Discovering Lorcas Granada
10 March, 2016
Federico García Lorca, the poet, playwright and a member of the Generation of 27, was undoubtedly one of the leading figures of 20th-century Spanish literature with worldwide acclaim. He is the artificer of such magnificent works as Gypsy Ballads, Poet in New York, Blood Wedding, The House of Bernarda Alba and Yerma, among others. The biography of Federico García Lorca is closely linked to the city of Granada and to some villages in the surrounding Vega of Granada. Just as these lands left their mark on his work, so has Lorca’s influence lingered there over time. We now retrace the footprints of this magnanimous artist.
The Lorca route sets out from Fuente Vaqueros, a small town on the Vega de Granada where the poet was born. The house where he was born, located at 4 Calle García Lorca, which has been turned into a museum, provides visitors with an idea of his first steps in life.
Near Fuente Vaqueros lies the town of Valderrubio. Apart from being the first place to grow Virginia tobacco brought from the Americas, it was here that Lorca spent his holidays during his infancy. Prominent places of interest include the house of Bernarda Alba, on the Calle de la Iglesia, which was next door to García Lorca’s family home. As you may have gathered, it was the source of inspiration for one of his most widely acclaimed stage plays, The House of Bernarda Alba, with its mordant portrayal of life in the Spanish heartland. The old family abode has been turned into a House Museum, with some of the poet’s personal belongings on display.
In 1909, the Lorca family moved to Granada, where our route continues. His first home in this city was at 50 Calle Acera del Darro and the second, at 31 Acera del Casino. In 1914 he started a degree in Law and Arts at Granada University. During that period, he began to frequent what was one of the most celebrated meeting places of young intellectuals, the Café Alameda, which is now the Restaurante Chikito. That what where the conversational circle known as “El Rinconcillo” used to meet. The group was made up of artists of different disciplines whose common aim it was to promote cultural renewal in the city. The Centro Artístico y Literario de Granada (CALC) and El Polinario – also a famous flamenco tablao– were other spots frequented by Lorca.
An upshot of these gatherings was that Lorca struck up a friendship with Manuel de Falla, also a member of “El Rinconcillo”. Together they organised the first Cante Jondo de Granada contest – also a first in the whole of Spain – which was held in the Plaza de los Aljibes at the Alhambra.
The second-last stopover on our itinerary, just two kilometres from Granada, is the town of Huerta de San Vicente, the family’s summer residence from 1926 to 1936. Set in a beautiful park, it became a retreat for Lorca and it was there that he was able to relax, and draw inspiration to write. It was also the place where he spent the last few days of his life. The home has now been turned into the Federico García Lorca House-Museum, with furniture, personal objects and photographs of Lorca on display.
When the Spanish Civil War broke out in the summer of 1936, Lorca was forced to seek refuge in the family home of the poet, Luis Rosales, although this did not prevent him from being arrested on 16 August 1936. Our final stop on this itinerary through Lorca’s haunts in Granada is an olive grove located between Vízcar and Alfacar, where Federico García Lorca was executed by firing squad in the morning of 18 August. This subsequently became a park named after the poet. In it stands a monolith in memory of the victims of the Francoist repression during the Civil War.
Good reason to book your Vueling to Granada and follow the Lorca trail through Granada.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
Images by Alfons Hoogervorst, John Levin
10 March, 2016