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Monastery of Santa María de La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places in Huelva

Date de soumission : 29/01/2016
Critères: (ii)(iii)(vi)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain
État, province ou région :
Andalusia, Huelva
Ref.: 6080

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Les noms des biens figurent dans la langue dans laquelle les États parties les ont soumis.


1. Monasterio de Santa María de La Rábida (Monastery of Santa María de la Rábida) 37º 12’ 27.36” N 6º 55’ 33.94” W

2. Monumento a los Descubridores o Columna IV Centenario (Monument to the Discoverers or 400th Anniversary Column) 37º 12’ 27.68” 6º 55’ 26.06 W

3. Iglesia de San Jorge. (St. George’s Church) 37º 13’ 50.29” N 6º 53’ 31.46” W

4. La Fontanilla 37º 13’ 52.98” N 6º 53’ 31.46” W

5. Casa de Martín Alonso Pinzón (Martín Alonso Pinzon’s House) 37º 13’ 44.86” N 6º 53’ 31.88” W

6. Puerto histórico de Palos (Palos Historical Port) 37º 13’ 57.35” N 6º 53’ 42.75” W

7. Monasterio de Santa Clara (St. Clare Monastery) 37º 16’ 32.83” N 6º 50’ 22.38” W

8. Convento de San Francisco (St. Francis Convent) 37º 16’ 34.74” N 6º 50’ 27.67” W

9. Casa Museo Zenobia y J.R. Jiménez (Zenobia and J. R. Jiménez Museum) 37º 16’ 36.52” N 6º 50’ 12.64” W

10. Puerto histórico de Moguer (Moguer Historical Port) 37º 16’ 55.58” N 6º 50’ 58.27” W

11. Santuario Ntra. Sra. de La Cinta (Our Lady of La Cinta Sanctuary) 37º 16’ 41” N 6º 56’ 40” W

12. Casa Colón3 37º 15’ 18.10” N 6º 56’ 47.36” W

13. Monumento a Colón (Columbus Monument) 37º 12’ 44.14” N 6º 56’ 25.30” W

14. Puerto histórico de San Juan (San Juan Historical Port) 37º 18’ 42.77” N 6º 50’ 29.59” W

The Monastery of Santa María de La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places constitute the most representative monuments of the Discovery of America, a crucial event for the history of humanity; at the same time, La Rábida sets itself as a symbol of the Americanist Movement, an intellectual and intercultural trend that vindicates itself as a solid way of maintaining cultural bonds with the peoples on the other side of the Atlantic.

From the point of view of its patrimonial interpretation, the monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places nominated are not isolated elements but they integrate a more extensive meaning, with deep historical connotations related to Columbus’ venture: the so called Columbus Memorial Places have special relevance in the preparation and attainment of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to America. This relevance is seen through the different spaces and monuments whose patrimonial value comes from the consideration of an event which happened in the past, and, besides, from the symbolism which they maintain presently. Thus, the Columbus Memorial Places form an area of deep symbolic value, and among these places the Monastery of La Rábida stands out as it is the property with the highest historical and symbolic meaning.

The Columbus Memorial Places are situated around the estuary of the rivers Tinto and Odiel before they flow into the Atlantic Ocean. As the interior estuary became full with sediments, the sea currents became weaker, and the sand started to settle in the shape of “bajos” or “bars” among the different islands which closed the estuary partially. These “bajos” or “bars” are known as tide deltas by geologists. It is precisely in the Columbus period when the growth of these bars towards the sea acquired greater importance determining the development of Huelva’s estuary and its role in history. These bars were known at the time as “Barra de Saltés” and they are cited in Columbus’ diary on his first sailing day. It is important to point out that the geographic situation of these bars influenced on Columbus and the Pinzón brothers’ decision to set sail on the day and the time which appear in Columbus’ diary.

