The Water Tribunal of Valencia
The Water Tribunal of Valencia has been officially declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO along with the Council of Wise Men of Murcia, under the shared name of the Irrigator’s Tribunals of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast. Both tribunals have been recognised by the people of Valencia and Murcia as part of their cultural heritage, sustaining their being and ensuring them community, hence they pass it on from generation to generation.
The Water Tribunal is a panel of judges charged with mitigating conflicts over irrigation water among farmers within the irrigators’ communities along the Valencian irrigation channels of Quart, Benàger I Faitanar, Mislatam Favara and Rovella, on the right bank of the river Turia, and those of Tormos, Mestalla and Rascanya on the left bank of the Turia. Together with the Royal Moncada Irrigation Channel, this set of channels form the Vega of Valencia. It is the oldest tribunal in the whole of Europe and convenes every Thursday (except for public holidays and the Thursdays between Christmas and Epiphany) at the Apóstoles gothic entrance to Valencia Cathedral as the bell tower known as El Miguelete strikes midday.
Upon the official acceptance of the Water Tribunal of Valencia onto UNESCO’S Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the President of the Valencia regional government, Francisco Camps, declared that “today is an important day, because the Region is, among other things, its history its traditions and its institutions”. For the President, the Water Tribunal of Valencia is the only institution that has enables a generational and historical line of communication between the various points in the Region’s history.
The Water Tribunal was one of over 100 nominations aspiring to be included on the new Intangible Cultural Heritage List, which covers cultural elements and intangible expressions that are endangered and urgently require measures of protection despite the best efforts of the groups and communities that have kept alive to this day. Adding further merit to the Tribunal’s acceptance was the particular challenge of meeting UNESCO’s new and unprecedented selection criteria.
Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega de Valencia
Pl. Crespins, 1
Tel. 963 914 445
Fuente: CVNews 57
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