IT inspired the haunting play Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca, and was the setting for Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
But somehow, one of Andalucia’s most emblematic buildings is being allowed to tumble into the ground.
Despite nearly a decade of protests, work has still not begun to save the farmstead of El Cortijo del Fraile, in Nijar, Almeria.
Little written about in guidebooks and little known outside of Cabo de Gata natural park, today – as our photos show – it is on the verge of completely crumbling into the ground.
Graffiti-strewn, with the vast majority of its roofs now caved in, it is little short of remarkable that the ornate 19th century bell tower has somehow not toppled over.
Inside, piles of rubble line its courtyard, while the chapel, which became the focus of one of Spain’s most infamous murders – “the Crime of Nijar” – has been largely ransacked.
It was this building that was the setting for one of Spain’s most famous plays Blood Wedding, by Lorca.
Written in the 1930s, it was based on the murder of the young lover of a local girl Paca Canadas who was to have an arranged marriage in the chapel at the cortijo in July 1928.
The tragedy unfolded when her true love Paco Montes, kidnapped her on horseback and took her away, while Paco Casimiro’s brother, who knew about the plan, was waiting at a nearby crossroads, where he killed Paco, in order to preserve his brother’s honour.
Constructed in the 18th century by Dominican Monks, last summer local protest groups intensified their campaign to have it conserved.
But due to a typical fudge between a variety of authorities – the Cabo de Gata authorities, the Junta and the local town hall of Nijar – little has been done in a year.
In July, the mayor of Nijar, Antonio Jesus Rodriguez ,confirmed to a local paper that the town hall wanted the building to be taken into public ownership and reformed.
However, he admitted that it had been a year since his recommendations were sent to the Junta.
And he confirmed that he only saw the renovation in conjunction with the project being economically viable.
“It has to be compatible with some sort of economic activity that would develop the area,” he said.
Meanwhile, the building is crumbling into the same bone dry dusty valley from where the tragedy of one of Spain’s most famous literally masterpieces was based.
That is both Bad and Ugly