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Heritage Education Programme in Puebla (Mexico)

The local government of Puebla, Mexico, has developed a comprehensive Heritage Education Programme to raise awareness about the city’s cultural heritage and aid its conservation. The programme includes educational events, specialised and general public publications, and online and social media communication campaigns.

About the city of Puebla

Puebla is a large city in east-central Mexico. The Historic Centre of Puebla was inscribed in the World Heritage list in 1987 under criteria (ii) and (iv)].

Puebla, which was founded ex nihilo in 1531, is situated about 100 km east of Mexico City, at the foot of the Popocatepetl volcano. It has preserved its great religious structures such as the 16th–17th-century cathedral and fine buildings like the old archbishop's palace, as well as a host of houses with walls covered in tiles (azulejos). The new aesthetic concepts resulting from the fusion of European and American styles were adopted locally and are peculiar to the Baroque district of Puebla.

© Gerencia del Centro Historico y Patrimonio Cultural de Puebla

Eleven State of Conservation Reports about the Historic Centre of Puebla have been presented to the World Heritage Committee since 1993 and 2018. The 2018 State of Conservation Report  referred to the construction of a cable car, the adoption of the Partial Programme for the Sustainable Development of the Historical Centre of Puebla and its corresponding Management Plan, and the effects of the 2017 earthquake. The Committee recognised that progress was being made and requested further updates regarding the implementation of the management plan and the reconstruction efforts after the 2017 earthquake.

Heritage Education Programme

The Puebla’s Historic Centre and Cultural Heritage Management Office is in charge of the maintenance and conservation of the heritage of the city. This includes both the World Heritage site and other heritage sites and buildings of local relevance. Besides carrying out conservation actions such as stabilisation and maintenance projects, the Management Office has developed an extensive heritage education programme to raise awareness about Puebla’s heritage and improve its conservation.

The Heritage Education Programme includes several actions, such as:

  1. Culture and heritage magazine “ Cuetlaxcoapan. Enfoque al patrimonio”. The publication provides access to specialised articles for academics, professionals and the general public. The magazine is free and available online.
  2. Educational events. Community workshops related to heritage are offered free of charge to local communities in public spaces of the traditional neighbourhoods of the historic centre. At the same time, the Management Office organises lectures to bring together professionals and residents.
  3. Communication campaigns through social media and website. They have created dedicated pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  4. Publication of specialised manuals. The Management Office is in charge of managing both the World Heritage site and local heritage places. To ensure the proper conservation of local heritage places, the office has published specialised manuals for conservation. The publications include a guide for preventive conservation of religious sites, named "Patrimonio edificado de uso religioso en las Juntas Auxiliares del municipio de Puebla. Guía de conservación preventiva". The publication aims to provide training and references on appropriate conservation measures for those responsible for the conservation of local heritage sites.
  5. Virtual Museum Night. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cultural sites and museums in the city of Puebla had to close temporarily. In response, the municipality organised a virtual Museum Night that allowed residents to explore their museums from the safety of their homes.

In developing the Heritage Education Programme, the Management Office aims to increase the connection with the community and strengthen ties with the different actors involved in heritage conservation.

Source: María Graciela León Matamoros, Manager of the Historic Centre and Cultural Heritage Management Office, Ayuntamiento del Municipio de Puebla, 2020

Contribution towards the implementation of the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape

The project could contribute to the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape approach by increasing the community’s awareness about the city’s cultural heritage of universal and local value and developing engagement programmes that connect the citizens and their cultural heritage. 

Historic Urban Landscape Tools

Civic engagement tools Knowledge and Planning tools

Contribution towards Sustainable Development

If fully implemented in accordance with the described plans, the initiative could contribute towards Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

  • Target 4.4: the initiative aims to improve technical and vocational skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
  • Target 4.7: The initiative aims to improve access to the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including appreciation of cultural diversity and cultural heritage.

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

  • Target 11.4: the initiative aims to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Note: the described potential impacts of the projects are only indicative and based on submitted and available information. UNESCO does not endorse the specific initiatives nor ratifies their positive impact.

To learn more
  • Visit the website of the Management Office (in Spanish).
  • Watch the video presentation of the Museum Night (in Spanish).
  • Check out other projects by the Puebla Management Office (in Spanish).

Gerencia del Centro Historico y Patrimonio Cultural de Puebla (Puebla’s Historic Centre and Cultural Heritage Management Office) 

Image credits
All videos and photographs: © Gerencia del Centro Historico y Patrimonio Cultural de Puebla

Note: The cases shared in this platform address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Items being showcased in this website do not entail any type of recognition or inclusion in the World Heritage list or any of its thematic programmes. The practices shared are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The views expressed by experts and site managers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Heritage Centre. The practices and views shared here are included as a way to provide insights and expand the dialogue on heritage conservation with a view to further urban heritage management practice in general.