All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

EOS MAIL BOX

This blog will be available for all those who wish to publish a story or a anything of interest related to Spain and don't necessarily want to write a blog. Just forward your article or story to info@eyeonspain.com and we'll publish it for you....if it's interesting of course!

A Medieval watchtower, where you would NOT expect to find one...
20 November 2019

 

A part of one of the oldest towers in Madrid is nestled among the cars in a nondescript underground car park. Stumbling upon it is a treat for those looking for a place to park before heading to the Royal Palace in Madrid.

The Tower of Bones (la Torre de los Huesos) was built in the 11th century by the area’s Muslim inhabitants. It received its name because it was near Huesa del Raf, the ancient Islamic cemetery. The tower was built two centuries after the 9th-century construction of the walls of Mayrit, the medieval Muslim city that predates the Spanish one.

The looming structure was situated outside the citadel, where it functioned as a surveillance post over the old Arenal stream. When King Alfonso VI of Castile conquered Madrid in the early 11th century, the watchtower was incorporated into the Christian wall.

 

 

The Royal Palace now occupies the space the tower was built to guard. Bits of its base were discovered in 1996 during renovation work on the Plaza de Oriente by workers constructing an underground parking lot. The partially preserved remains are on display where they were found.

The carpark is situated in front of the Royal Palace in the heart of Madrid. The nearest tube station is "Opera."

 

[Contributed by Jane Alice Parker - Galicia]



Like 0        Published at 12:22   Comments (0)


An Unusual Museum
01 November 2019

In the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, one can find an abundance of stately buildings, from ancient and medieval structures to modernist masterpieces. Amongst them is the Palau Mornau, a grand Renaissance-cum-modernist structure that now houses a museum – not of portraiture, or decorative arts, or even Catalan history, but of grass..but not any grass.

The Palau Mornau was originally built in the 16th century as a city palace for the noble Santcliment family. Owned by the family for two centuries, the building was bought in the late 18th century by Josep Francesc Mornau (the “honorary war commissioner of the Royal Armies”) and later changed hands again in the early 20th century, coming under the ownership of one Joan Nadal de Vilardaga, the brother of the mayor of Barcelona.
The new owner undertook a major renovation of the palace, transforming the building into a masterpiece of the Modernisme style that was changing the face of Barcelona at the time and continues to be a major architectural signature of the city. The renovation included stained glass windows, floral wrought-iron balconies, a faux stone facade, and exquisite interior design that imparted every room with uniquely styled floors, ceilings, walls, and windows.

 

     


By 2001, however, the building had fallen into disuse and disrepair, when it was a discovered by Ben Dronkers, a Dutch entrepreneur and philanthropist who had started Amsterdam’s Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in 1985. Seeking to expand the museum’s facilities and mission beyond Amsterdam, he purchased the Palau Mornau and embarked on a ten-year project of meticulous renovation – a sensitive task, given the building’s status as a national monument. Once the restoration was completed, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Barcelona opened its doors to great fanfare in May of 2012, with the grand opening featuring drug policy reform advocate Richard Branson. 

 


The museum’s permanent collection contains approximately 8000 objects related to cannabis cultivation and utilization throughout human history, including medicine bottles, apothecary kits, prescription bottles, paintings, pipes, sculptures, and film posters. Exhibit topics deal with not only recreational and medicinal uses of cannabis, but also industrial applications, legislative history, and the horticultural considerations of cannabis cultivation. 

 

[Contributed by J.Z Feren]



Like 0        Published at 14:28   Comments (0)


BREXIT Q&A for UK nationals and their family members regarding residency in Spain
27 September 2019

Source: https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/brexit/howtoprepare/Paginas/190108residence.aspx 

Compiled by Maria de Castro - Lawyer 

 

We have compiled below a number of Questions that will certainly solve some of your doubts regarding Brexit and residency in Spain:

 

BEFORE THE DATE OF WITHDRAWAL

 

1. I live in Spain but have never registered as a Spanish resident, should I do it before withdrawal date?

Yes, if you do not have a registration certificate as an EU citizen in Spain ( the Green Certificate) by the Central Register of Foreign Nationals ( Registro Central de Extranjeros), you need to get an appointment and obtain one

2. Where should I get that appointment?

At the police station in your province

3. Can I obtain it through the Internet?

Not all police stations offer appointments via the internet. You may need to contact them by phone as some police stations are also overloaded by this. 

