A town completely destroyed during the Spanish civil war, any reconstruction prohibited by the dictator, the ruins left to remind us of the cruelties of warfare, that is Belchite el viejo. A new town was built next to it by captured Republican soldiers who were interned in the nearby concentration camp. Belitche is a place where history can be experienced in an unusual way, by wandering through a town left after fierce battle.
Entrance to the old Belchite is only possible with a guided tour which you have to book in advance. (Tickets) English or German explanations are available. First we did a tour around the confined area as we had enough time, which already gave us great views.
The Battle of Belchite were a series of military operations that took place between 24 August and 7 September 1937, in and around the small town of Belchite, during the Spanish Civil War. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with anarchists, fought against an insurrection by the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, monarchists, conservatives and traditionalists, led by a military group among whom General Francisco Franco soon achieved a preponderant role. The war had many facets and was variously viewed as class struggle, a religious struggle, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, and between fascism and communism. In early 1939, the Nationalists won the war and ruled Spain until Franco’s death in November 1975.
After this fascinating day in Belchite we decided to return to the river Ebro and follow it to the coast until we reach its delta. More on our next post!