The medieval castle town of Granadilla is a ghost town. Visitors can peer into empty rooms, wander along the walled streets and view the city from the top of its castle. But nobody lives there. Not since all the residents were kicked out in the 1960s.
Originally founded by Muslims in the 9th century, Granadilla occupied a strategic location that allowed its inhabitants to keep a watchful eye on the Ruta de la Plata, an ancient trade and travel route across the region.
Over the years, the town’s rule changed hands, and today it is one of the few Spanish fortress villages where the ancient walls are still intact. But the community that lived here until the 1960s is not.
The end began in the 1950s, during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, when Spain began a massive dam-building project as a way to boost the economy during a period of isolation. The largest of these efforts was the Gabriel y Galán Reservoir on the Alagón River, and in 1955, officials decreed that Granadilla was in the flood zone and therefore had to be evacuated.
Over the course of 10 years, from 1959 to 1969, all 1,000 residents were forcibly evicted, many of them moved to settlement settlements near the village. When the water began to rise in 1963, it covered all but one road to the village, turning it into a peninsula. But this is as high as the water – the city itself was never flooded. However, residents have not been allowed to return.