 

AFTER THE DATE OF WITHDRAWAL

With a Withdrawal Agreement

4. What will my situation be if I am already a resident in Spain?

During the transition- after Brexit period which will last, at least till 31st December 2020, UK Nationals and their family members resident in Spain—who are nationals of non-EU countries—will keep their EU rights ( with the exception of two: (1) the right to vote and stand in elections to the European Parliament and (2)  the right to use the EU Citizens Initiative..

Once the transition period ends, the Withdrawal Agreement stipulates that your rights of residence, work, study and social security will be maintained.

Green cards obtained before the end of the transition period will subsequently serve to accredit legal residence in Spain and benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.  For this reason, during the transition period, you may request the issue of a Foreigner Identity Card that explicitly mentions your condition as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. This will facilitate both administrative procedures and any crossing of the external EU border.

This European Commission document includes questions and answers on who benefits from the Withdrawal Agreement and what their rights are.

 

5. Will UK nationals resident in Spain have to obtain a work permit to continue their professional activity in Spain?

No. The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of EU citizens and British nationals, as well as their respective family members, to continue living, working or studying as they do now and under the same basic conditions as under EU law. You may, therefore, continue to work as now without any additional permit.

 

6. Do family members of a UK national who are nationals of non-EU countries and resident in Spain have a special status?

Family members will maintain their status of family members of an EU citizen during the transition period and after it.

 

7. What if I arrive in Spain during the transition period--after Brexit and  before 31st December 2020? 

During that period, you must directly request the residence document ( Green certificate) at the office for foreign residents (Oficina de Extranjería) in the province where you live. After the necessary checkings by the Spain administration, you will obtain the same Foreigner Identity Card, explicitly maintaining your condition as a beneficiary under the Withdrawal Agreement.

 

8. What about those UK citizens who will begin their legal residence in Spain after the transition period?

 These will have those rights established by the Withdrawal Agreement regulating future relations. In case no rights are stipulated, the situation will be governed by the general arrangements governing foreign residents in Spain.

 

Without a Withdrawal Agreement

9. What will my situation be if I am already a resident in Spain?

Spanish Government has provided for a period of 21 months from the date of the UK's withdrawal without an agreement for the UK nationals resident in Spain before withdrawal and their family members to obtain the new documentation (Foreigner Identity Card - TIE) that provides proof of your residence in Spain.

Until you obtain the necessary documents, for a period of 21 months your residence will continue to be legal.

Registration certificates (the Green Certificate) and the cards of family members of an EU citizen will serve as proof of their legal residence in Spain for a period of 21 months after the UK's withdrawal from the EU without an agreement and until they obtain the TIE. This document will be definitive proof of your residence in Spain.

 

10. Where will TIE be obtained after  UK's withdrawal without an agreement?

At Police Stations. You will receive your TIE within 3 months after your application.

11. What will happen after the UK's withdrawal without an agreement if I reside in Spain but don't have a registration certificate? Will I be able to continue to reside in Spain? 

Yes.  Your residence will continue to be legally provided that you were resident in Spain before the withdrawal. However, before the expiry of the 21-month period following the date of withdrawal without an agreement, you must obtain the Foreigner Identity Card (TIE). This document will be definitive proof of your residence in Spain.

12. Obtention of the TIE

    How is the process?

 1. An application form needs to be presented by either you or your representative at the migration office of the province in which you live or by electronic means.

 Among other requirements, you must prove that you were a resident in Spain before the withdrawal date. Means of proof are:

  • Certificate of registration with the local authorities
  • Rental contract
  • Ownership of property
  • Employment contract
  • Enrolment at a study centre.

2. Once the authorisation has been granted, you must request the TIE at the corresponding police station. This procedure must be done by you in person.

      How long does it take to get a TIE?

The authorisation is granted within 3 months from application. After this, you must apply for the TIE within a month from the notification.

     Do the documents need to be originals?

Yes, documents must be original.

If you apply for the authorisation online (this procedure will be available for people who do not have a registration certificate) you must submit copies of them.  IN order to apply online, you must have an electronic signature.

Any official documents required must be translated and notarized if necessary.

     Do I have to provide proof of income?

Yes, you do IF (1)  if you do not have a registration certificate and (2) do not engage in a professional or employment activity in Spain.

     Do I have to submit a criminal record certificate?

You do not have to submit a criminal record certificate but the competent authority may check it.

       Can I keep working or studying in Spain while I obtain the new documentation?

Yes. Provided that you are a resident in Spain before the withdrawal date, your residence during the 21 month period will continue to be legal, and you may, therefore, continue to work and study in Spain.

