Save the Cortijo del Fraile

Federico Garcia Lorca’s Bodas de Sangre was inspired by a true story that appeared in a Spanish newspaper in 1928. A bride-to-be ran off with another man (her cousin) the night before the wedding, but the groom’s brother discovered the couple and shot and killed the lover. The bride-to-be lived on a farm called El Fraile. Over 75 years later, the ruins of the farm remain in the remote countryside of Nijar in Almeria, accessible only by a poorly marked, unpaved road.

Unfortunately, after years of neglect, the site is now rapidly deteriorating. This state of decay makes for compelling images, but the extent of damage now threatens the future of the buildings on the site. While the structures are recognized as a historic landmark, they reside on private property and so far no action has been taken to preserve or restore them. However, there have been renewed calls for action.

Some fellow photographers have taken up the cause. While I’m not a big fan of HDR images, two images here and here are effective at supporting the case for urgent intervention. Another Flickr account devoted to shaming those who trash the Cabo de Gata natural park has another striking image. And, of course, there is now a Facebook group devoted to saving the Cortijo del Fraile.

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