Alicante opens up reminders of a grim past

© Paco Cameo on Flickr

Plaza Balmis

A CIVIL WAR air-raid shelter in Alicante City’s Plaza Balmis will soon be on the tourist map.

Records cite more than 90 shelters throughout the city, but just four of them can be accessed and only two – below Plaza Balmis and Calle Seneca – may be visited.

The Balmis shelter will be temporarily open to the public this weekend, on Friday February 27 and Saturday February 28, from 10am until 2pm, although tickets should be acquired beforehand from the Tourist Office on the ground floor at city hall.

Conducted tours will be organised from mid-March onwards. These will extend to the shelter beneath Plaza Seneca where, above ground, a Civil War museum is due to be inaugurated on March 15.

The Balmis air-raid shelter was built in 1938, one of the network begun in 1937. Alicante was the last Republican-held city to fall to Franco and was one of the most severely punished by air-raids throughout the war that began in 1936 and ended in 1939.

Alicante City mayor, Miguel Valor, praised the recovery of the shelters for present and future generations, ensuring that the horrors of the Civil War would never be forgotten.

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