Hispania Nostra organises International Congress ‘Cultural Heritage and Catastrophes: Lorca as a Reference’
On 3-5 October, the International Congress ‘Cultural Heritage and Catastrophes: Lorca as a Reference’ positioned Lorca in the Murcia Region in Spain as a key example of heritage recovery in emergency situations. The congress was organised by Hispania Nostra – in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Murcia Region and the City of Lorca, with the support of AON Spain Foundation – in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
On 11 May 2011 an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale struck Lorca, causing nine deaths, hundreds of injuries and huge material losses. Among the many buildings damaged were six churches located in the historic centre of the city. These buildings are examples of various architectural styles, Renaissance, Murcian Baroque and Neoclassical. Fissures were apparent in the roofs and walls of several of the churches while some roofs had collapsed altogether. Though the citizens of Lorca were naturally discouraged following the disaster and the harm caused to so many of their churches, as well as the destruction of many other iconic buildings, they soon assembled their resources and worked to restore their city to its former state.
In 2016, the rehabilitation of Six Churches in Lorca received an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award. “With this Award we celebrate the fantastic reaction of civic society in Lorca in repairing their churches following the damage and destruction caused by the earthquakes in May 2011. The work done by the owners of the churches with the support of the community, as well as several foundations and municipal organisations, is a model of post-catastrophe management”, stated the Awards’ jury.
The immediate response of the local population and institutions, as well as the planning and coordination of interventions, was the starting point of the congress hosted by Hispania Nostra in Lorca. The congress provided the opportunity to share several cases from around the world of emergency interventions related to cultural heritage in the aftermath of natural disasters.