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  • Day7

    Civil War Shelters

    April 14, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    The Spanish Civil War is one of those wars that is wrapped in mystique — it is still the subject of public debate, and a lot of its wounds are still close to the surface. As the last city in Spain to surrender (two days before the end of the Civil War), Almeria has monuments to the resistance in several places.

    Almería has a 4 km web of bomb shelters built after the Germans bombed Almeria in 1937 in retaliation for the Republicans attack on a German warship that was on the mediterranean coast. The town mobilized and built these underground shelters (500 workers and thousands of local volunteers over 14 months). They had been closed off until a few years ago. The regional government has opened them for visits.

    A member of our Mozárabe group who lives in Spain was kind enough to buy us tickets ahead of time. These tours routinely sell out, and now that I’ve been through I understand why.

    It was fascinating —a video explaining the history and with interviews of survivors, followed by a tour through the underground tunnels. More than 30,000 routinely took shelter there, and as you might imagine the memories of the survivors were still vivid. The hospital room was still in tact, and the guide told us that fortunately that room’s primary function turned out to be to deliver babies of the many women who went into labor during the bombings. Graffiti on the walls is preserved, and the entrances to the shelters remain hidden in kiosks up and down one of the main avenues.

    Enough history for now, I’m off to walk!!!
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