Description of the component parts:
The Monastery of Santa María de La Rábida constitutes one of the finest examples of Gothic‐Mudejar architecture in the province of Huelva. Its architectural and artistic features are closely related to Franciscan spirituality. As it is distinctive in this type of architecture, the building is divided into two areas: the church and the convent. The convent is, in turn, organised around two cloisters: the Guest Quarters, re‐built in the 18th century after Lisbon earthquake in 1755, and the Mudejar, which is so called because of the architectural style in which it is built (15th century).

Since 1991, when the friars moved to a new building next to the Monastery, the Mudejar cloister has been home to some museum facilities related to Columbus’ history and Americanism. Nevertheless, the church is still devoted to Catholic religious cult, as a church sanctuary and as a parish for a small community (some two hundred people live in the surroundings of La Rábida). Among the different spaces in the convent, the following stand out: the Meeting Room, where Columbus met with the Franciscans and physicist Garci Fernández; the old Refectory; the Chapter Hall and Vázquez Díaz Hall, where one can find the frescoes which this artist from the village of Nerva painted in 1930 to commemorate the Discovery of America. In all these rooms and the rest, there are important properties, mainly paintings and sculptures, related to the Discovery of America. 

The Monastery takes up an area of 1,900 square metres and it is built in two floors. It has an irregular structure, typical of Medieval architecture, still keeping its former design.

The Monasterio de La Rábida y los Lugares Colombinos (the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places) are the properties nominated to be included on the World Heritage Tentative List as a series of cultural properties closely linked to one another through clearly defined bonds. In this particular case, the core of these bonds is constituted by Columbus’ first voyage to America, the main step which led to the Discovery, and, as a consequence of which, a process of interchange of cultural values between both continents began. The subsequent connection of the properties with the Americanist Movement and the appearance of Latin‐American identity make La Rábida be the symbol of the properties. Next, the significant aspects of the properties, their present purpose and the date of construction are summarised.


Name of the Columbus Memorial Places included in the serial property

Current use and date of construction

1. Palos de la


1.1 Monasterio de Santa María de La Rábida (Monastery of Santa María de la Rábida)

Religious use, Franciscan order and museum (14th‐15th centuries)

1.2 Monumento a los Descubridores o Columna IV Centenario (Monument to the Discoverers or 400th Anniversary Column)

Commemorative column (1892, 1948, 2013)

1.3 Iglesia de San Jorge (St. George’s Church

Gothic‐Mudejar church devoted to Catholic cult (mid‐15th century)

1.4 La Fontanilla

Old fountain (13th century)

1.5 Casa de Martín Alonso Pinzón (Martín Alonso Pinzon’s House)

Museum and cultural centre (house dates back to 15th‐18th centuries)

1.6 Puerto histórico de Palos (Palos Historical Port)

Archaeological remains in public space (Medieval remains)

2. Moguer

2.1 Monasterio de Santa Clara (St. Clare Monastery)

Former Franciscan‐Clare Monastery, Gothic‐Mudejar style. Today can be visited as one of the Columbus Memorial Places (14th‐17th centuries)

2.2 Convento de San Francisco (St. Francis Convent)

Former Franciscan Convent. Today it is a Historical Archive and cultural centre (late 15th century‐18th century)

2.3 Casa Museo de Zenobia y J.R. Jiménez (Zenobia and J. R. Jiménez Museum)

Museum (18th‐20th centuries)

2.4 Puerto histórico de Moguer (Moguer Historical Port)

Recreation area in public space (15th century)

3. Huelva

3.1 Santuario de Nuestra Señora de La Cinta (Our Lady of La Cinta Sanctuary)

Sanctuary devoted to Catholic cult (15th century)

3.2 Casa Colón3

Cultural and administrative use (1881‐1883)

3.3 Monumento a Colón (Columbus Monument)

Commemorative Monument and viewpoint (1929)

4. San Juan del


4.1 Puerto histórico de San Juan (San Juan Historical Port)

Public space (Medieval remains)

In the following chart there is a brief historic summary explaining the bonds of each of the properties with history.

