Lo riu exposition
An exhibition in La Fatarella
, in the Terra Alta region of Catalonia, northern Spain
, that is about the Spanish Civil War
, more precisely about the final phase of it and the Battle of the Ebro
as well as its aftermath. It's more battlefield-archaeological in nature than any of the other war-topical exhibitions in the Ebro. This makes it rather specialist.
The full official name of this place is “Exposició 1938, l'última resistència republicana a l'Ebre” associated with the Espais històrics da la Batalla de l'Ebre, and run by the “River Association for the Study of Historical and Archaeological Heritage of the Terres de l'Ebre”, or just “River Association” for short, or “Lo Riu” (even shorter) in Catalan.
That is: this place is not part of the portfolio of the Consorci Memorial dels Espais de la Batalla de l'Ebre (COMEBE) that runs the Internationals exhibition
that's just round the corner, nor is it associated with the CeBe in Gandesa
All this can be important because, as my guide let on that, there are different “factions”, as it were, within the local circles of battlefield archaeologists and historians and there are some real rivalries and animosities between them.
But for the outsider, especially a foreign visitor this has at best practical implications. That is why it is a good idea to visit these less “official” sites and exhibitions with the sort of guide who can “mediate” between the different factions – such as the man I used when I was on my tour of the region (see under Ebro
What there is to see: Not all that much, certainly not in terms of what is accessible to the non-specialist.
This is a real battlefield-archaeology buffs' den!
There are a few exhibits, primarily items collected from the battlefields such as grenades, helmets, personal items and clothes, as well as the odd machine gun or pistol. And a number of dummies are dotted around donning the outfits of the various sides involved in the Spanish Civil War
But the main thing here are the intricate charts of the battlefield archaeology dig sites together with photos of finds and the progress of excavations. Some of these sites I had visited with my guide (see under Ebro
) independently and at some of them such excavation and/or reconstruction work was ongoing.
But I found the wealth of archaeological and war history detail a bit overwhelming. So I spent my time here looking around the exhibits and photographing (see the gallery below
) while my guide was talking shop with the people who run this exhibition and are involved in the archaeological digs. They clearly had a lot to exchange, chatting away for at least half an hour. But since all that was in Catalan I didn't get any of what was being said – nor did I even try to listen. My guide just gave me a selective summary afterwards (see also above under background).
All in all
, I found this perhaps the least rewarding of all the various exhibitions I visited in the Ebro
region. It was just too specialist – and very little was to be seen that was engaging enough for the foreign non-expert visitor. But for dyed-in-the-wool Spanish Civil War
history buffs it may well be worth it.
on the western side of the old town centre of La Fatarella
, Catalonia, Spain
, on the intersection of Carrer Vall d'Estudi and Carrer Sunyer.
Access and costs: restricted, but free.
While the address is easy enough to find within La Fatarella
, being literally just a few steps up the road from the Internationals in Ebro exhibition
, I found it impossible to find anything out about regular opening times
. I guess it's one of those places you have to arrange to visit. At least I found some contact details: you could email them at loruiassociacio(at)gmail.com or phone: 646925114 / 639991749 (at least those were the details posted on a wall at the site when I was there in April 2015).
When I visited, it was my guide (see under Ebro
) who phoned ahead and did all the talking with the people at the exhibition (in Catalan – nobody there spoke any English). If you can speak the language well enough, you can try it on your own. But even then I would still recommend using this guide, as he has a very good rapport with the people involved, and without that it can be difficult to get positive responses from them as an outsider.
As far as I can remember I wasn't charged any admission fee when I visited this place – so I presume it is generally free of charge, but I can't be 100% certain.
Time required: not long, unless you are a committed Spanish Civil War battlefield archaeology buff.
Combinations with other dark destinations:
The other war-themed exhibition in La Fatarella
, about the Internationals
, is more easily accessible both in terms of practicalities as well as the nature of its design and topic, especially from the point of view of a foreign visitor. So it's actually much more of a must-do when coming to this little town than the Lo Riu exhibition.
Combinations with non-dark destinations:
See under La Fatarella
and also under Ebro
- LoRiu 01 - outside
- LoRiu 02 - inside
- LoRiu 03 - dummy commie fighter
- LoRiu 04 - inappropriately shod
- LoRiu 05 - display cabinet
- LoRiu 06 - helmets
- LoRiu 07 - guns and ammo
- LoRiu 08 - bigger bits
- LoRiu 09 - hand grenade
- LoRiu 10 - more peaceful relics
- LoRiu 11 - tins of fish
- LoRiu 12 - from Norway
- LoRiu 13 - battlefield archaeology
- LoRiu 14 - crate of hand grenades
- LoRiu 15 - mounted war relics