Kevin Doyle Blog

Writing and activism

Getting To Barcelona’s El Fossar de la Pedrera

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El Fossar de la Pedrera is one of the major memorials to those who fought fascism in Spain.  Specifically dedicated to the repression and reprisals carried out by Franco in the Barcelona region, it is nonetheless symbolic of the broader struggle against the dictatorship and the Right which culminated in the Civil War from 1936-39.  One of the most important aspects of the memorial it that it also remembers those who died at Franco’s hands after the Civil War had ended.  Franco’s revenge – as is more widely appreciated now – was thorough and merciless and El Fossar de la Pedrera bears witness to this. El Fossar de la Pedrera

Despite its importance, El Fossar de la Pedrera can be difficult to find.  It is located to the south of Barcelona’s centre, in a remote corner of Montjuic Cemetery.  Although the Barcelona Tourist Office didn’t deny its existence when I asked for their help, they did seem, generally, disinterested in my quest.  This is quite extraordinary given the memorial’s quality and its importance in the light of all that has since transpired.  In any other country El Fossar de la Pedrera would be given its due prominence.  Not so in Spain or Catalonia today.

A good map of the greater Barcelona area is essential if you want to find and visit El Fossar de la Pedrera.  This is because even around and near the memorial there are few signs indicating where the memorial is or that it even exists. In fact the opposite is the case: the further away you are the more signs there are; close at hand they vanish! In any case I used the current Michelin map and the memorial is clearly marked on it, on the south side of Montjuic Park.

Walking

From the Montjuic Castle, it is a 45 minute walk at least.  There is some interesting places along the way – views of the Olympic Village and of Montjuic Cemetery from the north side.  Directions are as follows.  Make you way from the Castle down onto Carrer del Foc.  Foc is a main road and it can be busy.  Walking towards the direction of the Olympic Village (away from the city centre) keep on this road regardless.  You pass the Olympic Village on your right and the road winds and generally goes down hill; on your left you pass views of Montjuic Cemetery (or Cemenetiri del Sud Oust) – Barcelona’s largest and most enigmatic cemetery.   You arive at a main junction – a roundabout – and keep to the immediate left on Foc (still going in the direction away from the centre of town.)  After about 30 minutes (from setting out) you pass a sport’s complex and pool on your left side.  You are now leaving the Montjuic park area and returning to a generally built up area.  At the  junction with Carrer dels Ferrorcarrils Catalans, you take a left and head generally down in the direct of the port area; there are light industry businesses on your right side.  The promontory hill on which the cemetery is located comes into view on your left once more and you are passing just at the side of it.  You come a junction where there is a small narrow supply road going uphill.  Although this leads to El Fossar de la Pedrera, this gate is normally locked, it seems.  Carry on further.  A short distance on, you come to another small junction. A narrow road splits off Carrer dels Ferrorcarrils Catalans.  This is Carrer de la Mare de Deu de Port and it travels along the side of the imposing wall of the cemetery and parallel to Carrer del Ferrorcarrils Catalans. There is an open green space between the two roads.  Walk down to the main gate of the cemetery which is now in view; you can’t miss it as it is the only way in around this area.  Once you enter the gate, take an immediate sharp left.  You will see a sign along this road: Itinari Combatin.  Follow the directions of this sign – along the narrow road which climbs very gradually.  There are graves and other memorials on both sides.  You finally reach a very sharp turn and this is where the entrance is to El Fossar de la Pedrera.

Walking and bus

There is a free bus map to Barcelona.  The service is excellent and not too expensive.  Plenty of buses go in the direction Montjuic and Zona Franca which is where you want.  Bus No 9 which you can get at Pl Catalunya will take you all the ways to Passeig de la Zona Franca.  You can get off either at the last stop or just before the end where it crosses Carrer del Foc.  When you find the junction between Carrer del Foc and Passeig de la Zona Franca, take a right (as if heading for Montjuic).  You will now come to Carrer del Ferrorcarrils Catalans – see above – and you can make your way from here to the memorial site following the instructions above.  For the return journey: when you leave the cemetery make you way up Carrer del Ferrorcarrils Catalans to where it joins Carrer del Foc. At this junction take a left and go along to Passeig de la Zona Franca.  You can take the No 9 here once more into the centre.

Taxi

If you can manage it, a taxi all the way to the cemetery entrance on Carrer del Ferrorcarrils Catalans is also a great way to save yourself time.  It is important to specify to the driver exactly what entrance into Montjuic Cemetery you need.  In this case the best method is to say what road is nearest and that is  Carrer del Ferrorcarrils Catalans.  Once you get inside the gate, follow the directions once more as above.

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  • For more on Barcelona and the Civil War see here.
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7 Responses

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  1. […] I first read about El Fossar de la Pedrera (“the Quarry grave”) in Michael Eaude’s excellent guide to Barcelona. Writng in 2008, Eaude points out that there is no mention of “the Quarry grave” in any of the standard guides to Barcelona, and then goes on to describe his encounter with Barcelona’s Tourist Office who proclaimed no knowledge of the “the Quarry grave”.  It was exactly the same for me when I went looking September last (2010).  Like Eaude I was directed to El Fossar de la Moreres, which is a monument related to the siege of Barcelona in in 1714!  Despite repeated efforts to explain to the guide at the tourist office about El Fossar de la Pedrera and its connection to the Spanish Civil War, I had no luck.   However El Fossar de la Pedrera is marked clearly on many of the good maps of the Barcelona area.  I used Michelin’s current Barcelona map and made my way there on foot.  It is a long walk admittedly but I got there.  For more information see my post Getting to El Fossar de la Pedrera. […]

  2. Hi Kevin Just back from El Fosser de la Pedrera thanks to your directions. Tried to get a taxi there from up near the castle but no takers as they had no idea where I was asking to go to. Walked down in 32 degrees-well worth the effort as it was very moving. Took a good few photo’s but as I was leaving and about to take one of the coloumns a policeman / security guard appeared and asked me to stop as it isn’t allowed, He retraced my foot steps checking to see that everthing was ok- I hope that he was ensuring that no nazi/fascists were doing the dirty there! Off to the ebro later this week. Regards Ger ( poumista )

    Ger Mccloskey

    August 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  3. Hi I also got to find it, thanks! Wasn’t easy. It stroke me that the guard came (I guess because he saw me on the cameras, otherwise there is absolutely no one there) and told me to stop making pictures. I wonder what is the deal here, I could not imagine the guard in a former German concentration camp ordering the people not to take pictures of the place. This looks quite dodgy to me.

    guille

    September 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

    • It is a real shame that the guards there take this attitude. Who knows what is going on with them. The Catalan authorities seem to be very strange about this part of their history anyway – I guess we know why. I wonder is it something to do with that or just security guards acting up? Maybe someone can enlighten us in time??? But I agree that to be cautioned like this in this very special place of remembrance is very off-putting. Good you got there! Salud!

      kfdoyle

      September 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

  4. I came across this plan of the cemetery showing El Fossa de la Pedrera. Itinari Combatin is unmarked but is clearly exactly where you indicated after entering from access cr. de la mare de deu del port. http://www.cbsa.es/doc/planols/montjuic.pdf

    Keith

    October 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    • Hi Keith,

      Many thanks for sending on that link. It’s really an excellent map and I see also that both Durruti and Ascaso’s graves are also marked clearly. Thanks again. K

      kfdoyle

      October 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm

  5. […] in 1976 as a mass grave site, there are over 4000 people buried here.  Directions to it are are here.  Fossar de la Pedrera was the final chain in Franco’s disposal process for dissidents and […]


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