Name of the Columbus Memorial Places included in the serial property

Historical Description: contribution to Columbus history

1.1 Monasterio de Santa María de La Rábida (Monastery of Santa María de la Rábida)

The help of two friars of this monastery, Fray Antonio de Marchena and Fray Juan Pérez, was essential for Columbus’ initiative.

After eight years of unsuccessful stay in Portugal, between 1484 and 1485, Columbus decided to propose his plans to the Spanish monarchs. Father de las Casas says: “he reached the village of Palos, where he might have known some local sailors, or maybe by chance, some Franciscan friars of the Monastery which is called Santa María de la Rábida…”

From 1485 to 1491 he explained his plans outside La Rábida.

In 1491 he came back the Monastery, where Fray Antonio de Marchena and Fray Juan Pérez convinced him to stay and insist in front of the court. This second stay was decisive for his initiative. The long talks with La Rábida friars, specially with Father Marchena, are then intensified and the visits to Palos and Moguer are usual. Some testimonies claim that Columbus was poor and that he lived on the friars’ help and accommodation. He lived like that until the last quarter of 1491 when, at last, the royal call arrived.
According to Father de las Casas, Columbus wrote a letter to the Monarchs from Isla Española in which he clearly admitted the Franciscan friars’ help, specially Father Marchena’s help: “Your Highnesses know that I have been bothering you with my plans for seven years but in all this time no pilot or sailor, no philosopher said that my plans could be false. I never got anybody’s help, except Fray Antonio de Marchena’s help. [...] The Catholic Monarchs owe the Discovery of the Indies to two poor friars.”

1.2 Monumento a los Descubridores o Columna IV Centenario (Monument to the Discoverers or 400th Anniversary Column)
Column built to commemorate the fourth centenary of the Discovery of America

1.3 Iglesia de San Jorge (St. George’s Church)
It was in the square outside this church where, in May 1492, after gathering all the residents “to the tolling of the bells” the Real Pragmática was read. This Pragmática ordered some residents to give Christopher Columbus two caravels and the sailors of the village were asked to enrol. The square and the church witnessed all the important events related to the preparation of the expedition. In this church all the local sailors who travelled with Christopher Columbus on his first voyage were administered the sacraments. From la Puerta de los Novios (the Bridegroom’s Door) of St. George’s Church the sailors could reach the historical port from where the expedition left. Next to this port was La Fontanilla.

1.4 La Fontanilla
Next to St. George’s Church was La Fontanilla. This was a public drinking fountain which, according to legend, provided the ships Santa Maria, Pinta and Niña with water when on 3rd August 1492 they set sail from Palos port, captained by Christopher Columbus and the Pinzón brothers, on their way to the Indies.

1.5 Casa de Martín Alonso Pinzón (Martín Alonso Pinzon’s House)
Situated on the Royal Road which passed through the village of Palos and which finished at La Rábida, the house was built in mid‐15th century. It has great historical value as it is the house where the Pinzón brothers were born. The Pinzón brothers’ intervention, led by Martín Alonso, was prominent when the preparations for Columbus expedition started and most of the sailors refused to participate in such a reckless venture.

1.6 Puerto histórico de Palos (Palos Historical Port)
The port was the meeting point for sailors from different origins who formed a “maritime culture.”

2.1 Monasterio de Santa Clara (St. Clare Monastery)
Abbess Inés Enríquez, who was King Ferdinand’s relative, played an important role. She was a member of the powerful and influential Enríquez lineage (Castile admirals), which is linked to Moguer Estate. We know that she had an epistolary relation with Christopher Columbus and that is why she is included in the Columbian circle together with other people from Moguer who also played a decisive role in the preparation of the voyage.
Columbus, after his return in the Niña with the Moguer ship’s crew, went to the church in the Monastery to keep a promise to have a mass and watch the whole night on 16th March 1493, a date which is known as “Columbus Vow”. The vow was taken by the crew of the caravel Niña, where Columbus and the Niño brothers were returning, when on 14th February a severe storm took them by surprise near the Azores threatening to capsize the caravel and putting the lives of the crew at risk.

