The medieval ghost town of Granadilla, one of the most beautiful towns in Spain
The medieval town of Granadillas in Spain is a ghost town. Visitors can enter the empty rooms, wander along the walled streets and view the city from the top of its castle, but no one lives there since all the inhabitants were driven out in the 1960s.
Originally founded by Muslims in the 9th century, Granadilla occupied a strategic location that allowed its inhabitants to keep a watchful eye on the Ruta de la Plata, an ancient trade and travel route across the region.
Over the years, the town's rule changed and today it is one of the few Spanish villages where the ancient walls are still intact.
In the 1950s, during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, Spain began a massive dam building project as a way to boost the economy during the period of isolation. The largest of these efforts was the Gabriel y Galán Reservoir on the Alagón River, and in 1955 officials declared that Granadilla was in the flood zone and therefore had to be evacuated.
Over the course of 10 years, from 1959 to 1969, all residents were forcibly evicted, many of whom were moved to colonization settlements near the village. When the water began to rise in 1963, it covered all but one road to the village, turning it into a peninsula. The city itself was never flooded. However, residents have not been allowed to return.
Përvoja e tij ishte traumatike për vendasit. “Ishte një mashtrim, - thotë Eugenio Jiménez, president i Shoqatës Sons of Granadilla, - ata na nxorën jashtë, duke pretenduar se diga do të përmbytte qytetin, gjë që ishte e pamundur sepse qyteti është më i lartë se diga. Ishin kohë diktature dhe ne nuk kishim të drejta. Por ajo që me të vërtetë më frustron është se në kohët demokratike unë kam qenë duke luftuar për rimëkëmbjen e Granadillës me ish-shoqatën e fëmijëve dhe asnjë qeveri nuk na ka dëgjuar.”
Purificación Jiménez, një ish-banor, kujtoi gjithashtu vështirësitë e atyre viteve. “Më kujtohet që sa herë që një familje dilte nga fshati, të gjithë dilnin në hyrje të fshatit për t'u përshëndetur dhe qanin”, tha ai.
Even today, the villagers have not been allowed to reclaim their homes because the government maintains the flood decree signed by Franco. However, visitors can and do come for day trips. The city was designated a historic-artistic site in 1980 and is now run as a free, open-air museum overseen by the Autonomous National Parks Agency.