It is thirty years now since the establishment of the Council of the Alhambra and the Generalife.
The first Council of the Alhambra dates back to 1914. During the second half of the 19th century, the Spanish society, increasingly more liberal and committed to the search for an identity, shows a growing concern for the interpretation and recovery of the past and its documents.
An example of this is the creation of institutions like the Provincial Commissions of Monuments, around 1870, when the Alhambra is declared National Monument. It is then when the Ministry of Public Works and Economy, to which the Alhambra was attached, releases the first public investments to its conservation.
Later on, an administrative system is consolidated that led to the creation of bodies specially committed with the protection of the Monument; these were the Special Commission of 1905 and the Council of Friends of 1913 and already in 1914, the first Council of the Alhambra.
Other relevant landmarks take place in the following years. In 1917, the General Conservation Scheme of the Alhambra was drafted, and in 1921 the property of the Generalife was attached to the State.
After the Spanish Civil War the new Franco administration assumes, with a reinforced symbolic load, the conservation of the complex. On March 9th, 1940 it is created a Council for the Installation and adaptation as a residence of the Palace of Charles V and on August 13th of that year it was passed a Decree of extension of the functions entrusted to the Council; extensive to the rest of the Monument.
During those years, architect Francisco Prieto Moreno (1942 to 1970), disciple and assistant of Torres Balbás, will continue his works, by which the Alhambra is being prepared for the tourist boom of the 1960’s, central circumstance to face.
The Monumental Complex is then favored by the actions carried out from Madrid by the Granada-born university professor Manuel Gómez-Moreno, which soon will be continued by another Granada citizen, Antonio Gallego Burín, from the General Directorate of Fine Arts.
During that stage, infrastructure and restoration works are carried out that will lead, among other things, to the creation of the Archaeological Museum of the Alhambra in 1942. The following year, it takes place the declaration of Historic gardens of the Alhambra and the Generalife, which opens an administrative process mixed with relevant facts like the location in the Palace of Charles V of the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts (as of 1956), and that will culminate in 1962 with the publication of the Statutes of the Council of the Alhambra.
During the democratic Transition a representative fact for the Alhambra, though not well-known, took place: the Council was awarded the Gold medal of the German Foundation Friedrich Von Schiller, for the conservation and restoration of buildings and European complexes, solemnly received on November 8th 1980 in the Hall Comares.
The statutes currently in force in the Council of the Alhambra and the Generalife were approved on March 19, 1986, as a result of a process of transfers in the field of culture, from the Central Government to the Andalusia Government. The institutions responsible for the cultural management also contributed a number of legal instruments of great importance: the Law of Spanish Historical Heritage (1985), as well as the Law of Historical Heritage of Andalusia (1991) which qualified the management of Cultural properties, recently renewed by the entry into force of Law 14/2007 of Historical Heritage of Andalusia. In this legislative context, the Alhambra represents, without a doubt, an outstanding referent. In fact, the Special Scheme of the Alhambra and Alijares (1986), still in force, involves a direct application of those approaches.
The elaboration of the Master Plan of the Alhambra is conceived as a strategic instrument that allows to set to the management guidelines of the Monumental Complex of the Alhambra and the Generalife, with a view to the important challenges that as a first class heritage institution it has to face in the 21st century.