Vernacular architecture and intangible heritage in Mexico

Prieto, Valeria (2003) Vernacular architecture and intangible heritage in Mexico. In: 14th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Place, memory, meaning: preserving intangible values in monuments and sites’, 27 – 31 oct 2003, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract (in English)

The architectonic vernacular heritage in Mexico of both urban and rural villages has very strong links with the intangible culture of villages and towns throughout the country. Traditions and ways of life that were present even before the Spaniards arrival adds importance to consider this as a significant cultural building heritage. There are many ways to recognize this invisible heritage: the Christian holidays, where the ancient indigenous rites are mixed with the catholic religion; in the music and dances that have been preserved for many centuries, and in the meaning that some sites represent to them, for instance, the main plaza where many of the “fiestas” take place or small but miraculous churches where principal saints are venerated. Intangible heritage is part of the built architectural spaces in Mexico nowadays. In rural villages and even in many popular urban areas pilgrim ceremonies are made towards the sites where a saint is venerated. Such is the case of Ixhuacán de los Reyes in Veracruz where the Virgen de los Remedios, believed to be miraculous, once a year attracts a large number of faithful believers. The route that pilgrims follow has a special meaning represented both in the traditional pavement and in the facades ornamentation. However many of these traditions and material heritage are threatened by the quick expansion of the way of life globalization transmits. Global culture influence reaches the smallest and the most outer villages in Mexico. Negative social transformations and lost of quality of life result from this cultural impact. Among others, the ancient streets and shapes of the original traza of the villages, the community buildings and open spaces like the market places which exist since the indigenous times, experience deterioration that changes the surrounding landscape and natural context of an entire village. The relations between the material and immaterial heritage are broken and foreign ways of life replace the local ones. As a consequence local people loose an important part of their identity; the one linked to the soil. Part of their regional values becomes mixed with a wrongly understood modernity. This cultural phenomena puts in serious risk to vernacular architecture and natural heritage.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Prieto, Valeria
Languages: English
Keywords: vernacular architecture; intangible heritage; Mexico
Subjects: O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 01. Generalities
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 17. Intangible cultural heritage
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 27. Vernacular architecture
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2003, 14th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2010 11:48
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:15

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