2.2 Convento de San Francisco (St. Francis Convent)
This renowned Franciscan Convent offered churchmen to America. The connection with America made progress after the Discovery with Columbus’ visits seeking help for his voyage. These visits coincided with the Franciscans moving from the Corpus Christi Convent to a new building constructed with the help of Pedro Portocarrero, whom the Admiral might have thought highly of as he belonged to a prestigious lineage and was near the Monarchs.

2.3 Casa Museo de Zenobia y J.R. Jiménez (Zenobia and J. R. Jiménez Museum)
The museum, situated at 10 new street, is the place where the poet lived with his family until he ruined and his patrimony was confiscated. The museum is home to the poet’s books and belongings. His continuous trips from Moguer to America and from America to Moguer represent a perception which is shared, during and after his exile, by some generations of writers and readers in America and which culminates the Americanist tradition which started with the Discovery.

2.4 Puerto histórico de Moguer (Moguer Historical Port)
Situated on the left bank on the river Tinto, it played an important role at the time of the Discovery. Next to the port was the shipyard of the village. In 1488 the caravel baptized as La Niña, owned by the Niño brothers, was built there. The Niño brothers were sailors and shipowners and competed in fame and prestige with the Pinzón brothers from Palos. The facilities reached great splendour in 1489 when the Catholic Monarchs granted their favour to all the ships which came from Europe, the Canary Islands and Africa. The confluence of interests between Moguer and the neighbouring Palos made Columbus’ discovery voyage be a shared venture.

3.1 Santuario de Nuestra Señora de La Cinta (Our Lady of La Cinta Sanctuary)
A 15th century Gothic‐Mudejar building, where the image of Huelva’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Cinta, is worshipped and from where one can have wonderful views of the river Odiel and its marshes before its estuary. The great devotion which the sailors of the area had to the Virgin explains why Christopher Columbus visited the place after his first voyage to thank the Virgin for saving the caravel Niña from a storm.

3.2 Casa Colón
Built in late 1881 as a hotel to accommodate the managers of the mining companies and the visitors who would come to Huelva on the occasion of the celebrations of the fourth centenary of the Discovery of America in 1892.

3.4 Monumento a Colón (Columbus Monument)
Located in a strategic place, the confluence of the rivers Tinto and Odiel (la Punta del Sebo), and financed by the USA, it is a work by American sculptor G. V. Whitney. She conceived it not as a realistic image of Christopher Columbus, but as a plastic representation of the “Discovery Faith” symbolising the spirit of Western civilization projected to the New World.

4.1 Puerto histórico de San Juan (San Juan Historical Port)
Briolanja (or Violante) Muñiz, Christopher Columbus’ sister‐in‐law and Diego Columbus’ aunt (second admiral of the Indies after his father’s death), rented a property from the Duke of Medinasidonia in San Juan del Puerto, which proves the link of Columbus’ in‐laws with the process of repopulation which the Dukes of Medinasidonia encouraged. The intense emotional relationship between Christopher Columbus, his son Diego and his Portuguese sister in law was one of the reasons of the arrival of the discoverer in the area in 1485 after his unsuccessful negotiations with the king of Portugal.

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

The Franciscan Monastery of La Rábida is the most significant monument in the preparation of Columbus’ first expedition to America in 1492, a crucial event in the history of humanity, which indicates the transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age in the Iberian Peninsula. Apart from its historical significance, to which the Columbus Memorial Places also contribute, La Rábida witnesses the beginning of a long process of cultural interchange and syncretism which will cause a Latin American cultural identity, which has been fully in force for centuries. La Rábida is also a symbol of Americanism, a cultural movement in favour of that new identity.

The monastery is situated in the municipality of Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), a village which is known as “Cradle of the Discovery of America”, as on 3rd August 1492 the caravels La Pinta and La Niña and the ship Santa Maria set sail from its port captained at the command of Admiral Christopher Columbus and the Pinzón brothers from Palos. It was in this modest monastery, located on a hill over the mouth of the rivers Tinto and Odiel, where Christopher Columbus received the support of the friars to achieve his venture.

