The Béjar Forest has just been recognized as a European Historical Garden and in this way it is incorporated into a Route where its sustainable development is promoted, fostering sensitivity towards natural heritage through cultural tourist visits and educational projects. The institutions that participate in the Route defend democratic values, respect for human rights and access to culture, values promoted by the Council of Europe.
In Spain there are 14 Gardens included in the Route and as of today there are 15 with the addition of the Historic Garden of El Bosque de Béjar, a suburban villa of Renaissance origin, created in 1567 by the Duke of Béjar. It is one of the few examples of a historic garden preserved in Castilla y León.
It was declared in 1946 as an Artistic Garden and in 1982 as an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC), with the category of Historical Garden, of the Spanish Historical Heritage. The regional and local administrations share the ownership of El Bosque de Béjar, with 66% of its property corresponding to the Béjar City Council and 33% to the Castilla y León Government.
Since 2001, when a series of preliminary studies were carried out and the Master Plan was drawn up, different actions have been designed and implemented, most of them financed by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports, which has invested more than of 3.7 million euros.
Reconnaissance to the historical garden of Béjar Jcyl
For its part, the Béjar City Council has carried out the maintenance and different adaptation works, archaeological documentation and organization of the public visit. In 2019, the ‘Jarcultur’ project was launched, a cooperation between Spain and Portugal, which includes various actions to protect and recover elements of the historic gardens of El Bosque de Béjar and Mata de Bussaco, and which has a total budget of 1,750,726 euros.
The European Route of Historic Gardens (ERHG) is a non-profit association founded in 2016, made up of European historic gardens and institutions that share the common interest of protecting and promoting the heritage of historic gardens.
It was certified as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in October 2020, a recognition that values its historical, artistic, social and natural heritage. This association’s mission is to promote and raise awareness of historic gardens –as defined by the International Committee for Historic Gardens ICOMOS-IFLA in the Florence Charter of 1981–, generating a quality cultural and tourist offer that contributes to sustainable development. of the territories where the historical gardens are located. The Junta de Castilla y León is part of this association from today.
The incorporation of El Bosque de Béjar to the European Route of Historic Gardens represents a strong international recognition of the conservation, recovery and dissemination work that has been carried out in this important garden for several years, with the collaboration of the titular administrations and the participation and guidance of technical experts in the field, under the intervention criteria that are most respectful of cultural heritage.
The new call for INTERREG projects will be used to present a new collaborative project, called ‘Jarcultur plus’, which will make it possible to advance in the management of El Bosque de Béjar, in its protection and in the permanent improvement of its facilities.
The objective that this new project will propose will be, in addition to maintaining its cultural use and its accessibility to the public, to carry out an approach of uses that favor the conservation of the garden and, at the same time, allow a long-term management of the asset that generates social development. economic, that is, to ensure the sustainability of El Bosque de Béjar.
Combining the will of the owners, it is about creating a management figure with technical and economic capacity, with the premise of contributing to the enrichment of cultural heritage through its management, protection, improvement, maintenance and dissemination, making responsible participation possible. in obtaining social, cultural and economic benefits, which also manages to integrate cultural heritage into the economic and social fabric of Béjar and revert the wealth generated both in the conservation and dissemination of cultural heritage, as well as in the direct and indirect creation of employment.