      What will happen if an application is rejected? What are the deadlines for appealing the decision?

If your application is rejected, you must file an administrative appeal. The decision itself will indicate the procedures for filing an appeal, the deadlines and where you must file it. After this administrative examination, you may take judicial action.

13. I have been a resident in Spain for more than 5 years. Will I be eligible for long-term residence if there is a no-deal withdrawal?

Yes, provided that you meet the eligibility requirements.  See Article 5 of Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 of 1 March. You should take into account the following:

  • If you already had a permanent registration certificate ( green certificate), obtaining the TIE will require a procedure at the police authorities
  • If you did not have the registration certificate or the registration certificate is temporary in nature, another procedure at the foreign nationals office will be required in addition to one before at police authorities.

In both cases, your passport must be valid.

 

14. What documents do I need to cross borders within the Schengen Area?

You must have a valid British passport and the document proving your status as a resident in Spain (TIE).

Within the period of 21 months from withdrawal, the provisional document (e.g. registration certificate or family member's card) will allow you to cross borders within the EU: Work is being done with the Commission to extend the provisional documents.

 

15. What documents will I need to move to another EU Member State for a period of more than 3 months?

You must obtain the documentation that proves your residence in Spain as a third-country national (TIE). However, this documentation only authorises you to reside and work in Spain. If you want to do so in another Member State, you will have to request the corresponding authorisation in that Member State under the requirements for each case in the legislation of the said country.

16. What is my situation if I arrive in Spain after the withdrawal date? What do I have to do?

From the day following the withdrawal date, UK nationals will have the condition of third-country nationals and the general arrangements for foreigners in Spain will be applicable to them. 

17. Will UK nationals have to obtain a work permit to continue their professional activity in Spain?

They must request the documentation corresponding to their new condition as third-country nationals within 21 months from the withdrawal date. During this period their residence in Spain is legal and they may engage in their professional activity. In any event, once they obtain the Foreigner Identity Card it will definitively accredit their residence and employment status in Spain.

18. Do family members of a UK national who are nationals of third countries and resident in Spain have a special status?

Family members must obtain the documentation corresponding to their new condition as family members of third-country nationals within 21 months of the withdrawal date.

If they hold a residence card as a family member of an EU citizen, they must apply to have it replaced by a Foreigner Identity Card ( TIE)  at the corresponding police authorities.

If they do not have the card of a family member of an EU citizen, they must apply for a residence and work permit as a family member of a UK national, at the office for foreign residents of the province where they reside. This application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and if it is accepted, they may then apply for the Foreigner Identity Card.

NOTE: In any event, the validity period of this temporary residence and work permit will be linked to the validity of the residence and work permit of the family member who is a UK national.

19. How long will a UK national be allowed to leave Spain without losing the long-term resident status?

You may leave for a maximum period of 12 consecutive months.

You must take into account that at the time when your status becomes one of a long-term residence, a check will be made to verify that your residence has been continuous. This is not affected by absence from Spain in the terms provided for by the law on foreign nationals.

20. How long will third-country family members of a UK national be allowed to leave Spain for without losing their resident status?

They may leave for a maximum period of 12 consecutive months.

You must take into account that at the time when your status becomes one of a long-term residence, a check will be made to verify that your residence has been continuous. This is not affected by absence from Spain in the terms provided for by the law on foreign nationals.

21. I am a UK national and reside in Spain. Can I travel to another Member State?

To travel to another Member State of the Schengen Area, you must have a valid passport and the document proving your residence in Spain (TIE).

If what you want is to travel to another EU Member State that does not belong to the Schengen Area, you must also take into account whether the EU country requires a visa.

NOTE: The European Commission has presented a proposal to waive visa requirements for UK nationals for stays of less than three months, provided that European citizens receive reciprocal treatment for entry to the UK. This proposal is in the legislative procedure phase for adoption by the Council of the Union and the European Parliament.

22.  I am a UK national resident in Spain who wishes to study at university in another Member State. What do I have to do?

To study at a university in another Member State you must apply for the corresponding permit in accordance with the national law of the corresponding Member State.

Take into account that the residence permit arranged by Spain under Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 does not allow you to move to study in a university in other Member State.

If you participate in an EU or multilateral programme that includes mobility measures, or measures that are covered by an agreement between two or more higher education institutions, it may be a good idea to request an authorisation study associated with such an agreement under Article 44 of Royal Decree 557/2011 of 20 April, approving the Regulation on Foreign Residents with respect to the right to movement within the EU for study purposes.

