The Vesper La Gloriosa
The Penedès became, during the Civil War, in the center of operations of republican aviation, Gloriosa, as settled in this territory four airfields when they had in Aragon were lost and the advance of Franco 's troops were expected to the province of Lleida. Also the Penedès became, from that moment, and one of the main focus of the bombing targets on the other side.
These four airfields, located in Santa Oliva, the Monjos, Sabanell (Font-ruby) and the Pacs and that would become known as the Vesper of the Gloriosa, in Castilian the Avispero of Gloriosa, were crucial for the actions of the Ebro and Segre that tuvieon place between April and May 1938, during the Battle of the Ebro and during the offensive campaign Seròs and Catalonia, until January 1939 that were abandoned by the Republicans against Franco 's offensive.
The Regional Council of Alt Penedès, with the collaboration of the Institute of Penedesencs Studies, Vinseum and the General Department of Memory and Peace of the Generalitat signaled the route dedicated to the republican aviation in the Penedès and runs through the remains of the four aerodromes: shelters, barracks, control booths...
We propose to start the route on the airfield Sabanell, follow Pacs and the Monjos to reach the airfield Santa Oliva.
Meaning of the Glorious Vesper
The concentration four airfields in a not very large territory and in a close distance, even within 10 km, made these were known as the Vesper, or nest, the Glorious. The reason for this name was because the noise of planes taking off and landing at these aerodromes resembled a swarm of wasps. This hornet 's nest will accompany the Gloriosa is because this was the name that was known republican aviation.
Penedes, epicenter of the Republican Air Force
Since late 1937 to early 1939 the Penedès became the nerve center of the Republican Air Force with the construction of four airfields that were occupied by some squadrons of frontline fighter Xatos Group 26 and Group 21 mosques. The first thing was built with the help of local labor, was that of the Monjos in the Alt Penedès, followed by the Santa Oliva in the Baix Penedès. The third and fourth airfield, in the Alt Penedès, were the Sabanell and Pacs.
The location of aerodromes in the Penedès implied that the territory suffered several Francoist bombing. In fact, he became one of the Catalan counties with the largest number of bombing, a total of 300, which would cause up to 200 deaths. For this reason, the four fields of aviation and nearby municipalities several shelters, some of which have been recovered were built.
Sabanell airfield and Pacs
As I mentioned, begin the path of the Glorious Vesper in Lavern (Subirats), municipality hosted in the farmhouse of Cal Maristany pilots Republican school and was one of two that were in Catalonia during the Civil War.
It continues on the grounds of the Republican airfield Sabanell, or also known as the field of Pla del Penedès or Sant Pere de Riudebitlles, located on farmland Cal Nothing or Cal Raspall, among others, that their owners were returned in August 1939 and which was planted orchard, vineyard and cereal again. This field was characterized by its function as a training area for pilots.
Near the field and the control booth, a shelter with capacity of up to 120 people and other elementary on the perimeter of the field was built. Today even the remains of some of them, among which are the remains of the largest retreat located near the house of command is preserved.
The route continues toward Can Mayol. This house was featured because it hosted the Field airfield Pacs largest shelter - Vilobí which was built between the months of May and June 1938 and was characterized by having a single track in a rectangular shape.
Can Mayol could shelter up to 120 people. This was reached by inside through two mouths that descended about eight meters. Cars, trucks, ambulance... and a space advantage and warning alarm bell church of Sant Genís de Pacs: Also, around this farmhouse elements of the fleet is located.
The airfield's Monjos
The route continues towards the shelter of Collado, located on the airfield of Monjos, in the current Memory Park Serral.
The airfield of Monjos, built in the middle of fields of vineyards and cereals, had three tracks between 800 and 1,300 meters, a wheelhouse, quartermaster and repair shop, a guard (Mas Granell) and shelters. In addition to several trenches located around the perimeter of the field.
Today you can visit through tours organized by the City of visits Santa Margarida i els Monjos three shelters that have been recovered. One is the refuge of Serral which houses the Interpretation Centre of the Republican Aviation and Air War (CIARGA) and where a vision of the role occupied by the Republican Air Force during the Civil War offered. The other shelters are the largest of Margaridoia and elemental Cal Rubió. In addition, the visit to these spaces can be complemented with pilots Francoist prison in the castle of Penyafort and the same itinerary indicates.
The lands of Santa Oliva
The last area to visit is the aerodrome of Santa Oliva. Characterized by its dimensions and capacity, this was one of the most important, became operational from April 1938.
This consisted of two runways over 1,000 meters and various building elements, as a great refuge for 180 people, a house for the officer or officers, a house for the guard and others scattered around the perimeter of the field shelters. Now these three remain shelters.
Some houses and nearby buildings were also occupied to carry out certain functions. Like, for example, Cal Pau was the residence of the soldiers and Sabartés Palace was the residence of the officers. Also, the church of the Virgen del Remedio hosted the workshop, in the rectory of Santa Oliva offices were installed and in the church of Sant Jaume dels Domenys repairs and maintenance of all overhead lines were made.
The itinerary of the Route of the Vespers of the Glorious ends at the railway station of San Vincente de Calders (El Vendrell) where there is an infrastructure that was bombed a hundred times by Franco 's army in order to stop rail connections of time.
Other paths of memory
Vesper Route of Gloriosa is part of the itineraries of the democratic memory of Penedès with Defense Route Coast and Route Front. All of them aim to value a heritage that gives rise to reflection and fosters a culture of peace.
These three routes are part of the Network of Democratic Memory of Catalonia and are complementary to each other and, sometimes, overlap and share some points and spaces. For example, Santa Margarida i els Monjos sets the path of the Glorious Vespers and also part of the Route du Front.
Route Defense of the Coast, promoted by the Regional Council of Garraf, runs through bunkers and former defense sites that were built to fortify the territory following the Franco cruise bombed the town of Roses while Route Front, driven by the Regional Council of Baix Penedès, refers to the war front stay was three to four days in the territory of the Penedès previously fell to the city of Barcelona.
You may also be interested in: The Civil War, exile and repression in Catalonia | Let's go to museums in Catalonia
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