In 1485, Columbus started seven years of obstinate defence of his project in Castile and his arrival at the Monastery of La Rábida was crucial. The monastery was founded in 1412, built in Gothic‐Mudejar style, and the name comes from the Almohad ruins of a small “morabito” or “Rábita” which existed in that place. In the monastery, Columbus contacted Fray Antonio de Marchena, who was his protector, listened to the future discoverer, understood his project, valued the proselytizing action that it could convey and supported him in front of the Catholic Monarchs. Also, Fray Juan Pérez’s help was of great importance as he connected Columbus with the sailors from Palos. In La Rábida, Columbus found attention, help and support in front of the court to get the Monarchs’ approval. As Father de las Casas remembers: Columbus went to Palos as there were good sailors, as he knew some of them and they were friends and, above all, because of the support of the guard of the Franciscan convent, fray Juan Pérez, who practised his religious activity in Palos. Also, it is said that Columbus went to Palos as there was a punishment imposed on the municipality and they should have two caravels at the Monarchs’ disposal.

The existence of excellent oarsmen, sailors and ship operators on the coast of Huelva was essential in achieving Columbus’ venture. The towns around La Rábida, presently known as Columbus Memorial Places (Palos, Huelva, Moguer), as American traveller and writer Washington Irving named them in 1828, constituted in late 15th century the door to the Ocean. This is the perfect context for the Discovery venture as this complex estuary, with an intricate net of canals, explains the development of sailing and the existence of experienced sailors. A naval tradition which made the region and its people be in the best aptitude to face the venture.

Columbus’ connection with Martín Alonso Pinzón, Pedro Alonso Niño and Pedro Vázquez de la Frontera was crucial to recruit sailors in Palos and Moguer. Columbus’ connections were the representatives of the seamen in Palos, primarily the Pinzón brothers, who were collaborators in the Discovery and the protagonists in other discoveries; the Niño brothers, from Moguer, also played an important role as most of the crew of the first voyage were from the basin of the rivers Tinto and Odiel.

The Monastery of La Rábida also represents the place where the first expedition which leads the Age of the Great Discoveries began. After the first voyage, which began in Palos, the establishment of a new two‐way route across the Atlantic boosted the expansion of European civilization in the American continent; at the same time, the news of Columbus’ discovery made an impact on Renaissance Europe. Not for nothing, humanist Johannes Stradanus would state in 1580 that of all the nine facts that had revolutionized the Renaissance, Columbus’ venture had been the most important. Christopher Columbus’ handwritten letter announcing the success of his voyage was published in April 1493 and it became one of the first best sellers in Europe, with eleven editions that same year and six more editions between 1494 and 1497.

The Discovery has exceptional importance, but the consequences it brought with it are also important. After Columbus, America constituted the stage of a vast process of mutual adaptation, cultural miscegenation and learning for more than four centuries, which affected Americans and Europeans equally; a process of interchange and cultural syncretism from which a deep and solid cultural identity emerged.

La Rábida, after Columbus’ expedition in 1492, sets itself up as an emblematic place; the place where the cultural expansion originated and began, which produced a new community in the American territories –with the contribution of pre‐Hispanic, European and African people‐ in a process of great magnitude and without any historical precedent. A place which is, still at present, a symbol of the survival of a cultural tradition and of Latin American identity. All these aspects confer La Rábida a unique and exceptional singularity.

Americanism is a trend of thought, which appeared in the 19th century, aimed at encouraging and disseminating the special nature of the connections between Spain and Latin America with the intention of promoting and maintaining a Latin American cultural community, an identity shared between Spain and Latin America for more than 400 years which reflects the same language, religion and institutions; in short, a common culture and a sense of brotherhood above political ideas and historic vicissitudes.

The importance of the Monastery of La Rábida in both the national and the world’s scene does not intend to contribute with newness or originality at architectural or artistic level as its justification is guaranteed by the fact that it represents an event, the Discovery of the New World. This event was crucial for the history of humanity because of the consequences which derived from it and the monastery was witness to one of the great maritime discoveries that laid the foundations of the modern world.

