience and the most qualified professionals to outline a candidacy that highlights the unique qualities of the Macael quarries, its deep history and its future value ”.

“This path will serve to study and protect in depth this intangible and decisive legacy to explain the culture and way of life of Macael and, by extension, from all over Almería ", has explained Del Pozo. The counselor applauded "the initiatives that make heritage a factor of social cohesion and a source of wealth, now so important when we glimpse the exit from the pandemic ”and has announced, as a first step, the inclusion of marble stonework in the Atlas of the Intangible Heritage of Andalusia.

For his part, the Minister of Agriculture, Cattle raising, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Carmen Crespo, has assured that “the town of Macael knows that it has in me, and in the Ministry that I direct, to one more ally in the laudable objective of achieving this recognition by Unesco”. As from Almeria, the environmental minister recalled that “marble stonework has become a hallmark and the sector has started the path towards sustainability with great effort”. Crespo has meant among the values ​​of this industry “the efficient use of resources and the reduction and recovery of waste”, that places her “at the forefront of the fight against climate change and the circular economy”. 

Also, the counselor congratulated the City Council and the associations that have joined this initiative, that "has the appearance of prospering with the push of all". To end, Crespo thanked the Minister of Culture for the "boost" she is giving to the province of Almería and her willingness at all times, while he recalled that "the Junta de Andalucía had a historical debt with Almería for years and now justice is being done".

The candidacy of Macael's stonemasonry, that has strong citizen and institutional support, represents a unique landscape of open-pit exploitation of marble since ancient times. So, pieces are found in the Roman site of Itálica, in the monumental complex of the Alhambra and in the palace of El Escorial. It is also a way of life that constitutes a cultural mark of modern Macael, as well as a business reference in Andalusia.