Benidorm: A World Heritage Site?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

I thought I must have been dreaming when two newspapers yesterday, the Star and Metro both reported that a French geographer, Phillipe Duhamel, had suggested that the collection of skyscrapers which holidaymakers know only to well were culturally important and merited world heritage status.
To claim that the Benidorm skyline rivalled the likes of the old town of Santiago de Compostela, the Alhambra in Granada, Toledo or Segovia to name just 4 out of the 40 world heritage sites that Spain possesses seems a little blinkered. Or am I?
Pedro Zaragoza, the far sighted Mayor of Benidorm in the 1950’s ( who incidentally died earlier this year), devised what became a model for mass tourism and encouraged skyscraper growth. Benidorm virtually originated mass tourism and allowed us of more humble money to join the rich in going abroad for holidays. So it is important and should be remembered if not only by academics. But a world heritage site?
What other modern buildings or streets or towns have been listed. The Sydney Opera House is one and closer to home we have the Blaenavon area in the valleys of South Wales but not Clough Williams-Ellis’s Portmeirion Italianate village in North Wales; we have Durham Castle and Cathedral but nothing in Oxford or Cambridge. The choices seem a little strange. Maybe it is down to who shouts loudest.
And Benidorm has shouted!

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