The Alhambra fascinates the Chinese

The Alhambra has proved fascinating to the Chinese. Its management model and the way it promotes the cultural activities organized in the monument each year aroused great interest amongst those participating in the Prince Gong’s Mansion International Forum: conservation, management and development of historic castles in Europe and princely mansions in China, held in Beijing (China) from 28 to 30 August.
This international meeting brought together heritage managers from 17 European monuments including in addition to the Alhambra, the Topkapi Palace (Turkey),  Schonbrunn (Austria), Chateau de Chenonceau (France), Trakoscan (Croatia), Tsarskoye Selo (Russia), Amboise (France), Summer Palace of Peter the Great (St Petersburg, Russia) and ten princely mansions from China including Prince Gong’s mansion. Over two days of debate they have exchanged experiences and explained the main lines of action of their work.
The Director of the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife, María del Mar Villafranca, opened the meeting on the first day and explained the sustainable management model applied in the Alhambra, and the planning and dissemination of the cultural activities that take place in the Monument, which for many travellers have become one of the main reasons for choosing the Alhambra as a tourist destination.
 “The Chinese were fascinated by the Alhambra. In this International Forum we have described the Alhambra of the 21st Century, the challenges we face and our experience as managers of a monument that receives millions of visitors every year. It was an honour for me to head the Spanish delegation at this meeting”, said Villafranca. The Alhambra and the Parador Hotel group were the Spanish representatives invited to the Forum which combined the meetings and debates with a visit to an exhibition of photographs about the history and culture of historic castles in Europe and princely mansions in China, plus the Palace Museum and the Summer Palace of Beijing, and the Great Wall of China.
Organized jointly by the Prince Gong’s Mansion Administration Centre and by the Cultural Exchange Centre at the behest of the Chinese Ministry of Culture, this International Forum will be held every two years. This year all the participants signed a letter of intentions in which they have undertaken to establish a network to enable them to work together on strategies for the conservation of our cultural heritage and the development of tourism, in order to promote greater protection and use of these Monuments. “This exchange of experiences will undoubtedly prove extremely useful when dealing with the challenges of the future”, commented the Director of the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife.

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