Cash for the cas­tle

Ex­pan­sive restora­tion project an­nounced for Guardamar del Se­gura

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Front Page - Awatkins@cb­

€1 mil­lion to re­search, re­store and show­case cas­tle and walls

By Alex Watkins A MIL­LION eu­ros is to be in­vested to re­search, re­store and show­case the cas­tle and town walls of Guardamar del Se­gura, an­nounced coun­cil­lor for her­itage Pi­lar Gay.

The project is due to take 18 months and will be funded by the town hall and Euro­pean Union FEDER funds via the re­gional govern­ment.

Sra Gay ex­plained that the idea is to make it an at­trac­tion for vis­i­tors and res­i­dents to find out about what used to be the site of the town un­til it was de­stroyed by the earth­quake in 1829 and aban­doned, af­ter which Guardamar was built in its cur­rent lo­ca­tion on the flat ground at the foot of the hill.

“The aim is to change the im­age of the cas­tle and give it life,” she said, not­ing that it is al­ready the most vis­ited ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, thanks to its easy ac­ces­si­bil­ity and ex­cep­tional views.

The project will also in­clude cre­at­ing an area for ser­vices and an in­ter­pre­ta­tion cen­tre which will be de­signed based on the re­sults of the ex­ca­va­tions and re­main­ing his­tor­i­cal doc­u­men­ta­tion.

Ur­gent re­pairs will be car­ried out on var­i­ous parts of the cas­tle in or­der to guar­an­tee its con­ser­va­tion and sta­bil­ity. The ex­ca­va­tions will be across an area of 2,237 square me­tres in or­der to re­veal el­e­ments that are not cur­rently vis­i­ble and pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion re­quired to carry out the restora­tion work cor­rectly.

The project in­cludes 3D mod­el­ling of all the his­tor­i­cal el­e­ments in the area to cre­ate a com­plete and pre­cise plan of the dif­fer­ent con­struc­tions, as well as ver­ti­cal and oblique aerial pho­to­graphs to com­plete the study.

The walled town of Guardamar was strate­gi­cally sit­u­ated on a hill that pro­vided a nat­u­ral de­fence against at­tacks and flood­ing, en­abled con­tact be­tween the coast and in­land, and es­tab­lished vis­ual dom­i­nance over the sur­round­ing ter­ri­tory.

Var­i­ous ar­chae­o­log­i­cal stud­ies car­ried out since 1982 date its oc­cu­pa­tion back to the Phoeni­cian era (mid-8th cen­tury BC), but it be­came more im­por­tant in the Ibe­rian pe­riod (7th-5th cen­tury BC) with a re­li­gious sanc­tu­ary.

Moor­ish re­mains have also been dis­cov­ered and a Chris­tian for­ti­fi­ca­tion was es­tab­lished in the late me­dieval pe­riod.

La Fon­teta project be­gins Work is also be­gin­ning now on a €700,000 project to re­search, con­sol­i­date and show­case the Phoeni­cian and Moor­ish sites at La Fon­teta.

The con­tract for the 12month project was signed last week by Guardamar town hall, the re­gional cul­ture de­part­ment and the con­ces­sion­ary com­pany, Lorquimar SL.

The walled Phoeni­cian town is con­sid­ered the best pre­served in the Western Mediter­ranean while the Moor­ish ri­bat, a re­li­gious com­plex, is the largest found so far on the Ibe­rian Penin­sula, ex­plained Sra Gay.

The work on the Phoeni­cian ru­ins will con­sist of cut­ting back veg­e­ta­tion and trees grow­ing over them; as well as clean­ing, grout­ing, par­tially re­pair­ing and re­con­struct­ing the walls with a sac­ri­fi­cial layer (which can be re­moved) that is sep­a­rate to show which parts are new.

Ad­ja­cent ar­eas will also be con­sol­i­dated and a wooden view­ing plat­form in­stalled that con­nects to prop­erly sign­posted paths with in­for­ma­tion pan­els for vis­i­tors.

The same work will be car­ried out on the walls at the ri­bat, and the newly ex­ca­vated re­mains will put on dis­play as well.

“This rep­re­sents a turn­ing point for the pro­mo­tion of tourism thanks to the le­gacy left to us by the dif­fer­ent cul­tures who oc­cu­pied Guardamar,” said Sra Gay.

Mayor José Luis Sáez noted that vis­it­ing his­toric places has re­cently be­come the third most pop­u­lar rea­son for go­ing on hol­i­day.

Pi­lar Gay (left) at the cas­tle site

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