The Regional Ministry of Culture and Historical Heritage and the City Council of Macael will jointly study the presence of marble from the local quarries in the monumental complex of the Alcazaba of Almeria, according to the agreement reached by both institutions to investigate and enhance the links between the macael mineral and the aforementioned heritage site.
The agreement, signed by the Regional Minister Patricia del Pozo and the Mayor of Macael, Raúl Martínez Requejo, joins forces to undertake joint projects aimed at researching and promoting the use of marble from the Almeria town’s quarries in the Alcazaba, declared a Historic-Artistic Monument and a Site of Cultural Interest (BIC).
Thus, during the works and excavations in the monument, numerous pieces of marble have been found – mainly baths, capitals, column bases and remains of floors – which could have come from the quarries of Macael, as is the case with other Islamic sites such as the Caliphate city of Medina Azahara, the Mosque of Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada.
For example, in the restoration work carried out for tourist purposes in the second enclosure of the Alcazaba in the mid-20th century, a space was designed with a courtyard with a pool framed by two symmetrical axes, at one end of which is the so-called ‘Casa del Alcaide’ (House of the Warden). Inside, 12 columns were carved in polished white marble, with bases, shafts and capitals of the same material, and a fountain.
The taking of samples to resolve the characterisation and identification of the material and the type of marble concluded that all the samples were identical, corresponding to a marble with a granoblastic texture, composed mainly of calcite, with quartz and phlogopite as accessory minerals. The samples were compared with a pattern of Macael Blanco Río marble, with a positive result.
It is also recorded, according to the geographer al-Udri, that the Taifa king al-Mutasim had a palace built inside the Alcazaba and that it was decorated with white marble slabs both on the surface and on the plinths, including inscriptions also carved on the same mineral which, due to their quality, could have come from the quarries of Macael.
It is worth noting that on 26th November 2020, the plenary session of the Town Council of Macael unanimously approved to urge the presentation to the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the proposal of candidature of the Macael Marble Quarrying to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, a proposal that has been widely accepted by the Andalusian Regional Government.