Atmospheric composition and micro-climate in the Alhambra monument, Granada (Spain), in the context of preventive conservation

Benjamin Horemans, O. Schalm, K. De Wael, C. Cardell, R. Van Grieken

    Research output: Contribution to journalA2: International peer reviewed article (not A1-type)


    The world famous Alhambra monument in Granada, Southern Spain, listed as UNESCO world cultural heritage since 1984, represents probably the most beautiful example of Islamic art and architecture from the Middle Ages in Europe. It is visited by ca. 2 million people annually. Granada is situated in a natural basin, surrounded by mountains with altitudes up to 3500 m. Due to this topography and the prevailing low wind speeds, pollution-derived and especially traffic-derived particulate matter often accumulates in the urban air. In order to evaluate the potential conservation risks from the surrounding air, the atmospheric composition in the Alhambra monument was evaluated. Indoor temperature and relative humidity fluctuations were evaluated for their potential degenerative effects. Furthermore, the atmospheric composition in the Alhambra was analyzed in terms of inorganic gases (NO2, SO2, O-3, and NH3) and black carbon. It was found that the open architecture protected the indoor environments from developing a potentially harmful microclimate, such as the build-up of humidity resulting from the huge number of daily tourists. On the downside, the strong ventilation made the indoor air hardly different from outdoor air, as characterized by strong diurnal temperature and relative humidity gradients and high traffic-derived pollutant levels.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
    Pages (from-to)012002
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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