Granada, City of Literature by UNESCO

Granada has been internationally recognised by UNESCO as City of Literature, in response to the request submitted by the municipal government this past March. With this decision, Granada becomes the only Spanish-language city included in the network of creative cities in the category of literature, along with Bilbao, which appears in the design category, of the 18 of them that the international body admitted last 1st of December.

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The mayor, José Torres Hurtado, made an appearance at a press conference to express his satisfaction with a decision “that is for the entire life” and entails adding ‘city of literature’ to the other titles of “very loyal, famous and renowned”. The new qualifier brings important international prestige with it for the cities bearing the title and the ones wanting to be considered as a part of the category which as of Monday now includes Granada. Dublin, Edinburgh, Norwich, Melbourne, Iowa, Reykjavik and Krakow appear in the category along with Granada, Dunedin, Praga and Heidelberg. Torres Hurtado declined to comment on the Spanish cities which were not nominated and thanked all the institutions and people who collaborated in getting the distinction, directly mentioning the national government, the government of Andalusia and Instituto Cervantes.

The city started doing the paperwork for the application eight months ago in Paris, where UNESCO has its head office, with a candidacy which aspired to achieve recognition as a ‘city of poetry’ given its link to this category via projects such as Centro Lorca, about to be inaugurated, the International Poetry Festival and the international prize awarded in the name of the poet from Fuente Vaqueros.

Both the mayor as well as the Councillor of Culture, Juan García Montero, emphasised the idea of “union” represented by the inclusion of Granada as a literature city for the Spanish speaking world as well as the Arabic world, a “privileged” position for undertaking poetic and literary initiatives.

Among them, Torres Hurtado and García Montero, along with the Councillor of Tourism, Rocío Díaz, drew up the first project, which will have a month and a half to be implemented, converting Carmen de los Mártires, in the Alhambra’s grounds, into a Garden of Poetry. Juan de la Cruz lived in Los Mártires where he drew inspiration for the poems that today represent the deepest expression of Spanish mystic poetry. Furthermore, the literary walk will have references to the award-winning poets from the eleven editions of the Premio Internacional de Poesía García Lorca. Additionally, the five municipal libraries will dedicate areas to each of the cities that share the literary distinction with Granada.

UNESCO’s network of creative cities is structured based on seven themes, among them music, crafts and design.