The Serra de Tramuntana was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in the Cultural Landscape category on 29 June 2011. It is the international community's recognition of the almost perfect symbiosis between the action of man and nature, carried out over centuries, which has resulted in a monumental human work in which culture, traditions, aesthetics, spirituality and identity blend together.
The cultural landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana is the result of the exchange of knowledge between cultures, with small works done collectively for productive purposes, conditioned by the limitations imposed by the physical environment. Limitations overcome with wisdom and the intelligent use of resources, without destroying nature. It is also the recreation of a territory through the collective imagination and the works of artists who have found inspiration.
According to the European Landscape Convention, a Cultural Landscape shall be understood as any part of the territory as perceived by the population, and its character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and human factors. This suggests that it is not only a question of maintaining the territory of the Serra as it is today. It is also about improving human intervention and promoting it with sustainable activities in accordance with objectives.
In order to accredit the outstanding universal value of a World Heritage candidate, at least 1 of the 10 criteria established by Unesco must be justified. The Serra de Tramuntana declaration is governed by 3 of these criteria:
- CRITERION II - The exchange of human values over a period of time.
The Serra de Tramuntana landscape is an example of the exchange between Muslim and Christian culture visible in the combination of Arab water management and territorial control introduced by the Christian conquerors from the 13th century AD onwards.
Through this cultural interaction, a terraced agricultural landscape was created, characterised by an articulated network of water supply, fruit trees, orchards and olive groves, organised initially into small farms and later into large estates, known as possessions.
- CRITERION IV - Landscape illustrating a significant stage in human history.
The landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana is an example of an agricultural landscape of terraces supported by dry stone walls that allow cultivation on terraces, combined with an interconnected and highly specialised system of hydraulic works for the collection and storage of water by means of canals, ditches and reservoirs.
- CRITERION V - Use of the sea or land, representative of a culture or of human interaction with the environment.
The landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana is an example of a settlement that testifies to human adaptation to difficult environmental conditions, and which ingeniously manages to convert a region scarce in resources into an area suitable for agriculture and life. The feudal system of land subdivision, applied to the extreme orographic conditions, and combined with sophisticated water supply technology, has resulted in complex cultivation units that ensure the full exploitation of resources over time.
Unesco draws up the World Heritage List with the aim of ensuring the identification and preservation of cultural elements from all over the world that deserve, due to their universal and exceptional value, to be protected from degradation or partial or total disappearance.
Inclusion on this list implies their cataloguing, as well as a commitment to their conservation and dissemination, since it is considered that the loss of this heritage would constitute an impoverishment of the heritage of all humanity.
In order to achieve this objective, the Consell de Mallorca is developing a management plan that integrates all the actions that have an impact on the Serra de Tramuntana, with the aim of adapting and coordinating them to enable the conservation and protection of World Heritage.
The 3 transversal axes of the management plan are: sustainability, respect for local identity and cultural diversity, and the development of the local economy. The actions developed in this plan are structured in 5 programmes:
- Communication and participation, to involve society as a whole in decision-making and in the protection and conservation of the Serra.
- Economic development, to promote changes and improvements in farming systems and support alternative activities that provide resources in the area.
- Dissemination, through educational, training and research actions to disseminate the values of the Serra.
- Heritage, with direct rehabilitation and conservation actions or with complementary actions such as inventories and mapping to improve knowledge of heritage elements.
- Visitor management, in order to organise, regulate and contain the impact of visitors.