The entrance to Santa Maria de Ripoll monastery should be recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the local council says

The porch, from the XII century, is usually described as a “bible on stone” and it is one of the main examples of European Romanesque sculpture. The town of Ripoll, in northern Catalonia, hopes to be included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites, although its mayor admits the process will be “very difficult”.


December 29, 2011 11:33 AM

Ripoll (ACN). - The entrance to Santa Maria de Ripoll Monastery, in northern Catalonia, has one of the most beautiful and iconic representations of European Romanesque sculpture. Usually described as a “bible on stone”, the porch of the monastery is from the XII century. Now the council has voted unanimously in favour of initiating the process for it to be recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The idea of applying for this recognition is not “new”, as the Mayor of Ripoll, Jordi Munell, said to CNA. However, the town hopes to promote the project now that it is also preparing the events for the 2013 celebrations, when Ripoll will be Capital of Catalan Culture. The idea of the council is to get the UNESCO recognition in order to acquire more “resources” to protect the porch and promote it internationally. It is one of the most important examples of Romanesque sculpture in Europe, and dates from a time when Ripoll was a great religious and cultural site. Under the management of Abbot Oliva, this northern town also became a centre for literature production. The local mayor, Jordi Munell, hopes that in 2013 the idea of recognising the porch internationally will be further “developed” and the application process will have started. In fact, being recognised as a World Heritage Site requires several years and there are currently 23 other sites in Spain waiting for the same honour. Munell is pleased that all the political parties in the local council agreed to initiate the application, saying that recognition “goes beyond political issues”. In fact, the project also has the collaboration of cultural and religious organisations. The mayor has admitted that the process will be “long and difficult” but nonetheless “should start” soon because the site deserves to be declared a World Heritage Site. More than 50.000 people visit the monastery every year.