By Mason Jones
FOR years it has been allowed to crumble brick by brick into the ground.
Now, after years of legal wrangling, one of Andalucia’s most evocative monuments has been saved from certain destruction.
Cortijo del Fraile – the building which inspired Federico Garcia Lorca to write his play Blood Wedding – has finally been taken over by the Junta.
In a deal between Nijar Town Hall and the owners of the finca, the Junta’s Ministry of Culture will now take it over to be restored.
The historic 18th century farmhouse – where in 1931 a bride was killed on her wedding day – will now get urgent work to prevent its collapse.
Although classed as a ‘Building of Cultural Interest’ (BIC) in 2008, it disgracefully suffered years of neglect, after the authorities insisted it was the owners who were responsible for maintaining it.
In May last year, the owner, a local agrobusiness, was fined €30,000 for breaching preservation duties, sparking a row between Nijar and the Junta.
Its appalling state led the Olive Press to start campaigning for its future two years ago.
Nijar mayor Antonio Jesus Rodriguez said this week: “Now it’s time to act quickly so that everything is processed in the shortest time possible and work can begin on the maintenance, preservation and rehabilitation.”
It is thought the building could be worth around €4 million once restored to its former glory.
It is believed it could become a major tourist attraction for the stunning Cabo de Gata natural park, where it sits.
As part of the agreement, the owners of the building will receive a new plot of land within the municipality of Nijar.