Promoting the underwater cultural heritage in Macaronesia

The main goal of the Margullar project is to preserve the underwater cultural heritage and create a tourist product to promote it in the Macaronesian territories of the Canary Islands, the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde and Senegal.


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An underwater archaeological training programme organised in Lanzarote in October 2018. ©Cabildo de Lanzarote/Rita Marrero 2018 An underwater archaeological training programme organised in Lanzarote in October 2018. ©Cabildo de Lanzarote/Rita Marrero 2018

" All the activities of the project aim to promote the underwater cultural heritage of Macaronesia in a touristic and responsible way in order to make the general public aware of its historic value, its attractiveness, and the importance of preserving it. "

Rita Marrero, project coordinator

The Margullar regional cooperation project aims to conserve, protect, and promote the underwater archaeological heritage of the Macaronesia islands through the creation of a new tourist product.

The project helps to improve, energise and diversify local tourism in the different regions of Macaronesia. It creates jobs in the tourist sector, but it also contributes to awareness-raising and awareness of the importance of the underwater cultural heritage and its history. Lastly, it helps educate citizens about the conservation, preservation and enhancement of this underwater heritage.

Development and creation of a new tourist product

The project has three main objectives, including various activities. The first is the conception and development of the underwater archaeological tourist product of the Macaronesian islands. In order to define the main characteristics that this tourist product must have, the partners are organising and participating in working days on the theme of underwater archaeology, defining a common methodology, and then a local action plan specific to each territory. In addition, they are visiting well-known underwater archaeology centres in Europe to strengthen ties with them and learn about new models of tourism management and the protection and showcasing of cultural heritage.

The second objective is to create the underwater archaeological tourist product of Macaronesia. The Margullar project enables the territories to create a catalogue of underwater heritage assets, discovered through the immersion programme and new underwater investigations. Subsequently, each territory is creating its own itinerary and underwater tourist route(s), as well as the corresponding signage and documentation. The project’s main beneficiary, Lanzarote Town Council, will also authorise two interpretation centres in Arrecife and on the island of La Graciosas, in Caleta de Sebo.

Promotion of underwater routes and long-term enhancement of the cultural heritage

The third objective is to launch the underwater archaeological tourism product of Macaronesia. This objective includes the promotion of underwater routes, as well as the creation of a sustainability plan to define a long-term protection and enhancement strategy. Within this context, the Margullar project also includes a training programme in two phases:

•    training in underwater archaeology;
•    training of guides.

Finally, Margullar supports the project's non-Member states of Senegal and Cape Verde in their process of ratifying the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.


Total investment and European funding

The "Margullar: underwater archaeological heritage and tourism in Macaronesia" project received a total investment of EUR 1 233 500; the contribution from the European Regional Development Fund amounts to EUR 1 048 475 under the Interreg V-A-Spain-Portugal (Madeira-Açores-Canarias (MAC)) cooperation programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the "Conserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency" priority.