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Baños del Carmen. Salvador Salas
Iconic Baños del Carmen in Malaga gets protection as an asset of cultural interest
Planning

Iconic Baños del Carmen in Malaga gets protection as an asset of cultural interest

This long-awaited step opens the door to the rehabilitation and maritime defence of the historic restaurant and bathing site in the city

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 11:15

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Malaga city’s Baños del Carmen restaurant and historic bathing site will be protected after it was declared an asset of cultural interest (BIC). This long-awaited step, approved by the Junta de Andalucía on Tuesday, opens the door to the rehabilitation and maritime defence of the restaurant as well as a transformation of the surrounding area with a park project.

The declaration recognises that the Parque Balneario Nuestra Señora del Carmen is the only preserved historical example in Malaga of a public seaside resort. This heritage complex, located in an environment of scenic interest, is linked to a stretch of the city's eastern coastline. "From its origins to the present day, a way of life and customs have developed in this area,” said the Andalusian regional government delegate in Malaga, Patricia Navarro. The delegate added that the “property is an invaluable testimony” of “an important chapter in the history of Malaga, such as the sea bathing culture”.

"It was an obligation of this administration, as the competent authority in the matter, to conserve this building [which dates] from the beginning of the 20th century so that it can be guaranteed that the essentials will not change. The uses will change, but they must be adapted to all that being a BIC entails," Navarro said. She added that the city hall, the Junta, and the government, must be "very vigilant" against any project that does not go in line with the spirit of the declaration.

The BIC declaration legally preserves the building, which was threatened with demolition under the coastal law, as it is frequently affected by storms, according to expert sources consulted. Now the restaurant and the building must be rehabilitated by the city hall (who requested the declaration). Since last October, the city’s urban planning department has been working to adapt the park project to a series of requirements requested by the government’s directorate general for the Coast and the Sea: sources consulted anticipate that the final design will be approved in a few weeks.

The only remaining issue is that of the adjacent Nereo boatyard. The Junta's culture department will have to determine whether this business can remain in its current location.

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