Few months ago during one of my visits to our villa in Spain, I decided to set off on the Spainish roads to find a historic ruined Chapel I had my eye on and what a explore it was.
El cortijo del Fralie is not the easiest of places to get too. It is situated in Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park.
It took a 3 and half hour journey and a very dodgy car ride down a old dirt track. It indicates its a road on the map however I think my car if it could, would have disagreed, well at one point I had thought I had burnt actually burned the clutch out and was going to be completely stranded, 3 and half hours away from our villa in some area of Spain where very little English is spoken.
Anyhow,this dirt track/ road lead me through a field of cabbages where about 200 men was picking cabbages and can you imagine their faces as they seen me, my mum, grandma and daughter trotting down the road through this cabbage patch field in our little blue car like we had no care in the world and like it was completely normal to drive through a cabbage patch field.
They all stood and just watched as I drove past with pure amazement and as ever I just drove on by and smiled and gave a little wave. I was a women on a mission and no dirt track, men full of cabbages or even red sand rain was going to stop me from getting to this chapel. Yes this particular day it was raining red sand that had been brought over from the Sahara Desert.
Anyhow, just after the cabbage patch was the chapel and it was worth the journey we had took to get to it.
The chapel is on public access road, like I say I’d call it a dirt track however it is also in in middle of farm land and at one point the farmer was in his tractor at the top of the hill and I had wondered if he was at any minute going to steam down the hill in the tractor and take us out as he was intent on watching our every move. He didn’t, thank goodness but the thought had crossed my mind he might.
The history of El cortijo del Fralie
Built in the 18th century by Dominican friars, the construction was expropriated in 1836 and became private property.
According to historical records, the farmhouse was placed in the hands of one of the employees, who in 1928 made the decision to arrange the marriage of his daughter Francisca Cañadas, known as Paca “la coja”.
And it was precisely that arranged marriage that culminated in a great family tragedy, known until our times as the “Crime of Nijar”, referred to above.
In its interior, around its concrete central patio, we can find the bell tower, the funeral crypt, the chapel, the stables, the ovens and the cistern.
This crime became a disturbing story that has aroused the interest of many curious and impressive writers, who have adopted the facts into their magnificent works.
The building itself as featured in many films, which include For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and A Bullet for the General.
The site was declared “Bien de Interes Cultural”, with a Historic Site designation on March 23, 2010.