115 Days exhibition
One of the main exhibitions about the Battle of the Ebro
, located in Corbera d'Ebre
in Catalonia, northern Spain
. The name derives from the number of days the battle lasted.
The “115 Days” Interpretation Centre is the main museum exhibition about the Battle of the Ebro run by the Consorci Memorial dels Espais de la Batalla de l'Ebre (COMEBE), located in the small town of Corbera d'Ebre
The consortium was set up in April 2001, and the “115 Days” Interpretation Centre opened in July 2008. Its young age shows in the modern style of the presentation (see below).
Unlike the other interpretation centres in the COMEBE portfolio, which pick out specific subtopics or angles, this one in Corbera d'Ebre provides a general overview of the whole of the Battle of the Ebro
(and even beyond, especially the aftermath). It is thus the most comprehensive such exhibition in its topical coverage.
What there is to see: From the minute you enter you get the clear impression that this is one very modern museum, by design, layout and presentation techniques.
The exhibition rooms are rather dark with lighting focusing on the displays and also for the benefit of the film and audiovisual elements. There is a large screen onto which footage is projected, with seats in front, while some other large screens provide background illustration only, as well as various smaller flatscreens with interactive content and videos.
All of this material is in Catalan/Spanish only. The same goes for the text panels and the labelling – however: you can borrow from reception a folder with translations of all the texts into English (but not the video/screen material).
Visually, the exhibition is quite varied and appealing in its design. There are traditional text-and-photo panels as well as large blow-ups of representative images. Artefacts are presented either in the collection style within glass display cabinets or arranged into life-size diorama style 'scenes' pertinent to the topics in question (e.g. a whole dining room of a rural home, a workshop illustrating mobilization, a trench scene with soldiers in a sandbag-protected position reading field post, etc.).
The objects on display include the usual weaponry and ammunition as well as grenades and bombs of all sizes (though this exhibition does not have any really large objects like the La Trinxera
exhibition or, especially, the one in Fayón
). Also to be seen are gas masks, a field telephone, provisions and bowls and spoons, and some uniforms. The most surprising object of them all, I found was a three-armed candleholder fashioned from an artillery shell.
Thematically the exhibition is subdivided into blocks: “St James Night” looks at the run-up to and the beginning of the battle and especially the first crossing of the Ebro. The second section is about the 115 days of fighting. The third section is called “Re-crossing of the Ebro” and is all about the eventual defeat of the Republican troops. The final section “The Scars of Conflict” is about the after-effects, all the destruction left behind, the exodus of refugees and the post-war repressions of the Franco regime.
This interpretation centre also has a veritable museum shop attached. On offer are proper tourist souvenir items such as caps, T-shirts, coffee mugs and so forth bearing the logo of the Espais de la Batalla de l'Ebre (all very reasonably priced) as well as numerous books (most in Catalan, but there was also a bilingual one with parallel English text and lots of period photos that my guide recommended, so I picked up a copy here – it's called “Prelude to the Last Battle”).
All in all
, I found this one of the better exhibitions in the region (together with the Internationals
in La Fatarella
) in terms of the balance between artefacts and narrative as well as the varied style of presentation.
You still have to be a Spanish Civil War
history buff to get the most out of this, though. The minutia of how the battles developed, what battle plans there were and exactly where and how they were (or weren't) executed often got into too much detail for my liking. I noticed my attention span was struggling with things like the various names/numbers of battalions or commanders involved.
Those into these things won't be disappointed by the amount of detail, others may want to skip some of the more intricate and demanding parts of the purely military aspects. The way the exhibition is laid out, it is conducive to such somewhat more selective approaches. And that's a good thing, I think.
So if you can only see one of the various exhibitions on this theme in the region, I'd say make it this one: It has the widest coverage within a relatively manageable space and presents a more or less complete overview of the story of the Battle of the Ebro
on the southern edge of the little town of Corbera d'Ebre
. Address: 18-24, Carrer Freginals, 43784 Corbera d’Ebre (Terra Alta), Catalonia, Spain
Access and costs: easy enough to get to by car; not expensive.
Details: Corbera d'Ebre
is easiest to reach by car. From the main through street, Carrer Terra Alta, take Carrer Santa Madrona southbound and take the second street to the left, Carrer Freginals. The museum is ca. a hundred yards further down that street. Parking by the roadside shouldn't be a problem anywhere along this street.
Opening times: year-round, Tuesdays to Saturdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., Sundays only 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., closed Mondays as well as over Christmas, on New Year's Day, 6 January, 24 June, and 11 September.
Admission: 4 EUR (concession 2 EUR).
Time required: Between one and two hours, depending on how much you want to read.
Combinations with other dark destinations:
There's another museum on the same theme, the Battle of the Ebro, in Corbera d'Ebre, called La Trinxera
, just 300 yards away from the 115 Days exhibition, but of a very different nature (less polished and hi-tech, but with remarkable artefacts on display) – so a perfect combination, provided it's open (or you've made arrangements for it to open for you). The rest of Corbera d'Ebre
is also of interest, especially the ruined old town
- 115 Days 01 - entrance
- 115 Days 02 - complicated opening-times schedule
- 115 Days 03 - inside
- 115 Days 04 - displays
- 115 Days 05 - very visual
- 115 Days 06 - dining-room mock-up
- 115 Days 07 - life-in-the-trenches mock-up
- 115 Days 08 - machine guns
- 115 Days 09 - grenades
- 115 Days 10 - ammo
- 115 Days 11 - these packs look as good as new
- 115 Days 12 - big ammo
- 115 Days 13 - bomb turned into a candle holder
- 115 Days 14 - footwear
- 115 Days 15 - gun and field phone
- 115 Days 16 - bits and pieces
- 115 Days 17 - gas mask
- 115 Days 18 - interactive element
- 115 Days 19 - video projection
- 115 Days 20 - proper souvenirs