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Promotion of architectural heritage as a cultural and tourist bet

The architectural heritage has an undeniable link to the culture of its locality and with adequate attention it can become a great ally in tourism. All coastal cities share the tireless struggle to surpass seasonal tourism to favor the attraction of alternative, responsible and environmentally friendly tourism, which goes beyond sun and beach holidays, and which seeks the generation of new experiences from the enjoyment and knowledge of the culture, history, art, traditions and architecture of the places to which they travel.

But to value the heritage you have to act and, above all, invest. In this, -according to the latest actions carried out and projected-, the City Council is immersed from Benalmádena that has put on the table an interesting bet to diversify the current cultural offer that the city can already boast of, which, as shown by hotel occupancy data, this summer has far surpassed other Spanish tourist destinations.

Among the actions in the field of archaeological conservation and projection are the works of  construction of the archaeological interpretation center of Los Molinillos, located on Antonio Machado avenue in Benalmádena Costa, whose works are 60 percent completed.

Cedida por Ayto. Benalmádena

According to information from municipal sources, “the interior will host a visual journey through the history of Benalmádena, from the Roman period to the present, and will not only house a succession of information panels, such as a typical interpretation center, but will also have content audiovisuals, and the visitor will be able to know the development and growth of one of the most important tourist cities in southern Europe ”.

Cedida por Ayto. Benalmádena.

The works of this heritage interpretation center could culminate in the middle of this month of October. It should be noted that the archaeological site from the Roman era will be open to visitors and will have a space for the Roman mosaics recovered by the City Council and which are currently not exposed to the public.

Cedida por Ayto. Benalmádena.

Paper mills

A few weeks ago, the restoration works of the Finale Ligure aqueduct were inaugurated in Ciudad de Melilla street, a historical vestige of the industrial Benalmádena of the 18th century.

With a municipal investment of around 300,000 euros, in addition to promoting the rescue of this milestone in the history of Arroyo de la Miel, an open plaza has been created to serve as a meeting point for residents of the area. At the same time, the drafting of the project has also been awarded to enable the interior of the La Tribuna building as an interpretation center or tourist information point. The award of the latter will entail an investment of 29,390 euros plus VAT, and a completion period of 56 days is foreseen.

Cedida por Ayto. Benalmádena.

Both are survivors of the first industrial activity that Arroyo de la Miel hosted, around which the growth of the settlement took place, which ended up giving rise to the city. In 1784, the Genoese Félix Solecio bought the Arroyo de la Miel farmhouse with the intention of building six paper factories to supply the Royal Macharaviaya Playing Card Factory. The aqueduct of Melilla street, -called Finale Ligure in honor of the Italian city where Solecio was born and popularly known as La Tajea-, supplied water to the fuller in the 18th century, for the production of the paper pulp with which the decks of playing cards were made.  

Deck of Fine Playing Cards from Revesino printed by Félix Solecio in 1792, which is kept in the custody of the Local Fund of the Arroyo de la Miel Public Library. Image of the February Document of the Library.

La Tajeawas thus part of the ingenuity of one of those 18th century mills. It was the channel through which the water circulated to fall in a high jump and produce a superior force that would move other gears of the fulling mill. The paper manufactured in the six mills of the city was carried almost in its entirety to American lands.

Few vestiges remain of such an important and productive industrial complex from the Siglo de Las Luces and La Tajeais one of them. With its bows it tells us about a rich and industrious Benalmádena, guarantor of a matter, -the paper-, which was used not only in the Royal Macharaviaya Playing Card Factory but also by the notaries or notaries of the time, as can be seen in the documents and protocols of the Provincial Historical Archive of Malaga, where the watermark of Félix Solesio can be seen.

Cedida por Ayto. Benalmádena.

La Tajeais part of the history of this municipality, it is part of the history of the Spanish eighteenth century, when the renovating current of the Enlightenment sought to remove Spain from its secular backwardness and create new wealth. Arroyo de la Miel, under the direction of Félix Solesio, contributed to promoting this splendor with the creation of an industrial complex unparalleled in the entire province of Málaga.

Of these fulling mills and of the haciendas that were built in their vicinity there is still a small embers called by the population as La Fabriquilla, a property that is located on Las Palmeras avenue. Other vestiges of the farmhouses located in the fulling mills and paper factories are located in the Plaza de España in Arroyo de la Miel, where there is still an arch and other remains at the height of the building La Tribuna, the latter being an improvement and adaptation project to be converted into a tourist information point.

This property, considered the oldest in Arroyo de la Miel, was remodeled years ago, when Enrique Bolín ruled, who intended to give it a museum use, although the project did not finish curdling.

According to statements by the mayor, Víctor Navas, “this milestone will be part of a route dedicated to the figure of Félix Solesio, founder of Arroyo de la Miel, also made up of the recently inaugurated new plaza de Finale Ligure, and with which we want to explain part of the history of the municipality, highlighting the attractive elements that made possible the industrialization of Arroyo de la Miel in the 18th century ”.

Technical assistance

Within the lines of action launched by the local government for the recovery and enhancement of the local archaeological heritage, an expert technician has been put out to tender so that, as explained by the mayor of Culture, Pablo Centella, “ advise us and guide us ”. In the words of Centella, “our objective is to protect, conserve, investigate and disseminate the archaeological heritage of Benalmádena: knowing our past facilitates a historical empathy with the populations that preceded us, which determines that collective identity, in addition to strengthening our cultural and cultural offer. reinforce our tourist attraction ”.

This position will be held by the archaeologist Itziar Moreno, who will work for the next 10 months together with the municipal technicians on the management strategies of the historical and archaeological heritage of Benalmádena.

The work to be carried out will begin with a review and preparation of the technical documentation for the cataloging of this heritage. For this, the historical documentation of each site will be compiled to have a file within the Culture Delegation of the Benalmádena City Council.

In addition, the current state of the different patrimonial items will be analyzed and diagnosed, both in relation to their conservation, protection and legal characteristics, as well as evaluating the risks individually, to later make a proposal for protection and improvement, marking the specific needs and proposing possible solutions for the full integration of heritage in the sustainable development strategy of the municipality.

“Another interesting and fundamental part of these works will be the one that is intended to be carried out in the warehouse where the archaeological remains located in old excavation campaigns are preserved, making an inventory and organization of them for better conservation and facilitate access to possible future research on the history of our municipality ”, highlights Castro, who is also responsible for the archaeological direction for the enhancement of the Roman site de Los Molinillos, with their own field work, together with the supervision of conservation, restoration and dissemination tasks.

Finally, their work will also include advice on the development of educational materials for dissemination, such as explanatory texts, signage, posters, models or other informative materials, ensuring the veracity of the information offered, and bringing scientific documentation and history closer together. from Benalmádena to citizens.

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