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The medieval ghost town of Granadilla, one of the most beautiful ghost towns in Spain

Bojan Ivanov
Left: View of the town and the Gabriel and Galan Reservoir. Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es Right: Abandoned streets in Granadilla. Photo credit: Patrick, CC BY-SA 3.0
Left: View of the town and the Gabriel and Galan Reservoir. Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es Right: Abandoned streets in Granadilla. Photo credit: Patrick, CC BY-SA 3.0

Granadilla is an abandoned walled town of medieval origin located in the northwest of the province of Caceres in Spain.

Since 1960, Granadilla has been part of the municipality of Zarza de Granadilla. In the past, the little town was the capital of the region and an important economic and strategic center.

View of Granadilla from the wall. Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es 

View of Granadilla from the wall. Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

The Castle of Granadilla. Photo credit: Almudena, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

The Castle of Granadilla. Photo credit: Almudena, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

As a result of the construction of the Gabriel and Galan Reservoir, the town became a flood zone and dangerous place for residents. It was deserted in the middle of the 20th century.

However, the town has never actually flooded, not even in the days when the reservoir was at its highest peak. It simply became isolated because the main roads that led to the town were flooded. Now Granadilla is positioned on a peninsula surrounded by the waters of the reservoir.

Nevertheless, its former inhabitants never returned and it remains in the official government documents as a flood zone. The town today is visited only by tourists and comes alive during the summer. Throughout the rest of the year, Granadilla is empty but also one of the most beautiful ghost towns in Spain.

Abandoned streets in Granadilla. Photo credit: Patrick, CC BY-SA 3.0

Abandoned streets in Granadilla. Photo credit: Patrick, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

The Parish Church. Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

The Parish Church. Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

 

View of the town and the Gabriel and Galan Reservoir. Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

View of the town and the Gabriel and Galan Reservoir. Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

The town was founded by the Muslims in the 9th century. It was a significant point of the route that connected Europe and Africa. Therefore, it had to be built well protected. Within the high walls, the most impressive building is the Castle of Granadilla.

The castle was raised in the northwestern part of the town, which was its most vulnerable region. At first, the Muslims built only a guard tower, but later Christian forces expanded the tower into a castle known as the Christian Castle. The castle has four floors: a basement with dungeons and water cistern, two floors that served as sleeping space and a top floor that housed weaponry. In 1160, King Ferdinand II of Leon conquered the town.

He populated the town and made it a powerful stronghold that served as a barrier against the Arabs and Muslims that ruled the southern part of Spain. Until 1492, the town was called Granada. But after the conquest of the town of Granada (now in the autonomous community of Andalusia), the town was renamed Granadilla to avoid confusion.

One of the houses (Casa de las Conchas). Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

One of the houses (Casa de las Conchas). Photo credit: Discasto, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

 

The Castle of Granadilla. Photo credit: Francisco Javier García Núñez

The Castle of Granadilla. Photo credit: Francisco Javier García Núñez

 

The view from the top of the castle. Photo credit: Almudena, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

The view from the top of the castle. Photo credit: Almudena, CC BY-SA 3.0 es

Other significant buildings in Granadilla are the houses of the important families of the town and the several churches. Some of the houses are still in their original form. Since 1984, the town has been part of the preservation effort for abandoned towns. Students and volunteers help in the preservation of this historic town.