 

https://www.costaluzlawyers.es/



Like 1        Published at 19:52   Comments (6)


A reminder to what was the world's greatest source of mercury
13 September 2019

 

Mercury, also known as quicksilver, is a beautiful, mirror-skinned metal that is liquid at room temperature. Unfortunately, it is also extremely toxic.

For many years, the world's greatest source of mercury were the mines at Almadén, Spain, which produced some 250,000 metric tons of mercury over nearly two millennia of operation.

So when Spain decided to build a monument to the mine (which was long worked by criminals and slave laborers, most of whom died of mercury poisoning), they commissioned American sculptor Alexander Calder to build a graceful fountain which, instead of water, would pump pure mercury. It was to be displayed at the 1937 World's Fair.

At the time, the inherent beauty of the liquid metal was well understood, but its toxicity was not. Today, the fountain resides in the Fundacio Joan Miro in Barcelona, Spain, and continues to pump pure mercury, though now it does so behind a pane of glass to protect viewers from touching or breathing fumes produced by this deadly work of art.

 

  

[Contributed by P. Spokes]



Like 0        Published at 18:46   Comments (0)


The Pink Salt Lakes of Torrevieja
05 September 2019

 

Two colourful salt lakes flank the northwestern edge of the seaside city of Torrevieja on Spain’s Costa Blanca. Together, they form a nature reserve called Las Salinas de Torrevieja. One lake, in particular, stands out, as its eye-catching 'bubblegum' pink colour overshadows its green-tinted neighbour.

The sight is caused by the work of bacteria and algae. Halobacterium (also known as “salt bacterium”) thrives in salty places, as does a micro-algae called Dunaliella salina. These are the two magical ingredients that concoct the lake’s bizarre pinky hue. Despite its funky colour, the water is perfectly fine, though it can get rather smelly.

 

 

Torrevieja relies on its salt lakes. People have been collecting the mineral from the waters for centuries. In the early 19th century, they officially became a hub for Spain’s salt industry. In addition to boosting the city’s economy, the lakes also act as a natural spa. Supposedly, the sludge of mud and salt at the bottom have healing properties that can relieve common skin and respiratory ailments. The water’s high salt concentration makes it a fun place to relax and enjoy floating around with ease.

 

Flamingos, much like the local people, also frequent the pink lake. Feasting upon the algae-filled shrimp that live there giving their feathers that characteristic rosy tint that almost matches the water.

 

[Contributed by  Jane McGregor - Torrevieja]
 
 


Like 1        Published at 18:32   Comments (0)


Basque Cod - worth a try!
05 July 2019

Bacalao a la vizcaina is yet another example of the very tasty yet very simple dishes that come from the northern Spanish region of the Basque Country. The main ingredient of Bacalao a la vizcaina is codfish. Cod is perhaps one of the most consumed fish in Spain, although historically this fish was mostly a product eaten during Lent. It is also a fish that is easily fished around the coasts of Spain, of which there is a lot!

Originally from the Basque Country, Vizcaina sauce on the other hand, is a sauce that is extremely versatile and is used in a number of dishes from the region. It is often used for many stews and products such as the pork dish called 'Manos de cerdo con salsa vizcaína'. In some parts of the Basque Country, they even use the sauce in an escargot recipe. However, most people will associate the sauce immediately with cod. Nowadays it is a rather polemic recipe - as is the case with most traditional recipes - the argument whether tomatoes should be one of it's ingredients or not is a very alive debate among gourmets and cooks, though many say that the red ingredient is pepper. Either way, the sauce is a rich red colour and is tasty with either ingredient. So when you come to make this dish, the choice is up to you!

The pepper theory seems historically more plausible, as tomatoes were not used as food in Spain even 200 years after they were imported; first, they were used as ornamental plants. Perhaps, pepper was used originally and then, once the tomato became more commonly used in Spanish cooking, the sauce was adapted. But it doesn't really matter, in truth, there are many formulas to prepare this sauce, and despite how much people may argue about its historical accuracy, they are delicious anyway.

You might find that certain people use a type of Spanish biscuit, often a 'galleta maria', when they are making the sauce. These biscuits are used to help thicken the sauce, but it can often make it much sweeter. The sauce may be thick or runny, depending on your personal taste. If you don't want to use biscuits to thicken your sauce, you could always use plain or corn flour instead, which I prefer.