Criterion (ii): After the Discovery, the Monastery of Santa María de la Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places bear witness to the origin and beginning of a process of interchange of human values between Europe and America in the 16th‐ 19th centuries. A significant process in town‐planning,
architecture and monumental arts which presents itself from the Middle Ages until now. 

This process began with the settlement of Fort Christmas on La Española island; this fort was built with the remains of Nao Santa María, one of the discoverer ships. Since then, an inaugural and colonial stage, which culminated in late 18th century and early 19th century, developed. An uninterrupted process of cultural interchange which spans over more than three centuries and which has been described as one of the most important and intense in history.

As a consequence of this process, the foundation of towns, urban models, the building of convents, cathedrals, public buildings o residential architecture constitute a unique patrimonial heritage, recognised by UNESCO in numerous inscriptions on the World Heritage List. This heritage includes examples from the colonial period, thus, admitting the importance of the process of indigenous and European cultural integration which took place during the centuries of Spanish and Portuguese domination.

The founding of cities and the transplantation of urban models, together with the building of convents, cathedrals, churches and public buildings constitute a unique patrimonial heritage recognised by UNESCO. The architectural and urban heritage in Latin America, which receives a special recognition by the World Heritage Convention, includes examples from the colonial period when different countries were united in the organization of the Spanish Empire under some viceroyalties, thus admitting the importance of this process of indigenous and European cultural integration which took place during the three centuries of Spanish and Portuguese domination.

Thus, Latin America participates in the Spanish urban tradition, although globally this is the result of different legacies which related to its subsequent cultural identity. In the transfer of Spanish models, one can find a set of formulae which permits direct establishment as well as experimentation and fusion with indigenous formulae, creating a plural reality.

Criterion (iii): The Monastery of La Rábida holds the symbolic representation of Americanism as an intellectual trend and of the global Hispanic American community, proving a living cultural tradition and a centuries‐old agreement.

Americanism arose in the 19th century from the belief in a Spanish cultural continuation in America; a movement destined to encourage and spread the special character of the relations between Spain and Latin America, with the intention of, among others, promoting the formation of a Hispanic American cultural community, a trasnational community based on the language, religion, habits and customs and common history.

A landmark in Hispanic American culture, La Rábida has become one of the most stable symbols of Americanism. It is the iconic seat of one the pioneering associations of Americanism in Spain –the Columbian Society of Huelva founded in 1880‐ and it is the heart of a whole series of events and Americanist institutions such as the commemoration of the fourth and the fifth centenaries of the Discovery; the Plus Ultra flight –the first transoceanic
flight between Spain and Latin America in 1926; Santa María de la Rábida University; or Huelva Latin American Film Festival which has taken place continuously since 1994. All these events and institutions have made Hispanic American knowledge and feeling their reason of existing to form a culture of reasons from the scientific, academic and cultural fields.

The creation near the convent of La Rábida of a stable university institution –Universidad Hispanoamericana de La Rábida, founded in 1949 and integrated into Universidad Internacional de Andalucía since 1994‐ represents a tradition around America which is expressed not only in its Foundation Act, but in a series of courses which focus on the study of the continent.

The influence of La Rábida and Columbus’ memory on the traditions is also noticeable in the coincidence of many celebrations of the Columbus places par excellence –Huelva, Palos de la Frontera and Moguer‐ with the main events of Columbus’ voyage or the commemoration of the Plus Ultra flight.

A tradition around America which is expressed in programs focused on the study of the continent. Thus, La Rábida was designated the place for the meeting of the Ibero‐American Community of Nations during the 9th Summit of the Organization of Latin American Countries held in Havana on 16th November 1999.

Criterion (vi): La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places are directly associated with a historical event of universal significance: Columbus’ first voyage which culminated with the Discovery of America. The initial violent disagreement of two worlds –America and Europe‐ which takes place after the Discovery, will give way to a deep process of material, religious, ethnic and cultural syncretism which has generated a global Hispanic American community which has its roots in Columbus’ venture and La Rábida is its distinguishing mark.

