Despite its noble look, its elegant walls and unique solid buildings, La Fresneda was one of the cores of the land collectivization movement back in 1936. The town’s libertarian spirit made it an important centre in the main Spanish anarchist labour union of the time, unlike anywhere else in the region. The official currency was abolished and a new one was created. This utopia was regrettably blown away by the conflict.
As we move forward, we leave behind forgotten settlements, mediterranean vegetation, a majestic mass of rocks.
The sun above us and among the cultivated fields a small village is seen: Horta de Sant Joan stands out in a picturesque spot on a hill. Under the Muslim rule across almost 500 years, the town was reconquered by Christians in XII century and some olive trees that embrace the town still go back to the Muslim domination. “Everything I know I learnt in Horta” Pablo Picasso once said: during his youth, the painter spent some time in town, almost three decades before painting his shriek to Guernica, one of the towns shattered by the Civil War. On our way our eyes enjoy the vertical symphony of the Roques Benet, the calcareous mountain pass of the Canaletes river, the vertigo of the higher section of the sierra de Pandols. Enclosed by steep rocks, the road turns narrower as we head towards Corbera d’Ebre, the final destination of our route.
An interminable lapse of time, lasted over one hundred days of offensive, between June and September 1938. The town was razed to the ground by the enduring bombings: while the lower part of Corbera was rebuilt, the old centre and the church of Sant Pere still stand on top of the hill, shattered and bleeding, as a reminder.
I hear just the creek of my breaks as we stop in front of the old church. Today, there is a huge silence.
Photography. Facu Aguirre
Words. Eliseu T. Climent
Artwork. Pol Montserrat
The story was originally published in Spanish with the title “Entre dos frentes”
by our friends at VOLATA (#6 January 2016).