One of the great things about vizcaina sauce is that it is fairly simple to make and generally uses common and inexpensive ingredients. This means that it is a great option for those people who love Spanish gastronomy, but want to enjoy it on a budget!

 


Bacalao a la Vizcaina | Cod Bizcaine Style

Ingredients:

1 large salted cod loin (or fresh cod loin)
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
2 roasted peppers (preferably chorizo peppers
1 tomato
1 tbs of flour
Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  • Soak the cod loin in water for 24 hours, changing the water every 8 hours to get rid of some of the salt.
  • Then put the cod loin in a pan with cold water and heat. Remove from the heat when it begins to boil.
  • Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil. Stir fry the diced onion until it begins to brown, then add the garlic cloves, peppers and tomato.
  • When all the ingredients are lightly fried add the flour, you need to cook it a little.
  • Add some of the broth in which the cod was cooked (two teacups) and let it boil at low heat. This broth has the flavour and jelly of the cod.
  • When the sauce gets a good thick consistency, add the cod and keep on low heat, only enough time to heat up the cod and then serve!

Enjoy!



Like 0        Published at 21:15   Comments (0)


El Marco - a unique bridge
19 June 2019

 

Though it measures only 10.4 feet long (3.2 meters), this bridge spans two countries. You can effectively cross from one country to another in a single hop.

Funded by the European Union, the tiny wooden piece of infrastructure was built in the first decade of the 21st century by labourers from both the Spain and Portugal sides of the stream.

Known as the "El Marco" bridge, it links the Spanish municipality of La Codosera with the Portuguese Arronches. Given its reduced size, the bridge is largely for pedestrians, not automobiles, though two-wheeled vehicles may use it as well.

The title of World’s Shortest International Bridge is often erroneously awarded to the bridge that spans the United States-Canada border between Zavikon Island and another tiny island that happens to fall in USA territory.
The Portugal-Spain bridge is at least 13 feet (4 meters) shorter than its North American counterpart.

 

 

 

[Shared by Ellen Jones - Badajoz]
 
 


Like 1        Published at 17:15   Comments (1)


A Bizarre Festivity
12 June 2019

Spain has an abundance of bizarre and wonderful festivals, from burning giant effigies and running with bulls to tomato or flour fights and jumping over newborn babies. None may be quite so strange, however, as the coffin procession, which is more commonly known as The Festival of Near Death Experiences or by its local name – the Fiestas de Santa Marta de Ribarteme.

The festival is held in the small village of As Nieves in the municipal of Pontevedra in Galicia and is held every year on July 29th, so not far away now. Galicia is Spain’s westernmost region, bordering Portugal to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the north. The festival is held here because it’s home to the Iglesia de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, the church dedicated to Saint Martha, the sister of Mary Magdalene.

During the event, people who have had near death experiences that year will travel to the village of As Nieves, along with their family and friends. Upon arrival, they will climb into coffins and pretend to be dead, while their family carries them through the streets, along with processions of mourners. People who have had no near death experiences in the family that year must carry empty coffins to show their respect. This strange parade of death-cheaters, families and mourners culminates at the cemetery of the Church of Santa Marta de Ribarteme, where prayers to the statue of Santa Marta begin. The pilgrims pray to the Saint, saying: ‘Virgin Santa Marta, star of the North, we bring you those who saw death’, after which they give thanks that their lives were saved and give a gift to the Saint, usually in the form of money.

 


The festival ends as most Spanish festivals do, with lots of eating, drinking, dancing, music and fireworks. People gather round to here to revellers’ wild stories of how they cheated death, often with plenty of profanity thrown in, and begin to feast. One of the most typical dishes that will be served is Pulpo a Feira, Galician-style octopus, which is boiled, sprinkled with paprika and eaten on a thick wooden plate, often with potato slices at the bottom. There will also be lots of the local Albariño wine to sample, as well as many stalls selling religious icons and trinkets.

 


The festival has roots in both Christianity and paganism, and since many Spanish people are both religious and superstitious they have kept the tradition alive. They believe that it is important to thank the Saint for saving their lives and that she will keep them safe in the year to come. It’s also a great excuse for a party and to spend time with family and friends.

 

[Contributed by - Jane Alice Parker - Galicia]



Like 0        Published at 10:00   Comments (2)


Family-friendly resort in Mallorca goes one step ahead of the the 2021 plastic ban replacing more than 7 million plastic items
28 February 2019

All-inclusive holiday specialist Club Mac Alcudia is going green and ditching plastic at its Majorcan base. Aiming to get one step ahead of the 2021 plastic ban. Club Mac Alcudia has already taken the initiative to protect the environment now, and not wait for the ban to kick in.