The constitution of this transnational and syncretic community has universal significance as this community is formed from the contribution of three different civilizations –pre‐Hispanic, European and African‐ with specific nature each of them, and with diversity as one of its distinguishing marks. 

All this lets us conclude that the existence of a common awareness, of belonging, beyond language and nationality to the same community. There are some properties on the World Heritage List directly or indirectly related to Christopher Columbus’ voyage in 1492, thus the presence of La Rábida Monastery should be unavoidable.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité


The Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of World Heritage Convention establish in their paragraph 79 that properties proposed in accordance with criteria (i) to (vi) must meet the authenticity conditions, according to the criteria which are specified in paragraphs 80 to 86 of the Guidelines and in the Nara document. Applying these criteria to the proposal of the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial places, the following conditions of authenticity will be analysed: material authenticity regarding form and design, materials and substance, use and function, traditions and techniques, or location and setting. We can say that authenticity based on scientific and historical rigour of the information sources which support the events and the cultural processes which express the exceptional universal value of each of the properties in the series has prevailed.


Examining the conditions of integrity requires assessing the extent to which the property:

a) Includes all elements necessary to express its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).

b) Is of adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes which convey the property’s significance.

c) Suffers from adverse effects of development and/or neglect.

The properties which are part of the series have material integrity up to different levels. We highlight the monuments and historical buildings, of which all show a high level of material integrity, unlike the historical ports. There are archaeological remains of different kinds of each of the ports (especially Palos’). An archaeological research campaign related to Moguer historical port is still pending. In addition, a reinterpretation of San Juan historical port is possible. In conclusion, it is necessary to evaluate all of them in order to determine to which extent they were related to the Discovery.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

The methodological approach for this comparative analysis is based on the study The World Heritage List. Filling the gaps, an action plan for the future, elaborated by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and published in 2005. This document was conceived as a contribution to the development of the strategy to achieve a “representative, balanced, and credible” World Heritage List. Regarding the operational aspects, it proposes the use of three frameworks of reference for the identification of voids of representation in the World Heritage List: typological, chronological regional and thematic frameworks.

Since the nomination consists of a serial property formed by 14 elements with varied typologies, the analysis would force us to study the properties (either individual or serial) which could have represented in the WHL the OUV of this nomination. Specifically, in this case, the OUV related to criteria (ii), (iii) and (iv), as the place where an exceptional event for the History of Humanity arose, and the consequences and cultural processes generated by this event: Americanism as an intellectual movement and the appearance of the Iberoamerican identity.

Regarding the inclusion of the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places in the frameworks proposed by ICOMOS, the following conclusions may be reached: 
In relation to the typological framework and from the comparison of the Monastery of La Rábida with other religious properties –specifically, Christian monasteries‐ it is possible to say that there is no property –religious building or monastery‐ which can prove the discovery of America as a significant historic event. In this sense, only the Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville is the property cited as the place where Christopher Columbus is buried; or the Monastery of Guadalupe as the symbol of the Hispanic World, but none of these places can represent the physical site like La Rábida, the geographic origin of Columbus’ first voyage to America, the symbolic origin of the process of cultural interchange and miscegenation or the origin of the creation, after centuries of coexistence, of a Latin American global community.

Regarding the chronological‐regional framework, in view of the numerous properties inscribed on the WHL and on the Tentative List corresponding to the significant periods for the argument of L a Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places –the Colonial Period‐ it can be concluded that all these inscriptions reinforce the importance of La Rábida as the origin of a historic event of great significance in the development and creation of American cultural heritage.

