European Heritage Days

Journées européennes du patrimoine
The Beginning of a Heritage Community

The northern mountains of Madrid keep one of the best preserved valleys along the Lozoya river. Its slopes are covered with wild pine, oak and chestnut forests, which are home to many protected species. But the valley has become also a rich cultural landscape scattered with heritage resources, especially after the foundation of the Carthusian monastery of El Paular, in 1390, since then, the focal point of human activity in the valley. 

In 2014 a small group of enthusiastic heritage volunteers started organizing EHD to raise awareness among the population and visitors of the heritage resources of the valley, and in particular the paper mills, which once belonged to the monastery and are now slowly decaying.

400 years ago the paper produced in the monastery was used for the printing of the first edition of Don Quixote. The EHD organizers will commemorate this event, engaging the population of the valley in a series of activities such as dramatized readings of Cervantes’ texts, watercolor painting contests on hand made paper, lessons of artistic engraving old methods, visits to the remains of the Carthusian hydraulic works of the paper mill and ending with the pleasure of enjoying traditional recipes of Cervantes’ times in the restaurants of the valley.

Despite the weather, last 26th March we celebrated the opening of 2016 EHD in the company of this new born heritage community thanks to the collaboration of local authorities and heritage lovers.