International Seminar on "Hispano-Portuguese Bastioned Fortifications, a Cultural Route Across Five Continents". IBIZA, Spain. 18th-20th May 1999



The Chairmen and representatives of the ICOMOS National Committees, as well as experts who gathered together in the City of IBIZA (Spain) for the International Seminar on 'Hispano-Portuguese Bastioned Fortifications, a Cultural Route Across the Five Continents' ( 18th 20th May 1999), organized by the International Committee on Cultural Routes, have drawn the following:



  1. In general, fortresses are, due to their very nature, one of the most important and indispensable material testimonies for understanding cultural exchange and the history of human communication throughout the world and throughout the History, and therefore constitute a global and universal heritage.
  2. Fortresses and Fortified Cities have constitutes a vast network of cultural routes of great technical complexity and diverse cultural interpretation throughout their history, which merits careful study and development given that these cultural routes convey a wide range of messages which can even vary during the course of history and throughout the world.
  3. Fortresses are, therefore, witnesses to and significant examples of historical cultural changes and exchanges, whose international nature explains the diverse aspects of historical reality which the Fortresses symbolize.
  4. Fortresses which became Cities or which protected them constitute essential sites on the inland routes of fluvial or terrestrial penetration and are important elements in relation to the cultural and technical organization of large territories. They give rise to links among the five continents and form part of the essential Heritage of regional and universal culture and history. They also establish and consolidate other territorial structures with which they come into contact.
  5. The bastioned systems of the Hispanic and Portuguese School of Fortification are important in the sense that, chronologically speaking, they were the first to be developed during the organization of large territories outside Europe.

    Therefore, within the diversity of cultural routes, they constitute a specific type of large, extensive and cultural influential route that requires a thorough examination of their complexity and evolution.

    These bastioned Fortresses subsequently gave rise to the development of other Schools of Fortification.

  6. These Hispanic and Portuguese Fortresses have certain theoretical and technological elements in common and coincide in being a means of spreading the Spanish and Portuguese languages throughout the world on a very large scale; in being the origin of a cultural transformation which gave rise to many new nationalities with their own identity, in spreading a mixed-race and original idiosyncrasy of great value, a highly significant model adapted to the diverse cultures which it has created, and an essentially common character and set of value.
  7. Nowadays, Fortresses and fortified cities, which constitute varied cultural routes, have a significant universal value which aids cultural understanding among countries.

    For the first time in their history, the Fortresses built for attacking, defending or violently intimidating are valid instruments for overcoming conflicts and for the historical recognition of identity, yet now understood as a symbol of brotherhood among nations by becoming routes for the Culture of peace.

    Fortresses are subject to different and sometimes contradictory interpretations, they convey a wide variety of messages depending on each place and time, but they are now symbols of the overcoming of difficulties and cultural reconciliation.

  8. Apart from their aesthetic and material stylistic value, fortresses encompass cultures of various inter-land territories and produce genuinely mixed cultures, as occurs, among other cases, with the Fortifications on the west coast of Africa, which generated the first manifestations of the important African culture in America and which are the origins of the African Diaspora.
  9. Fortresses represent an enormous effort and step forward for the technology of their time and for the extensive development and spread of science and technology, giving rise to schools, treatises and manuals relating to a wide range of scientific aspects.
  10. Besides their military characteristics, fortresses, and especially those which date from the 16th and 17th centuries, embody ideological aspects which need to be assessed due to the fact that the fortresses served a city or an ideal governing order of a territory, offering an example of harmony between defensive methods and the defining values to be defended during each cultural period.

    Nowadays, Fortresses symbolically safeguard the culture of reconciliation with the past as well as today's culture of peace and dialogue among nations, whereby they once again become a means of communicating a new message, while the strength and resilience of their walls and foundations are reaffirmed in their new cultural mission.

  11. The scientific nature of the Fortresses and the Military Engineering work which enabled them to appear demonstrate the different levels of science and industry and represent a scientific universe which helped to change the world.
  12. The outstanding merits of some Fortresses are so important that they have deserved to become examples of the Heritage Mankind, but they can only be explained within the context of them as a whole.

    As a whole, Fortresses acquire greater importance through extending and broadening their technical and cultural message, through demonstrating the extent of their influence with regard to ideas, languages, the organization of territory on a world-wide scale, etc, and by collectively representing an impressive exponent of the concept of defense and its accompanying techn9ology between the 16th and 19th centuries.

  13. Fortresses have eminently historical value as witnesses to events and as documents subject to multidisciplinary interpretation: the urban and environmental quality of the different strata present on the sites where they are located, which bring together urban, architectural, typological and morphological values.



  1. To encourage the International Committee on Cultural Routes to prepare a Preliminary Inventory of Hispano-Portuguese Bastioned Fortifications, extending to other models, which correspond to other cultural areas represented here, with the aim of highlighting the universal nature and importance of this type of bastioned fortification. Likewise, to encourage the Committee to prepare a preliminary design of the cultural routes deriving from Bastioned Fortification.
  2. To acknowledge the Bastioned Fortification of IBIZA, the inspiration for this International Seminar, possesses exceptional value due to the purity of its Renaissance design, its authenticity as a result of its undamaged architectural condition, its integration with its city and its surrounding landscape, and due to the fact that it may be regarded as a paradigm of the material and intangible values acknowledged here.

    Its value as a historical document lies in it having been an early application of the military treatises of the Renaissance and in the fact that it constitutes the most important and prim genial surviving example of a tried and tested Hispanic construction dating from the 16th century within the universal system of Hispanic fortifications.

  3. To recommend the creation of Site or City Museums and the appropriate education at all professional levels affected for the signposting, interpretation and dissemination of the tangible and intangible values and of the historical, evolutionary values encompassed by Bastioned Military Architecture, in accordance with the values highlighted herein.
  4. To promote historical-cultural research in order to adequately encourage and justify the Preliminary Inventories of Cultural Routes.
  5. To encourage the world-wide defense of this Heritage in its significant integrity, in the belief that the best defense is the social one which derives from the cultural spread of education and appraisal of society, which should see in these Fortresses the values of a society in favor of peace.

IBIZA, 22 May, 1999