An elevation just to the north-west of Corbera d'Ebre
, where the 35th International Division had its command post during the earlier phases of the Battle of the Ebro
in the Spanish Civil War
. An association of local war history enthusiasts has restored and partly reconstructed trenches and crude fortifications from back then.
Cota 402 means 'Hill 402' – the number is apparently derived from the elevation above sea level.
More excavation and restoration work was ongoing when I visited iso the place is likely to develop further.
What there is to see: Basically just a few old trenches and more recent reconstructions of a few positions and shelters and observation points. Some stretches of these are lovingly adorned with fake barbed wire (simply black string with knots tied into it at regular intervals, strung up between wooden poles). But a couple of positions still have real barbed wire on them too.
You can clearly see from the colour of the soil that some of these trenches have been re-dug quite recently. The non-restored original trench lines are hardly discernible to the untrained eye.
Apart from a small metal plaque marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Ebro, there is no commodification
. The guide I came with (see under Ebro
) was able to bring the place to life a bit, but without any such narrative it's only really worth coming up here if you have a keen interest in trench reconstructions and want to see every little historical spot in the region.
That said, though, the view from the south-easternmost observation point over Corbera d'Ebre
is very good – also because you can indeed only see the ruined old town
(now a ghost town
), because the newly constructed new town that replaced it is hidden behind the hill the old town sits on from this vantage point. So you get a visual impression of what it was like back then – a tiny little element of time travel, if you wish.
All in all, though, it was really one of the more minor stops during the time I spent exploring the region on the Spanish Civil War
less than a mile (1.4 km) to the north-west of Corbera d'Ebre, northern Spain
Access and costs: a bit off the beaten track and potentially a little tricky to find; free
To get to Cota 402 you'll need a car or hill-climbing stamina, if you want to walk it all the way from Corbera d'Ebre
. In any case you first have to find the track that leads up the hillside from just north of the ruined Old Town, as the extension of Carrer Vall de la Aubaga that skirts the Old Town on the east.
Keep driving north-west and after about half a mile (800 m) a sign saying “Cota 402” plus a red arrow indicates a turn-off onto a dirt track that after another few hundred yards (ca. 700 m) leads to a spot where you can park. Here another sign tells you that you've come to the right spot. The rest has to be done on foot.
The place is accessible freely at all times (though only in daylight makes sense, really), though parts may at times be undergoing restoration work and may thus be off limits temporarily.
Time required: not long, unless you are really massively enthusiastic about trenches. Perhaps half an hour or less.
Combinations with non-dark destinations:
the fine views over Corbera d'Ebre
and the valley can arguably be regarded as the non-dark aspect of visiting this site.
For more, also further afield, see under Ebro
- 402 Hill - 01 - sign
- 402 Hill - 02 - smaller sign
- 402 Hill - 03 - at the top
- 402 Hill - 04 - reconstructions
- 402 Hill - 05 - high above Corbera
- 402 Hill - 06 - trenches
- 402 Hill - 07 - positions
- 402 Hill - 08 - with mock barbed wire
- 402 Hill - 09 - fake barbed wire
- 402 Hill - 10 - observation post
- 402 Hill - 11 - more trenches
- 402 Hill - 12 - trench relics only discernible to the trained eye
- 402 Hill - 13 - memorial plaque
- 402 Hill - 14 - looking out over Terra Alta