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The bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel, in an image from the Láchar town hall website. SUR
The unknown village in Andalucía's Granada province that hides one of Eiffel's greatest jewels
Tourism

The unknown village in Andalucía's Granada province that hides one of Eiffel's greatest jewels

An iron bridge designed by the famous French engineer in 1897 is now set to only welcome pedestrians after a major 300,000-euro restoration project

Guillermo Ortega

Granada

Friday, 31 May 2024, 09:58

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Gustave Eiffel is of course most famous for the iconic Parisian tower that bears his name which has long been an emblem of the city in particular and of France in general. The manmade marvel is made of 7,300 tonnes of iron that measures 300 metres talll and is visited by around seven million people a year.

But his work is obviously not limited to this famous tower, or indeed France. In Láchar, a small village of just over three thousand inhabitants twenty kilometres by car from Granada city in Andalucía, there is a bridge that he also designed.

It was commissioned in 1897 by Julio Quesada-Cañaveral, Duke of San Pedro de Galatino and became one of the first connections between the city and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The duke had a sugar mill in Láchar and the bridge was very useful for transporting the goods to Íllora, which had a railway station.

With the decline of the sugar factories, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, the bridge ceased to fulfil its original function, although later on cars began to cross it to get to the neighbouring towns of Valderrubio, Escóznar and Fuente Vaqueros.

"Element of historical heritage"

In 2006, however, its structure partially collapsed as a result of an accident and it has not been used since then. But the provincial authority, the Diputación Provincial de Granada has this year announced an investment of 300,000 euros to restore the bridge. This time it will solely be open to pedestrians.

The Diputación and Láchar town hall believe that it will be a tourist attraction and that it will also preserve an element of the historical heritage not only of the town but also of the province.

It is an area well worth visiting for a number of reasons. For example, in both Fuente Vaqueros and Valderrubio there are still houses where the renowned Spanish poet Federico García Lorca lived. The River Genil and the old tobacco drying sheds - very few of which are still active - are also attractions.

Worth visiting too are Láchar, Peñuelas, Escóznar and other even smaller places such as Obéilar, where a railway station was built by direct order of King Alfonso XIII and where interesting manor houses are still preserved.

These are places that have been saved from depopulation for the time being by their relative proximity to Granada city and also by the boom in rural tourism. Places like El Cortijuelo in Escóznar are a must if you are looking for a few days of relaxation and nature.

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