Ruined Old Town, Corbera d'Ebre
The ghost town
of what used to be Corbera d'Ebre
before it was completely destroyed in the Battle of the Ebro
in northern Spain
towards the end of the Spanish Civil War
. After the war it was left in its ruined state to serve as a memorial, while a new town was built down the hill.
In the past, the ghost town could be visited for free at any time, but this has changed. It is now administered the "Associació del Poble Vell" ('Old Town Association') and an admission fee is charged. But that's just as well, as money is needed for the preservation of the site and they also offer guided tours and documentation material – see poblevell(dot)cat. They work in association with, but independently from, the Consorci Memorial dels Espais de la Batalla de l'Ebre.
What there is to see: Mainly just some ruined buildings and the partially reconstructed church at the top of the hill. Some buildings on the edge of the old town are actually not ruins, but restored, once you're up the main street, however, you are indeed surrounded by rubble.
The ruins are not as impressive, in that beauty-in-decay kind of aesthetic way, as in Belchite
– also because this village was much smaller than Belchite – but it still conveys a certain impression of wartime destruction – see the photo gallery
The ghost town
is partially commodified through information panels
, following an “alphabet route” and interspersed amongst the ruins are also several works of art
, including a cross with the single word “terror” on it, which makes for an unexpected juxtaposition with the church building as its backdrop.
The old church has been stabilized and is protected from the elements by a new plastic roof, and you can enter parts of the interior. In particular you can climb the tower to the top for good aerial views over the town and the surrounding landscape. Back down at ground level you can inspect some more artwork as well as a wooden model of old Corbera d'Ebre before its destruction. There is even a small souvenir stall.
On one wall of the church is a memorial plaque
that lists a few names of people, presumably from this village or of survivors of the battles here, who died in the Mauthausen concentration camp
(where many captured Republicans were sent after the Spanish Civil War
You can also go on guided tours
offered locally (see below
), but I can't say anything about these as I visited the site with my own guide I had for the entire two days of Spanish Civil War themed explorations in the region. He was also able to point out e.g. the locations of where particular British soldiers fell or details such as graffiti inside one of the ruins apparently left behind by a member of the International Brigades.
, the ghost town
of Corbera d'Ebre
is certainly not on a par with the highly atmospheric Belchite
in Aragon, but still worth a visit when in the Terra Alta area.
Access and costs: not difficult to find, rather inexpensive.
to get to the ruined town you can either walk up the hill from the new town of Corbera d'Ebre
, or if you have a vehicle drive up to the small car park by the entrance to the ghost town if you want to spare yourself part of the ascent.
You have to buy a ticket to be admitted into the ghost town, but it's not expensive at a mere 2 euros.
Guided tours are also offered for 5 euros per person; these take place regularly on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and last for an hour and a half. (To arrange a guided tour phone 608 863616).
Opening times (for self-guided visits): in summer daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 to 8:30 p.m.; in winter only at weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (but visits outside these times can be arranged in advance by phoning the number above).
Time required: guided tours last an hour and a half, but without a guide you probably need much less time, maybe only half that.
Combinations with non-dark destinations:
See under Ebro
- Corbera 01 - old village seen from Cota 402 hill
- Corbera 02 - sign
- Corbera 03 - entering the old town
- Corbera 04 - battered information panel
- Corbera 05 - alphabet map
- Corbera 06 - A
- Corbera 07 - cat g
- Corbera 08 - church tower
- Corbera 09 - inside the church
- Corbera 10 - climbing the tower
- Corbera 11 - looking down inside the tower
- Corbera 12 - in the top of the tower
- Corbera 13 - looking out from the top of the tower
- Corbera 14 - view over the old and new towns
- Corbera 15 - ruins of the old town
- Corbera 16 - back down in the church
- Corbera 17 - model of the old town
- Corbera 18 - art installation
- Corbera 19 - Mauthausen victims plaque
- Corbera 20 - snake art
- Corbera 21 - stepping into the ruined old town
- Corbera 22 - destruction
- Corbera 23 - old graffiti
- Corbera 24 - ruins
- Corbera 25 - some walls have eyes
- Corbera 26 - old street
- Corbera 27 - broken
- Corbera 28 - rusty art with cross
- Corbera 29 - church and terror
- Corbera 30 - looking down towards the new town
- Corbera 31 - looking out over the surrounding land