Regarding the link of the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places with the spread of European culture, the comparison can be done with the Royal Monastery of Santa María of Guadalupe. The virgin of Guadalupe is a powerful symbol of Christianization in Latin America and, with the passing of time it became an essential element in Mexican identity. Likewise, the Earliest 16th‐century Monasteries on the slopes of Popocapetl (Mexico), fourteen monasteries from different religious orders (Franciscan, Dominican and Augustinian) were decisive in the creation of a new American society which reflects its syncretic character from the beginning through the adoption of architectural models. Finally, Convent of Christ in Tomar (Portugal) became an example of the contact with other civilizations and the Monastery of the Hieronymites, at the entrance to Lisbon harbour, is the spearhead of the Portuguese ships that broadened the world.

On WHL there are numerous monasteries and religious properties corresponding to the colonial period: in Mexico, the Earliest 16th‐century Monasteries on the slopes of Popocapetl or the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda of Querétaro; in Brazil, Sao Francisco Square in the Town of Sao Cristovao (a Franciscan complex which is an example of the typical architecture of the religious order developed in north‐eastern Brazil); in Bolivia, the Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos; in Paraguay, the Jesuit Missions of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná; in Chile, the Churches of Chiloé, which represent a unique example of religious architecture in Latin America and a tradition initiated by the Jesuit Peripatetic Mission in the 17th and 18th centuries; and finally, in Argentina, Jesuit Block and estancias of Córdoba.

Also, some properties on the Tentative List of States Parties can be mentioned as examples of the same process: in the USA, the Franciscan Missions of San Antonio; in Guatemala, the Route of the Franciscan Evangelisation, the Route of the Dominique Evangelisation and the Route of the Peace and National Identity; in Colombia, the Catholic Doctrine Temples; in Chile, the Churches of the Altiplano and San Francisco Church and Convent; in Brazil, San Bento Church and Monastery in Rio de Janeiro.

Lastly, from the analysis of the chronological‐regional framework, we cannot forget the bulky list of non religious cultural properties –colonial cities and fortifications above all‐ on the WHL or on the Tentative List that contain a reference to the Spanish foundation or colonization, which confirms the importance given by the countries in emphasising the heritage and the cultural interchange after the Discovery Regarding the thematic framework, most of the properties belong to chapter II, “Expressions of creativity and continuity, monuments, ensembles and sites”, being the number of architectural properties, religious, commemorative or other typologies remarkable. The influence of some of these monuments on the cultural field, for a period of time or throughout a long period of time, cannot be forgotten. Finally, some of the properties have an emblematic weight in the societies where they are situated.

But the thematic significance of the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places goes beyond their religious character as they stand out in other aspects related to ICOMOS section I: “Interacting in society”, language and cultural associations. After a deep comparative analysis with other properties, the inscription of the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places on the WHL would constitute an important contribution for it significance as a symbol of cultural confluence and origin –physical and geographic site‐ of a historic process, which can be considered the root of a transnational feeling of collective identity.

The contributions of the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places to the World Heritage List. In favour of the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places we should point out that their representation, both in the national and the world scene, does not attempt to contribute with newness or originality in the architectural or artistic fields as their justification is supported by the fact that they represent an event –the Discovery of the New World‐ which is exceptional for the history of humanity because of the consequences derived from it. We cannot forget that La Rábida and the surroundings of the Columbus Places constitute a site, a geographic space, a privileged witness to the departure of the first discoverer voyage. A stage that, with the passing of time, has united around the monastery the symbolic representation of Americanism as an intellectual movement and has become a symbol of a global Latin American community.

We can conclude that, although some properties keep testimonial or symbolic relation with the Discovery, there is no property which is an exceptional witness, the site of the origin, related to the great maritime discoveries that laid the foundations of the modern world as the Tower of Belém in Lisbon refers textually in its justification as a symbolic monument.

In short, within the diversity of historic and/or cultural events, we can observe how physical sites that were the stage or are associated to the memory of historic events for Humanity are not represented on the WHL, which constitutes a gap. Therefore, with the objective of reaching a balance in the different cultural manifestations, the nomination of the Monastery of La Rábida and the Columbus Memorial Places (a serial property with outstanding historic and symbolic value) seems consistent with the strategy of UNESCO to fill in the gaps of heritage not represented sufficiently.