Irrigation tribunals in the Spanish Mediterranean



  • Valencia cathedral

These are the Council of Wise Men of the Plain of Murcia and the Water Tribunal of the Plain of Valencia. Both tribunals revolve around water management, are still active and have been awarded the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage designation. Why are they considered Cultural Heritage? Because they are water management institutions introduced by tradition and which are still used today, since the times of Al-Andalus (9th - 13th centuries). They also contribute to the cohesion of the irrigators' communities and pass on orally the knowledge that comes from cultural exchanges. What do they do? Both tribunals meet every Thursday and can be discovered in person. The Council of Wise Men of the Plain of Murcia meets in the Salón Real (Royal Hall) of Murcia Town Hall at 10 am. The Water Tribunal of the Plain of Valencia takes place at midday in the Puerta de los Apóstoles door of Valencia Cathedral. They have their own specialised vocabulary and many terms that come from Arabic. While their main function is legal, they also have very important symbolic meaning.

  • World Heritage certification