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News and comments and events relating to Granada, 'the city where anything is possible, Granada, 'la bella y la bestia, and Federico Garcia Lorca's complicated love-hate relationship with the city, etc

bizarre bag of bones

Lorca disappearing and deathPosted by Simon Tue, April 17, 2018 12:46:48
Bizarre? Or what?

Among the many theories and anecdotes related to the various unsuccessful attempts to localise the remains of the murdered poet and his three fellow victims, there is one that has been going around for a number of years that always sounded to me so preposterous and absurd that I could not take it seriously. This is it:

In 1986 when they were constructing the park (the García Lorca Park in Alfacar) in memory of Lorca and all the victims of the nationalist repression, situated near the Spring of Aynadamar on the road from Víznar, they dug up some bones, the detailed examination of which they were afraid would hold up the completion of the park, so they put them in a plastic fertilizer bag and re-buried them.

Not only did they find bones, they also found a crutch, a very simple crutch made of wood, with a broad leather strap.


Maybe I need to remind you here that one of the men who faced the firing squad alongside Lorca was the lame republican schoolteacher Dióscoro Galindo.

According to José Antonio Rodríguez Salas, who was a guard at the park at the time of its inauguration, there was not only the crutch, but also four craniums!!! Into the plastic bag they went! So as not to delay the important and, for the local politicians, prestigious opening of the commemorative park. Could this happen anywhere else but in Granada?

The burial place of this bag of bones was carefully recorded. It turns out to be directly underneath where the massive stone fountain stands today, the fountain inscribed with Antonio Machado’s famous verses dedicated to the death of the poet:

Labrad, amigos,
de piedra y sueño en el Alhambra,
un túmulo al poeta,
sobre una fuente donde llore el agua,
y eternamente diga:
el crimen fue en Granada, ¡en su Granada!

[Construct, friends, from stone and dreams in the Alhambra, a sepulchre for the poet, over a spring where the water weeps and eternally repeats: the crime was in Granada, in his Granada!]

All the above so far is from Gibson’s updated version of his El Asesinato de García Lorca just published. At the time of writing, says Gibson, that was February 2018, Luis Avial had begun examining the base of the fountain with GPR (ground-penetrating radar).

Luis Avial has built up quite a reputation for himself with his GPR studies. He claims, among many other achievements, to have discovered the tombs of Cervantes in Madrid and of Boabdil, the Moorish Kingdom of Granada’s last ruler, in Fez (Morocco). He is motivated in this case, he says, because he himself is the grandson of a civil war victim. His investigations in Víznar go back to 2009, when he carried out a preliminary survey in the García Lorca Park in Alfacar, and prompted by Víctor Fernández, local journalist and avid Lorca-researcher, he actually examined the base of the fountain, and while noticing some anomaly in the geological structure that could possibly indicate some outside interference, the signal from his GPR did not suggest anything like a common grave with human remains. So he discarded his findings as irrevelant. How wrong he was (he says now: Granada Hoy, 16/04-2018).

It was ‘stubborn and tenacious’ journalist Víctor Fernández who refused to give up on his theory and kept on at Avial to help him with his search for evidence. Fernández insisted that it was not a common grave they were looking for, but a bag of bones, and that persuaded Avial to go back to the x-rays he took in 2009, and yes, there was undeniable evidence that something like a bag of bones and rubble could be there, beneath the monumental fountain.

Fernández’ tenacity has clearly a lot to do with the eye-witnesses he has interviewed, including workmen involved in the alleged infraction in 1986. (Follow link below.) As Avial concludes, the supposed osteological material might not be human, but animal; and it might not even be bones. But it’s a hypothesis that ought to be tested, if only for it to be eliminated it once and for all.

Which surely it must!?!

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Job vacancies (2)

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Wed, March 14, 2018 17:41:49

Job vacancies at the Lorca Centre, we announced in #post 77 (21.01.2018). So far, views of the Lorca Centre always give the impression of a big empty space with little human activity. Hopefully, this will change when the Centre receives the legacy it was set up for and starts to be truly operative. The arrival of the complete legacy at the Lorca Centre they say (G. Cappa Granada Hoy, 14 March, 2018) will create the need for around 15 employees, first and foremost curators and archivists, and:

· a manager, to be selected by a public tendering process

· a programme co-ordinator,

· two librarians,

· a receptionist,

· three or four maintenance personnel (possibly outsourced)

· an accountant,

· and at least three or four office administration staff

Get your applications in now!

