Believe it or not, an abandoned town exists that was abandoned entirely by accident.
There are cities around the world that are thousands of years old. Paris, Berlin, and London have stood the test of time and continue to be the cultural epicenters of their respective countries. On the flip side, there are abandoned towns that used to have thriving communities but, for many reasons, have lost their populations. One historical village in Spain was evacuated due to an impending accident, but that accident never occurred.
Founded in the 9th century, Granadilla was a fortress village home to many Spaniards. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the people of the village were forcibly removed. Its medieval architecture and various castles attract visitors to this day, eager to see the ancient town. Many who visit are clueless about why the village was suddenly evacuated, especially since it had been a flourishing town for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, a mistake by the Spanish government led to this picturesque village’s demise.
Granadilla wasn’t founded by coincidence. The now abandoned town was strategically created by Muslims who migrated to Spain, placing their population atop an overlook that had a direct view of the Ruta de la Plata. The Ruta de la Plata was a bustling trading and travel route in Spain, and having a bird’s eye view of the road kept the villagers safe from attacks. Not only was the town placed in an advantageous position, but its impeccable architecture also helped keep trespassers away. Today, the fortress walls of the village are still intact.
The demise of Granadilla began in the 1950s, over a thousand years after its inception. Spain was ruled by the dictator Francisco Franco in the 50s, who was adamant about building up the country’s infrastructure. His primary focus was on constructing dams to increase the nation’s economy. As Franco started building up reservoirs around the country, he decided he wanted to create a giant reservoir right where Granadilla was. The builders decided that Granadilla had to be evacuated to construct the damn correctly.
From 1959 to 1969, the 1,000 residents that were living in Granadilla were removed by the Spanish military. Many of the inhabitants ended up living right around the abandoned town. One of the main reasonings the government gave Granadilla villages their evacuation was that impending flooding would be highly hazardous for living conditions. Their prediction came true when the fortress village flooded in 1963, but the water ended up only covering routes outside the fortress and never flooded the actual town.
Many individuals evacuated from Granadilla recall the frustration and hopelessness of leaving their beloved homeland. Eugenio Jiménez, president of the Association Sons of Granadilla, elaborated on the helplessness of the situation. The townspeople had “no rights” under the dictatorship, which forced them to be evacuated even when the villagers knew the city was too elevated to be flooded. Jiménez is still having trouble today with the democratic government, though, as he desperately attempts to regain the abandoned town.
The current government maintains the decree enacted by dictator Franco back in the 1950s. Former Granadilla residents believe that they rightfully deserve to gain access back into the abandoned town since it’s proven that flooding is no longer a hazard.