Culture is at the beginning and the end of development
(Léopold Sédar Senghor)
Published on 10 November 2011
Spain's historic city of Seville is in danger of falling foul of strict UNESCO rules and even losing its World Heritage Status due to a controversial skyscraper which is currently under construction.
A delegation from UNESCO hurried over to the Andalusian capital to assess the impact of the 178-metre Pelli Tower which to house the headquarters of the Cajasol savings bank.
There are fears the huge building, overlooking the city centre, will detract from the cathedral, the Alcázar royal palace and the Archivo de Indias, all of which have UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Representatives have met with local politicians and campaign groups who are calling for the tower's construction to be stopped.
They also toured the city to see how the view of the skyline would be affected from different areas.
Protected: The Moorish Alcazar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
A World Heritage Committee meeting, held more than a year ago raised concerns about the project and its impact on Seville's monuments, saying it would have a negative impact.
And this summer, UNESCO asked for construction to be halted until a resolution had been found to the problem.
The Mayor of Seville, Juan Ignacio Zoido, has assured UNESCO the city will supply all the information needed to make an informed decision and reassured locals that the meetings were simply about 'defending the city's interests'.
He said: 'Progress and development, yes, but without risks. The licences for the building have already been awarded, but now we want to hear the same from UNESCO. They will do this in a few weeks.'
If the representatives decide that Seville should be included on the World Heritage in danger list, the ancient city could lose its World Heritage Status.
The three protected buildings in the centre of Seville are said to perfectly encapsulate Spain's 'golden age'.
The cathedral was founded in 1403, on the site of a former mosque whose minaret is now the bell tower for the building. It is the largest Gothic building in Europe.
The Moorish palace, the Alcázar, was constructed in the 10th century and was the palace of the Muslim governor. It is still used as a residence for the Royal Family when they are in the city.
And the Archivo de Indias is a building constructed in 1585 and used to house the greatest collection of documentation about the discovery of the New World.
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