The private cultural foundation LES FORTALESES CATALANES was established in May 2002 and is registered  1672 with the Registre de Fundacions de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government Foundations Register). The foundation has amongst its statutes the following purposes:


“[...] the study, spread of knowledge and social appreciation, conservation and restoration of the fortified monuments heritage built in Catalonia between 1500 and 1945 [...] The Foundation performs its activities mainly in Catalonia, however can be expanded, directly or with an agreement, to other autonomous regions or abroad.”

To achieve these goals the Foundation is involved in the following activities:


1.      Carrying out a deep technical and historical study focusing on the military, modern and contemporary monuments in the Catalan cultural area, especially of those preserved nowadays in Catalonia.


2.      Publishing findings through various formats in an informational and educational manner. Along the same lines, the Foundation promotes conferences, workshops and other cultural activities focusing on the spread of knowledge of the military monuments heritage in Catalonia, always with the objective of achieving the acknowledgment and the social appreciation that will lead to an effective protection of said heritage.


3.      Generating and managing cultural tourism activities, helping the knowledge and preservation of the military monuments in their most authentic conditions.


4.       Collaborating or acting as consultant to public or private organizations, whose administrative area includes any cultural properties associated with the Catalan military monuments heritage, regardless of if these properties are under their direct management or not.


5.      Promoting the exchange of experiences between military monuments’ managers, even if they are run by different administrations, if they have a common historic lineage. In the same vein, the Foundation supports them to produce cohesive publications according to common educational context with the aim of creating and maintaining the dedicated vocation of cross-border collaboration that characterizes the Foundation.


The consideration of defensive works built by military engineering as cultural properties in our country is recent. An infamous decree approved in 1949 was an ambiguous first step towards this; however it was in a clear medievalist direction which didn’t deeply study the bastioned fortresses of the mid-16th century and far from studied later fortifications. The Ley del Patrimonio Histórico Español (Spanish Historic Heritage Law) of 1985 and the following autonomous region law of 1993 corrected the 1949 decree’s ambiguities, nevertheless the truly effective protection, which is given by the society, hadn’t yet become a reality.

As a consequence of this, it was often difficult for people to accept the military monuments of Catalonia as cultural properties. This situation undoubtedly brought into practise the alternative use of these monuments which damaged their integrity as historical monuments. Paradoxically, these proceedings were encouraged by people acting in good faith who thought they were protecting the ruins from demolition of their past. However, in reality, we inherited some monuments from which it is impossible to interpret an authentic history.

That’s the reason why today the ownership of military monuments, either public or private, must be sensitive and keep a careful attitude toward some activities that could alter their educational and original characteristics, in other words its authenticity. The space in the country’s cultural imagination is not yet a wide and solid enough space for its military monuments and it wouldn’t be right to deprive them of the protection of a well-informed public opinion.

Nowadays when unthinking expenses have caused a compulsory austerity, processes which damage sites have been left on hold, which gives some hope. So maybe our message can reach a larger part of the population before the value of the military monuments as cultural properties disappears. Let’s not forget: “The intrinsic worth of a monument as a cultural property becomes blurred if the actions that take place inside distort its nature as the most faithful possible witness of the reason for that which it was built.”