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Dalí's contribution to the Lorca legacy

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Wed, March 14, 2018 17:34:20

How much is Lorca worth today? we asked in #post78 (24.01.2018).

Well an insurance of 12 million Euros has been arranged to cover the transfer of the first part of the Lorca ´legacy’ from the Residencia de Estudiantes to the Lorca Centre in Plaza Romanilla on the occasion of the Una habitación propia (A room of his own)-exhibition, which is to open on 22 March.

Mind you, more than a couple of million of this insured value are accounted for by two works of Salvador Dalí that the painter gave the poet to mark their close friendship while at the Residencia in the early 20s. The decidedly most valuable part of the exhibition is the still life, also known as ‘Siphon and bottle of rum’, painted in 1924 in the painter’s brief cubist period, a painting which had pride of place in Lorca’s room at the Residencia. [See images.] The exhibition will also include the correspondence between Lorca and Dalí, as well as the poet’s correspondence with his parents. It was on at the Residencia until last October to mark the departure of the legacy which was supposed to have happened last year.

G. Cappa Granada Hoy, 14 Marzo, 2018

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GRX International Airport – further recovery

AirportPosted by Simon Tue, March 13, 2018 10:51:37

Granada International Airport – further recovery.

The recovery of Granada Airport (Aeropuerto Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén) as an international destination that I last wrote about in January 2017 (post #53) will be consolidated in 2018, with a million passengers expected to use the facility for the first time since 2010.

Air traffic reached a low point in 2012/3 when the viability of the airport began to be put in question.

At the moment there are connections with just five airports outside Spain: London (City and Gatwick), Paris, Manchester, and Milan; and to these will be added two more this year: Naples and Berlin.

With the exception of London City (British Airways) and Paris (Vueling) all these destinations are served by Easyjet.

The connection with the German capital is particularly exciting, and although we have to wait till 3 September for it, tickets are already on sale. There will be two flights a week, Mondays and Fridays, leaving Berlin at 10.15 with the return flight at 14.10.

18.000 passengers a year are expected to use the service.

The Germans – with their good taste – are said to have a preference for Andalusian destinations, as well as for the Andalusian way of life, and the influx of German tourists is expected to have a knock-on effect, for example in promoting the import of tropical fruit products grown locally.

Currently, international customers make up 12.3% of airport activity.

Now all we need is the long-awaited AVE – High Speed Train. But that’s another and entirely different story (see post @54 and #56, Jan and Feb 2017).

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the city with the greatest density of tourists

granadaPosted by Simon Sun, February 11, 2018 21:29:42

Would you believe that Granada is the city which receives the greatest density of tourists in the whole of Spain? Well, it is.

I’m not quite sure how they work this out but it’s to do with the number of visitors in relation to the permanent population and the total urban area. So Exceltur, in its study of the fifteen most popular tourist destinations, puts Granada in first place with an average daily tourist density of 11.7%. This tops even Barcelona, with a density of 11.1%.

This might not come as such a surprise if you visited the Mirador San Nicolás on a sunny Sunday, like today (11 Feb 18). Or if you walked down through the Albaicín facing the oncoming hordes on the morning of a Spanish ‘puente’ (long weekend: 6-10 Dec 17).

And it places Granada’s well above Spain’s average tourist density of 7.4%. In Madrid, by way of comparison, tourists would pass barely perceived among the daily crowds of locals, with a density of a mere 4.6%. Or what about Córdoba with only 3.7%? Granada is also well ahead of the two other major Andalusian tourist destinations: Málaga (8% tourist density) and Sevilla (7.1%).

A determining factor in the surge of tourist density in recent years has been the boom in residential tourist accommodation à la airbnb. Exceltur calculates that a daily average of 27,376 visitors come to Granada, of whom 15,078, that’s 55%, opt for airbnb-type lodgings. Only 45% overnight in proper hotels and hostals.

This is a high proportion, but it is not as high as Málaga, where 75% of tourists are reported to stay at these kinds of places. It is also behind most of the major tourist destinations in this respect: Alicante (67.8%), San Sebastián (66.7%), Palma de Mallorca (65.8%), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (60.6%), Sevilla (60.5%) and Valencia (60,3%). And it is this conversion of residential accommodation into tourist accommodation that has given rise to the greatest displeasure among the local population.

