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Bombs over Girona  [Jardí de la Infància shelter]

Passive defence elements during the Civil War. 1936 – 1939

Interior of the air-raid shelter (Jordi S. Carrera)

Interior of the air-raid shelter.

On 17 July 1936, against a background of serious social unrest and notable political radicalisation, the military stationed in the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco revolted against the legitimate Second Republic government. The following day, speaking on the radio from Tenerife, General Francisco Franco proclaimed a state of war, thereby spreading the rebellion to many other sectors of the army on the Spanish mainland. The military insurgents envisaged a coup d’état lasting for three or four days, but the revolt only met with partial success on the mainland. This triggered off the Spanish Civil War and all the following tragic events which ensued. The war ended on 1 April 1939, and during those three years violence raged both on the battlefield and in the defenceless noncombat zones.

The Jardi de la Infància shelter, an oval-shaped cellular shelter, was built in 1938, with a total underground area of 584,67m² that was nearly as big as the gardens above it. The 357,86m² of useable space (including corridor and steps) could provide protection for over 600 persons. For additional safety in the event of a direct bomb impact, the entire outside surface area was covered with a pyramid-shaped earth mound of about 2 metres high.

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