Placed under the governance of Unesco, the Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR) is a scientific designation created and managed by the Heritage Stone Subcommission – HSS (IUGS/IAEG) to improve the geological knowledge, use and conservation of stones. historically significant natural sites around the world.
Promoted by the Naturpiedra quarry and Víctor Cárdenes, professor at the University of Oviedo and specialist consultant in slates, the Phyllite of Bernardos, one of the most important building rocks in Spanish architectural history, has just been recognized World Heritage Stone by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), joining the very closed circle of stones already listed as World Heritage (22 ornamental rocks from 13 countries).
The Phyllite of Bernardos has been extracted in the village of Bernardos (Segovia-Spain) since 1558. It was King Felipe II who gave the order to use this slate for the works of the buildings of the kingdom, monuments that will leave a indelible mark of his reign for centuries to come. Víctor Cárdenes, one of the promoters of this recognition, recalls that, «influenced by Flemish architecture, Felipe II ordered the use of slate for roofing, and thus, he introduced slate architecture which allowed the development of slender and durable roofs. For these achievements, slate quarries were discovered and exploited in Bernardos. It should be noted that the rock extracted there is not really a slate, but a Phyllite, a rock with a greater geological evolution than slate, which gives it greater hardness and durability”.
Over the centuries, the Bernardos Phyllite has been the economic and social engine of the region, constituting a source of wealth and a showcase, as it has subsequently been used in singular works all over the world. This recognition will serve to highlight not only the Phyllite itself, but also its history, its social and economic impact and its cultural link with Bernardos.
A privileged link with France
Today the production of the Naturpiedra quarry in Bernardos has diversified into paving, flagstones, coatings, kerbs, Japanese steps, decorative rocks, and many other solutions for landscaping for construction sites. private or public. When it comes to roofs, Naturpiedra’s product range is very extensive. Among other things, slates, Ojivas, mixed sizes stones that it has been supplying for more than 40 years in French historical heritage works in the Massif Central and the Alps for the restoration of mansions, churches, castles. On the other hand, slates in more conventional formats for works as emblematic as the restoration of the church of Megève and the Abbey of Abondance in Haute Savoie, the cathedral of Saint-Pons de Thomières in Hérault, and more recently for part of the roofs of the « Merveille » of Mont Saint-Michel. Bernardos Phyllite has a good reputation in European heritage for its quality and resistance in extreme climate areas and in high mountains. In addition to its excellent physical-mechanical characteristics, heritage architects choose it for its lead gray color and characteristic veining.