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The potential of defensive architectural heritage as a resource for proposing cultural itineraries

Jonathan Ruiz-Jaramillo (Art and Architecture, University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain)
Luis José García-Pulido (Escuela de Estudios Árabes, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Granada, Spain)
Laura Montiel-Vega (Art and Architecture, University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain)
Carmen M. Muñoz-Gonzalez (Art and Architecture, University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain)
María Dolores Joyanes-Diaz (Art and Architecture, University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 22 September 2021

Issue publication date: 13 April 2023

235

Abstract

Purpose

Heritage landmarks and historical values often coexist with places and regions of remarkable environmental and landscape wealth. This article studies their capacity to generate global understanding of their territory through the creation of cultural routes. The proposed methodology is verified through the study of the defensive features of the ancient Nasrid Kingdom, the last Islamic territory in the Iberian Peninsula from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, which shaped the Spanish region known as the Kingdom of Granada until the nineteenth century.

Design/methodology/approach

To assist in the proposal of new routes, a precise collection of physical data (topography, landmarks, resources, population centres …), existing public paths and protected natural sites was carried out. Those cultural routes relevant to the area of study were also selected and mapped through GIS. A set of indicators prioritised through an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) have evaluated the proposed itineraries.

Findings

The methodology enables the integral evaluation of parameters such as natural heritage, existing paths networks, defensive architectural heritage (watchtowers), existing cultural routes or proximity to basic services. The methodology's application allows an index to be obtained that quantifies the global implications of these parameters in the design of new itineraries. This leads to the development of a network with its own narrative that provides a historical, environmental and cultural meaning.

Originality/value

Watchtowers in this region have previously been studied as isolated and locally relevant architectural features. This work studies them from an overall perspective, considering each tower as a piece of a complex defensive and territorial system. Cultural routes arise from this joint interpretation as tools to restore and highlight the interrelationship between architectural heritage and territory and people.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work has been carried out within the framework of the Spanish National R&D Research Plan through the project called “The watchtowers that defended the Nasrid kingdom of Granada. Scientific analysis and survey” (HAR2016-79689-P) funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, Government of Spain and co-financied with funds FEDER.

Citation

Ruiz-Jaramillo, J., García-Pulido, L.J., Montiel-Vega, L., Muñoz-Gonzalez, C.M. and Joyanes-Diaz, M.D. (2023), "The potential of defensive architectural heritage as a resource for proposing cultural itineraries", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 288-316. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-01-2021-0007

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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