To reach Granadilla you drive from Plasencia northwards and then turn left onto the A-road Ex 204. Its residents were the losers of Francisco Franco’s ambitious projects. In the 1960s the Spanish dictator came up with the idea of enlarging some of the artificial channels in the country, in order to increase the capacity of hydroelectric power plants. For this project, the villages around the lakes had to be flooded. The residents were obliged to look for other places to stay. Granadilla was among them. The village was within a few weeks completely abandoned. However, nobody could have imagined what occurred later. The government in Madrid changed its mind and Granadilla escaped its fate. Nevertheless, the original inhabitants did not come back; even the mayor did not re-enter service. And time went by. The absence of the people became remarkable: wooden housetops have disappeared; weeds have grown in the small streets and trees in the ruins of stoned houses. In former bedrooms wild flowers are blooming.
At the beginning of the 1980s people came back to the village. Artists discovered the ruined town and used the free habitations for their needs. Some houses were converted into workshops and others restored into dwellings. In 1995, the artist settlement was replaced by a youth project which is still running today. A team of educators receive pupils every week from all over Spain or from other European countries. Even British pupils have already been to Granadilla. Tutored by their teachers, the pupils feed themselves and learn how to organise everyday life for themselves and their classmates. In the village they perform artisan works, repair flakes and restore decayed house walls. A power engine run by solar panels provides the new residents with electricity. The students have to pump running water from the lake. Every morning for 30 minutes “Radio Granadilla” is to be heard in the old small street of the village. The village-owned station informs the students of relevant news and the latest songs by Beyoncé or Metallica. In the evening after ending their daily work, pupils and teachers sit together at the former Plaza Mayor and admire the sunset. Near the sundial at the former city hall, there is this Latin quotation “Sub eodem sole omnes”, which means the same sun shines over all. And one is tempted to add: over all that were and are here.
At the entrance of the village an old fortified tower still stands and can be climbed by guests. From the tower you have a breathtaking view over the Gabriel y Galán Lake, the houses and small streets of the village. Looking down from there you can imagine how Granadilla used to be 40 years ago, when it was simply an ordinary, small village of Extremadura.