Bárbara Boloix-Gallardo is professor of Arabic Studies at the Department of Semitic Studies at the University of Granada, Spain. She is a Member of the Scientific Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Alhambra and the Generalife, and responsible for the coordination of a research project on the Islamic Palace of Dar al-Horra in Granada. She is a specialist in the history of al-Andalus and the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, and has taught courses on both disciplines at the University of Granada, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California at Berkeley.
Note: this interview is in English, the language of the international congress in October 2016.
Ms Boloix-Gallardo thinks the conference will be a great chance to gather common perspectives on the future of religious heritage of different tendencies (Christian, Islamic, Jewish, etc.) existing in the countries represented in the meeting. She is sure this opportunity will allow us all to learn how to improve the management of our religious heritage, adopting new ideas and methods that can be applied to the preservation and valorization of our respective monuments.
The increasing interest of tourists in visiting the most emblematic buildings of each country means a golden opportunity to make both religious and non-religious visitors value this kind of heritage from multiple perspectives other than religious - historical, cultural, literary, artistic, architectural, or scientific. Ms Boloix-Gallardo notes that the Alhambra is one of the most well known samples of Medieval Islamic art preserved. However, at the same time the monument is one of the best examples of cultural and religious syncretism.
Keeping a balance between religious use and tourism is sometimes difficult, which is also the case with the Alhambra and the Generalife. These two monuments are subject to an increasing demand of daily visits from people from all over the world. These people enter the monuments for various reasons: touristic, academic, religious purposes and more. To be able to protect both monuments there is a necessity to ensure the compliance with the percentage of people allowed to enter every day, as well as a necessity to broaden the touristic offer with other alternatives.
She believes in the necessity of opening these temples to tourism in a moderate manner, in order to both create new touristic offers and to revitalize these valuable spaces. There are many different ways to bring culture to monuments, such as filling them with musical performances. These and other options will place the churches themselves in new institutional and financial networks from which they can benefit, creating also the employment necessary to take care of tourists.
Bárbara Boloix-Gallardo will be discussing the Alhambra on Thursday 6 October during Parallel Session 2: Religious heritage sites and tourism: how to deal with conservation and management issues?