Belchite

Most of the people are accustomed to the statement that our planet hosts different kinds of live creatures and where life is boiling all the time. Sadly, it is not totally true. There are places on the world map, which are destined to remain without any sign of human presence; especially it is related to those ones, destroyed in the course of historic events, natural and anthropogenic catastrophes. Many world-leading countries can be marked with so-called ghost cities, where life has stopped and there is nothing to do but observe silent existence. 

Spain turned out to be one of them, but only a small number of people are familiar with Belchite town story, a story of heroic opposition and sorrowful defeat. In this case, a reason of Belchite becoming a dead zone is hidden behind the events of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 – 1939. In particular, it was a contradiction between Spanish Republicans, protected by the Soviet Union, and a military-nationalist dictatorship, led by General Francisco Franco. It was his decision to leave it as an open-air museum as a monument of his momentous victory. Instead of reconstruction the ruined town, the general ordered to build a new one and left Belchite as a remembrance of his decisive victory. Additionally, Belchite became the warning for those ones, who were eager to oppose the existing political regime. Frankly speaking, there were lots of people complaining at the time. 

The only thing that determined the fate of Belchite city is its geographical proximity to Zaragoza, the strategic point for both hostile sides. The Spaniards killed each other chasing the interests of other states, and the sky above them was covered with Soviet aircrafts, which fought with air forces of allied Germany and Italy. Eventually, the city of Belchite was destroyed and thousands of people died. 

The open-air museum is a sorrowful remembrance of those days and the memorial to victims of the bloody battle. Thousands of tourists come here to pay tribute to the victims of war. There are only 1700 people living in Belchite, who deal with keeping the museum in a good condition or working on the local olive oil factory. In particular, all the remained architecture reflects the spirit of the war, including survived joists of the Catholic Church, the blank windows of the crashed bell tower, shell-holes on the walls. Since 1930s Belchite has been partially rebuilt for necessities of turning it a museum. Nowadays, the plans of Aragon authorities feature the construction of more gorgeous and magnificent memorial, rather than simply to conserve the ruins of the city.

In addition, this ghost city of Belchite was also a shooting field for several world-known movies: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006). Therefore, the attractive nature of this place is obvious and worth going for both Spaniards and foreigners. 

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