Castalla Town Hall celebrates the first edition of the Erudito Cerdá Research Awards

  • The intention of the Consistory is to promote and encourage work that has Castalla and La Foia as its object of study

The Castalla Town Hall has awarded the first edition of the Erudito Cerdá Research Awards, corresponding to the 2019-2020 call. The Department of Culture of the Castellón Council has announced four research awards, with the aim of promoting and encouraging knowledge of Castalla and La Foia. At the same time, according to the Councillor for Culture, Saúl Mira, “we seek to highlight the figure of Francisco Cerdá y Rico, better known as the erudite Cerdá, a Castalla resident who stood out in 18th century Spanish society on his own merits”.

As Mira acknowledges, the City Council detected a lack of incentives to carry out research projects related to the town. For this reason, the mayor states, “the aim of the Erudito Cerdá Awards is to encourage a scientific vocation in Castalla and to broaden knowledge in fields such as anthropology, architecture, economics, Catalan philology, geography, history, the environment, musicology, sociology and tourism”.

In accordance with this starting point, the competition has been organized in two major categories, school and senior. In turn, the school category has been divided into three subcategories: 1st and 2nd of ESO, 3rd and 4th of ESO and 1st and 2nd of Bachillerato. While the object of study is limited to Castalla in the school category, the seniors have been able to present papers that cover the entire sub region of La Foia de Castalla.

The jury in charge of evaluating the works presented was formed by renowned professionals: Carlos Martín Cantarino, professor of Ecology at the University of Alicante (UA); Mª Teresa Riquelme Quiñonero, associate professor of Anthropology at the UA; and Rafael Zurita Aldeguer, professor of Contemporary History at the UA.

Once the research had been evaluated, in the third and fourth year of secondary school, the winning entry was ‘El canvi climàtic i el seu impacte a l’agricultura de Castalla’, by Míriam Pérez, and the finalist was ‘La Dansa de Castalla, la festa més desconeguda’, by Inma Mira. The prizes for these works were 400 and 100 euros in cash, respectively, and a diploma. Among the works of first and second of Bachillerato, the winner has been ‘Recuerdos de tiempos pasados’, Noelia Fuster, endowed with 500 euros in cash and a diploma. In the senior category and in the first and second of the ESO have not been submitted papers and therefore the awards have been deserted.

In this sense, the head of Culture has said that “we are going to look for the formula so that the neighbors of Castalla and the area find more incentives to participate in the Erudito Cerdá Awards with their research projects. In this way we want to consolidate the competition in our city”.

The award ceremony was scheduled to take place last Saturday, June 6, coinciding with the anniversary of Cerdá and Rico’s birth, but the Coronavirus (Covid-19), as with so many other things, has forced the event to be suspended.

The figure of the erudite Cerdá

Francisco Cerdá y Rico was born in Castalla on June 8, 1739 and died in Madrid on January 5, 1800. He studied his first studies at the Grammar School of Castalla and went on to the University of Valencia, where he studied Law and Canons. In 1766 he entered the Royal Library as a second scribe and in 1783 he was appointed as an officer of the Secretary of State and of the Universal Office of the Indies. In addition, he occupied the position of honorary academician of the Royal Academy of Noble Arts of San Fernando and numerary of the Royal Academy of History.

The director of the Royal Library of Denmark at the time, Daniel Gotthilf Moldenhawem, described Cerdá’s personal book collection as “the most exquisite library in Spain in a private home”.

At the time, the scholar Cerdá maintained intellectual and friendly relations with other scholars and academics of the time such as Gregorio Mayans, and enjoyed the protection of Manuel de Godoy, an important political figure in the times of the reign of Charles IV, from whom he became Prime Minister. A resident of Castalla whose figure reached a global dimension and which the Town Hall intends to extol by giving its name to these awards.

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