 


The resort, popular with UK families and people from all over the world, has pledged to replace more than seven million items with environmentally friendly options, with immediate effect.

Plans include swapping traditional, one-use plastic glasses for re-usable and cardboard options, limiting the use of plastic drinking straws and switching plastic for paper packaging as part of an ongoing commitment to reducing Club Mac Alcudia’s environmental impact. Other items, including plastic cutlery, will be replaced with wooden and sugar-cane versions in a move that will see 7,400,400 individual pieces of plastic saved from becoming waste.

As Club Mac’s CRM and E-Commerce Manager, Eva Monserrat Llompart explains: “We’re very happy to announce we’re going green in 2019 – and beyond. The environmental impact of Club MAC is important to us
all, and we know it’s something that our guests care about too. Thousands of holidaymakers visit us every year and as well as working hard to ensure that their holidays are as much fun as possible we want them to know that we care about our impact on the environment too. Our ‘going green’ focus is mainly on removing plastic from our products 
and off the resort completely. Club Mac Alcudia takes its position within a conservation area seriously, and we hope to make a real
inroad into the environmental impact of our resort.”

This is what they have done:

27,600 Club MAC t-shirts Changed plastic packaging to paper
13,000 plastic bags Eliminated
8,000 plastic spoons Swapped for wooden spoons
104,000 plastic coffee spoons Changed to wooden spoons
177,500 plastic coffee stirrers
Substituted for wooden stirrers
114,000 plastic knives Swapped for wooden knives
1,540,000 plastic straws Eliminated apart from for slushies
77,200 foam plates Swapped for sugarcane plates
187,508 plastic plates Eliminated
62,000 plastic forks Swapped for wooden forks
459,000 foam glasses Swapped for recyclable cardboard glasses
541,336 plastic beer glasses Eliminated
1,847,484 clear plastic glasses Eliminated
1,500 clear tube plastic glasses Eliminated
2,175,000 clear plastic glasses Swapped for Macky recyclable cardboard cups

Situated in Port d’Alcudia, on the north coast of Majorca, and just 900 metres from the beach, Club Mac Alcudia offers guests use of a sprawling 10,000 square metre estate. Boasting eight pools, a water park, two natural lakes - that form part of the S’Albufera wetlands - and entertainment options, it has been a popular choice with British holidaymakers for 30 years. 

www.clubmac.es

 



Like 0        Published at 13:08   Comments (1)


The Ossuary - a reminder of our mortality.
28 May 2018

Notably Wamba is the only municipality in Spain whose name contains the letter W, but it also contains one of the country's largest ossuaries.

Its name comes from the Gothic King Wamba , who was elected king in that city in the year 672 . At that time it was called Gérticos and King Recceswinth had a villa there resting. As Receswinth died in this town, the nobles elected Wamba immediately that day.

This tiny town lies outside the city of Valladolid in northern Spain is home to a giant collection of bones, and like other bone churches the original reason for piling the bones up was a simple lack of space remaining in the cemetery.

Unlike some of the other bone churches, the Wamba ossuary doesn’t have walls or ceilings which are ornatelydecorated with bones. Instead, the bones are just in huge piles – they’re organized piles, but they’re piles.

Deep in the vaults of the Santa Maria Church, the skeletons of thousands of monks and villagers are on display. The jam-packed ossuary is full to the ceiling with bones. It is so dense that it takes looking at it for a second to start picking out the over 3,000 skulls that stare out from the rest of the jumble of bones. It doesn't seem like there was a great deal of order to the stack other than making sure to face out the skulls so that their yawning sockets could stare, dead-eyed at visitors.

The cache of bones was deposited there between the 12th and 18th centuries, but the church only became a national historic site in 1931. Better late than never, so long as the old bones are protected.  
To get an idea of why someone would collect so many bones in one death-filled spot, an epitaph written on one wall gives some insight: "As you see, I saw myself as you see me, you see all ends here Think about it and you will not sin...."

The Catholic order insists that the display is not meant to be macabre, but a silent reminder of the swift passage of life on Earth and our own mortality.

 Researchers have studied the bones and learned a great deal about medieval village life in Spain, but since all the bones are mixed together it’s impossible to put together a complete skeleton of one particular human being.

 

[Contributed by Jane McDonald - Traveling around Spain]



Like 0        Published at 21:56   Comments (0)


Spam post or Abuse? Please let us know




This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x