Aceredo is a Spanish town that was abandoned thirty years ago. Many of the people there were forced to abandon their homes in 1992 because of the building of a reservoir. The locals were forced to move from the area when a Portuguese hydroelectric plant closed its floodgates, causing the Limia river to flood the lands and buildings in the surrounding area.
The communities that surrounded the river in the Ourense province fought the eviction but were unsuccessful in their attempts. It was because of this that they were forced to leave.
However, thirty years on, something unexpected has happened. Low water levels in the Lindoso reservoir have revealed the town as it once was. Surprisingly, many of the structures have remained intact, with only their roofs lost.
Revealed by the falling water levels, Aceredo stands as a ghost town, trapped in time. The ghastly stone remains of the town give an indication of what it was like.
You Can Go Home Again
The people who had lived there previously have had the opportunity to return to their homes and see what remains. The mud-clogged outline reveals a town that was once very much a peaceful, tranquil area of a thriving community.
The remains of the streets give a real-life insight into the life that happened in this town. The place once had 70 houses and about 120 people lived together there, all of which was lost when the reservoir was built.
The residents who had lived there previously visited along with the mayor of the dozen villages in the north-western region of Galicia in Spain. Maria del Carmen Yanez, the mayor said that it was the lowest that the waters had been for a long time.
- India’s Haunted Village: Why was Kuldhara Abandoned?
- Cucuteni Trypillia: Why Did These Ancient Europeans Burn Their Homes?
She recognized that it was amazing how well the houses were preserved and could see why it would hold some appeal to outside villages. The fountain in the middle of the town had reappeared and was even still functional.
One of the previous residents of the town, Francisco Villalonga, told local papers that “for those of us whose roots are there it is hard to see it like this. Seeing the houses where they were born and raised has made people very nostalgic for the past.” He was one of the villagers that fought the eviction orders and occupied the town hall. They were forced to leave, all 250 of them, and watch their town be drowned beneath the waves.
A Controversial Reservoir
For some, the reservoir brought industry, work, and money to the area, but others struggled to get used to their new homes, and lamented the fact that the valley’s best farming lands had been submerged. But not all was lost with the rising waters: the 18th-century baroque church was dismantled, stone by stone, so that it could be transferred to another village.
In a revealing post and interview, Secundino Lorenzo claimed that many of the people and families that were forced to move found themselves suffering from depression. He claimed that they never got over the move.
He said, “I can understand how they might never get over it, because it depresses me, and I only know it because I used to go fishing there from time to time”. Lorenzo works and runs a website devoted to the villages that have disappeared under the reservoirs in this area of the Ourense.
The majority of people left their houses in time before the flooding began, and there was plenty of warning. However, some people refused to leave and as such, they were caught by surprise. These people became trapped by the waters and were unable to leave, requiring the Civil Government to intervene and rescue them.
Staring Down The Waters
Some of the villagers had entrenched themselves because they did not want to believe that the water would come, or that they could be forced out by a large corporation. As well as this, many people did not want to leave behind the inheritance of their ancestors.
But as the grim reality became apparent, people took as much as they could and left what they could not carry. Eyewitnesses claimed that on the days leading up to the water arriving that the town hustled and bustled with cars and trucks trying to move possessions and homes.
- Great Flood of China: Bringing a Legend to Life
- Who Built the Abandoned City of Djado? A Saharan Mystery
The residents were not completely robbed of their homes without compensation. Many of the people have claimed, however, that the money they were given was not enough.
Some felt that they lost more than just their home and possessions, they lost the places that they had emotional attachments to. These included childhood and family memories. This was coupled with the idea that the hydroelectric company deceitfully closed the negotiation by threatening residents with forced expropriation.
Stories tell of how residents of the village were awoken rudely in the night and threatened so that they would sell. Older neighbors were scared and as such sold but others were not so convinced. Some residents refused to leave. The Portuguese companies did not even send their own representatives but employed intermediaries to deal with the negotiations.
Protestors of the Sunken Village
Those who refused to leave struck back in the only way they knew how. Both the men and the women of the village protested resoundingly. The police were organized and rallied themselves to charge against these protestors. Instead of fighting back violently, the protesters went on hunger strike for ten days.
After ten days of protest, riot police were employed to quell the problem. An eyewitness recorded that all the other towns in this region gathered together to prevent the minutes from being drawn up. However, when they arrived the riot police drew their batons, and a conflict began. Many of the residents were injured.
In the end, despite their protests and efforts, the water eventually came, and the residents were forced to abandon their homes regardless of their position. By the third day after the water arrived, the town had pretty much disappeared.
The villagers were offered enough money to start their lives again elsewhere but for some, the emotional damage will always be there. In 2015, a documentary, Os Dias Afogados (“The Drowned Days”) was recorded which keeps the memory of the villages alive in both the memories of the inhabitants and those around the world.
Top Image: The ruins of Aceredo. Source: Biddulph Photography / Abode Stock.
By Kurt Readman