Madrid targets Unesco listing for Prado Museum

Despite being the capital of the country with the third-highest number of Unesco World Heritage Sites, Madrid as yet has none to its name. That could be about to change if the local town hall gets its way.

“The Retiro and Prado site” has been put forward as the remedy to this situation by Popular Party Mayor Ana Botella, who has the support of the city’s other political groupings in this venture.

The area being touted as a Unesco patrimony site comprises a large chunk of central Madrid, stretching from the gardens and boulevards of Retiro Park and the elegant Jerónimos neighbourhood of fine town houses, including the church of the same name, down to the already world-famous Prado Museum and the whole Paseo de Prado avenue from Cibeles to Atocha junctions.

In all, 203 hectares of urban heritage, although the bid also mentions outlying sites as being of special interest as they link up culturally with the Prado-Retiro complex, notably the Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums.

The first step on a path that City Hall officials were quoted by La Razón newspaper as saying would be “long and complicated” is to gain the approval for the bid from the National Patrimony Council in October.

Assuming that hurdle is overcome, the site will then be included on Spain’s Indicative List of Unesco candidate sites for at least a year before experts from the UN’s cultural agency consider its merits.

Ana Botella said in the Retiro on Tuesday that the complex “satisfies the most important Unesco requisite in that it has exceptional universal value”.

Spain already has 44 sites on the Unesco World Heritage List, behind only Italy and China.

Barcelona has two entries on the list. One groups the Modernist architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, while the other features the Palau de la Música auditorium and Sant Pau hospital.

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Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.