For the Spain they believed to be better
An invitation to recover historical memory in Spain
In el Valle de los Caídos
The Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caídos) is located in the Sierra de Guadarrama some 8 miles north of El Escorial. The complex was built between 1940 and 1958 and is a monument intended to commemorate all those who died on both sides during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). About 40,000 Nationalist and Republican soldiers are buried here. However, the Valley of the Fallen is inevitably associated with Franco's regime since the late General is buried inside the basilica and he was the one who ordered its construction.
According to the official program records, 2,643 workers participated directly in the construction, some of them highly skilled, as required by the complexity of the work. Only 243 of these were convicts. During the eighteen-year construction period, the official tally of workers who died as result of accidents during the building of the monument totalled fourteen.
However, it is claimed that by 1943, the number of prisoners who were working at the site reached close to six hundred. It is also claimed that up to 20,000 prisoners were used for the overall construction of the monument and that forced labor took place.
The main entrance to the basilica is located on the east side in the big esplanade that has a surface of 30,600 m². The basilica was excavated in the rock and extends along a 262-meter (860 feet) long nave with six chapels (three on each side) devoted to the Virgin Mary. At the foot of the high altar are the graves of Francisco Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Spanish Falange.
Built on top of a rocky cliff known as Risco de la Nava at 1,400 meters above sea level, the Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen is the largest in the world.
These photos were taken in December 2016