Monday, October 8, 2012

Abandoned villages in Segovia

Rural depopulation is always a threat for the smallest villages. Sometimes it is due to poverty, sometimes due to expropriations, and there are even some cases of supernatural tales explaining how people were forced to leave their homes. This report is dedicated to a couple of villages in the province of Segovia: San Miguel de Neguera and La Alameda.

San Miguel de Neguera

The village is located near Sebúlcor, at the edge of the Hoces del Duratón. It has a long history.
In fact, a visigothic necropolis was discovered agout half a century ago, and there were found numerous objects from that time. That means there has been a settlement in the location for more than a thousand years. Nowadays the archaeolohgical site has dissapeared.

The first document that confirms the existence of San Miguel de Neguera dates back from 1076 A.D, and the village reaches its peak in the C. 16th, when the González Sepúlveda family build a magnificent state, which since then is the most important building of the village. In the C. 18th the village had between 20 and 25 people, and other three small villages depending on San Miguel de Neguera had dissapeared. The inhabitants were day labourers, and the houses did not belong to them, neither the land they tilled. There are no reports about the recent history of the village nor the moment when it was finally abandooned.

This is the only building that preserves its roof in the village, and it is being used as a stable.

The rest of buildings are more or less in this condition: absolutely unrecognizable.

It is also worth mentioning this water mill. It is a fairly big building, but it is impossible to learn more about its history. Its ruined condition and overgrown briars make it impossible to enter the building.

This is the most striking building. Gonzáled Sepúlveda´s State. Today it is in a extremely bad condition, although an attempt has been made to keep the facade together holding it with steel beams. It is the only thing it has been done to preserve San Miguel de Neguera.

 La Alameda

La Alameda is a small village near Pedraza. Its existence is knowm to date back to the late C. 16th, and halfway  C. 20th about 50 people lived there. That was not enough to avoid depopulation, since they had no running water nor electricity.

The village is very small. There are only five buildings and only two of them are in good condition. One of the most striking features of the place is that it is secluded. It is not far from other villages, but the way to La Alameda is not too obvious. It is a little path lined with trees, away from the main road (which is a really lost road). This makes La Alameda a little place far away from our time.

Next to this  fountain we found the best preserved building of the village. The owners keep it in good condition.

The rest of buildings have been abandoned, and time has not forgiven them.

Today La Alameda has a different kind of problem. More than 10 years ago, a building company bought the ruined houses of the village and built a sewers network. In fact the way to the village has become a nightmare because that works they totally destroyed the path. The building company wants to build housing development in that privileged location, but there is one obstacle: the owners of the two well preserved houses refuse to sell them by asking outlandish prices for them. While this has kept the place as it is preventing the building of a bunch of cloned houses, this has also brought unexpected consequences. The village has not been recovered. There have been some groups of people willing to inhabit the place without altering the environment and from an ecological stance. This kind of actions has saved many other villages, and maybe they shoud be taken into account to preserve these, and the possibility of being permanently inhabited again.

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