In Barcelona, it is the high proportion of private homes totally or partially converted into tourist accommodation that has fuelled open hostility to the influx of tourists. There, neighbourhoods are really being torn apart by a loss of affordable housing and the restructuring of services to cater for what are in effect holiday makers rather than for the local people. Of course, it is sheer numbers that cause the greatest problems. It’s ok if a couple of guiris pop into your local bar, but if your local bar then becomes a tourist attraction, you may have to go somewhere else for your coffee and toast.

So far, an open hostility towards visitors has not led to aggressive reactions among the local people of Granada. This may be because the places where tourists aggregate (Alhambra, Albaicín, Centre) tend to be outside the traditional neighbourhoods and residential areas. It is less likely to be a result of the sweet, tolerant nature of the indigenous populace.

Acknowledgements to Guadalupe S. Maldonado, Granada Hoy, 11 Febrero, 2018

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The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Sun, January 28, 2018 10:19:40

In the coming weeks and months a suitable cultural programme will have to be worked out to mark the arrival of the Lorca legacy at the Lorca Centre in June this year, touch wood.

This of course will be the second time such a programme has had to be devised.

Seven years ago, a truly impressive programme, the aim of which was to position the Centre as ‘one of the most important cultural assets’ in Spain, was announced for the planned opening in the summer of 2011. I wrote about it in //, dated 20 October 2010, and in //, on 30 January 2011. The programme included:

· an exhibition about Lorca’s poetry collection Poet in New York.

· an artistic staging of the public readings Lorca used to give of Poet in New York in the 1930s

· an exhibition on Dalí, Lorca y la Residencia de Estudiantes

· a performance of the ‘impossible’ play How Five Years Pass

· a production fusing the unfinished play we call Comedy without a Title with its ‘play within the play’ Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

All this was not to be. As we now know, thanks largely to the fraudulent actions of the Foundation’s corrupt secretary Juan Tomás Martín, a financial hole of several million euros appeared in the accounts which prevented the completion of the work on the building and meant the ambitious programme had to be scrapped (//, 9 June 2011). When the Centre was finally opened in 2015, it was a low-key affair without pomp, without ceremony, - and without the legacy. (//, February 2017).

There is some urgency in finalising the new programme, as suitable sponsors need to be found for each of the chosen events.

It hardly needs adding that La Caixa will be a prime candidate for a role in these sponsorship plans. Compare #post76 dated 20 January 2018

Starting point for this post was also G. Cappa’s article in Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década

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The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Wed, January 24, 2018 17:53:37

As a poet-playwright, Lorca started making serious money when his plays, particularly Blood Wedding, got put on in Buenos Aires in the mid-1930s. In the years of the Second Republic he was doing alright. But the money he was worth during his lifetime pales into insignificance when we consider how much his works are worth today.

Of course, one would have to say that it’s impossible to put a price on the literary legacy that Lorca left us. In 2007 Christie's auction house actually had a go, estimating its value at between 11 and 17.5 million euros, but that was ten years ago. The consortium responsible for financing the Centre more recently used a figure of 18.7 million as an estimation to set up as a security for a one-million-euro debt. Otherwise it has been common to talk about 20 million euros or more.

Unfortunately, the private agreement between the Lorca Foundation and La Caixa (see post#76, 20 January 2018) failed to put a figure on the estimated value of the legacy, which is a pity because, even if we agree the collection is priceless, an erroneous valuation could have negative financial and even culture-political consequences.

For it is not only the legacy, but the value of the legacy, that attracts tourists to Granada. A legacy valued at 11 million euros will not have the same pull as one worth 20 million.

Lorca y Lola Membrives después del estreno de "Bodas de sangre" en 1933, en Buenos Aires. Marilyne Gourel de St Pern

Acknowledgement: Facts and figures from G. Cappa’s article in Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década

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The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Sun, January 21, 2018 16:27:18

The Lorca Centre needs librarians, archivists, filing staff, and such, to keep a track of the thousands of original manuscripts and documents that make up the invaluable literary legacy left behind by the city’s outstanding poet.

Apart from the manuscripts, correspondence, and first editions in its unique collection, the Foundation is also in possession of a huge collection of books: all the books that have ever been written and published about Lorca in all the world’s languages, apparently!

Once the Centre starts operating properly, not only will staff be needed to manage the archives, there will also be a need for personnel to advise and inform the public and to assist researchers who will come from all corners of the globe. It is clear that the work will require specially trained employees with expert knowledge.

What a fabulous environment to work in. Any takers?A cross-section of the Centre, its library, and the purpose-built, iron-clad strong room where Lorca's material legacy will be kept.

Acknowledgement: information taken from G. Cappa, Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década

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