The Ministry of Culture, together with Obra Social “la Caixa” and the Patronato de la Alhambra, presents a viability study to improve the accessibility to the Monument
The report concludes that more than 70 % of the Monumental Complex can become accessible for the persons with disabilities. With regard to the rest, 20 % would need the help of third persons and 10 % cannot be accessible because of the conditions of the area.
The Monumental Complex of the Alhambra and Generalife has more than two million annual visitors. 150 of them -visitors during the day- are persons with limited conditions of mobility or communication.
Obra Social “la Caixa” and the Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife propose the withdrawal of the architectural barriers and interventions with removable structures, for preserving the Monumental Complex and, simultaneously, improving its accessibility, within the framework of the law about Andalusian Heritage, Ley de Patrimonio de la Junta de Andalucía.
The Obra Social “la Caixa” has dedicated to the report an investment of 89.000 €.
Rosa Torres, Regional Ministry of Culture in Andalusia, Jesus Huertas García, Delegate of the Government in Granada; Maria del Mar Villafranca, Director of the Patronato de la Alhambra y el Generalife; Pedro Benzal, Provincial Delegate of Culture; Marc Simón, the Director of the Area of Social Integration of the Fundación “la Caixa”; Juan Reguera, Territorial Executive Director Sur Caixa and Juan Ignacio Zafra, General Delegate of “la Caixa” in Granada, have presented today a study with the target to improve the accessibility of the Historical and Monumental Complex, especially for the persons with disabilities.
The UNESCO declared the Alhambra and the Generalife of Granada as World Heritage Site on November 2, 1984. At present, the monument receives more than 2.000.000 annual visits, 150 of them (day visits) belong to persons with limited mobility or persons with serious physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities (sight and hearing).
For this reason, it is important to adapt the Complex, situated on top of a hill and with different levels or irregular pavings, and at the same time, to respect the environment and the signs of identity of the Complex. The common final target is that all persons can enjoy a high-quality visit, because – although the principal beneficiaries will be disabled persons – the improvement of accessibility of the Monumental Complex will make the visits better and easier to all visitors – families with children and babies, schools groups, the elderly, persons with difficulties to walk…
The report has been prepared by the Estudio de Arquitectura Rovira-Beleta, specialized in accessibility and architectural barriers, which has been provided with an investment by Obra Social “la Caixa” of 89.000 €. The study estimates that the budget foreseen to improve the accessibility of the Monument is 1.254.621,30 € and its fulfillment depends on what is considered in the Management Plan (Plan Director) of the Alhambra. The time for the actions is fixed between 2007-2015.
The conclusions of the study
The proposals for actions in this study, entrusted by the Fundación “la Caixa” and the Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife, demonstrate that it is possible that more than 70 % of the Monumental Complex could be accessible or improve its current accessibility. It is a pioneer and novel study in this field for having as subject a BIC (Good of Cultural Interest) that also is a World Heritage Site.
The solutions proposed by the architects are the use of removable structures, for incorporating accessibility in an unnoticed way and respecting the Monument, with accessible or repaired urban furniture, accessible toilets with information signs, and accesses with the technical assistance and new technologies in accessibility, which allow their use by all visitors who are guided in a comfortable and secure way.
On the other hand, there is a 20 % of the buildings of the Monumental Complex, about which the study concludes that, despite the measures to apply to improve their accessibility, the persons with disabilities would need the help of third persons, due to the wide uneven levels they have to go through during the visit to the gardens and palaces, for being a Good of Cultural Interest with the application of the Regulation of Accessibility excepted.
Finally, the report considers that the remaining 10 % of the Monumental Complex of the Alhambra and Generalife is not accessible, due to the existing limitations of the conditions of the area, with small spaces, narrow stairs or sudden changes of level, which would not make possible proposals without a distortion of the historical value of this World Heritage Site.
Also, the study proposes the creation of the Unit of Attention to Persons with Special Needs, where the visitor with serious disabilities and the persons with limited mobility and/or communication will find a personalized attention service and all kinds of technical assistance to make their visit to the Monumental Complex easier.
Some of the proposals of actions in this viability study cannot be implemented in a short term, since many of the proposals need archaeological studies and Commissions of Heritage Experts, which will decide if the proposed solutions are viable or not, according to their impact on the historical and artistic value of the goods.
The Study represents a substantial improvement as a Cultural Public Service for conceiving the experience of heritage in relation to the visitor like the solution applied and adapted to his needs, especially the ones related to accessibility, use and withdrawal of architectural barriers and in communication, which will suppose the main points in the general work processes. The target is to achieve that all the public spaces will be accessible to persons with disabilities, either physical, psychic or sensory.
“la Caixa” promotes the inclusion of persons with disability
One of the targets of the Fundación “la Caixa” is the progress of the living conditions of persons with special mobility needs. For this reason, the institution dedicates part of the 3’5 million € 2009 budget in Granada to promote, within the Incorpora program, social programs directed to the integration of persons with disabilities, and to facilitate employment to groups in situation of exclusion.
Obra Social “la Caixa” collaborates in Granada with diverse entities, which have the aim of progress of quality of life and social and work integration of persons with physical, sensory or psychic disabilities. In 2008, Obra Social ”la Caixa” promoted with its official announcements program 18 projects of organizations from Granada with an investment of more than 485.400 €.
The Patronato de la Alhambra y el Generalife collaborates with initiatives like this one to get the Alhambra closer to the society and, therefore, to the visitors. Alhambra is for all.