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Casa de la tercia , collection of the battle…

Casa de la Tercia was the Granary of the town of Lopera, destined to store cereals for loaning to neighbors in times of scarcity. This is of historical interest because Cervantes was in Lopera, between February 22 and 25, 1592, collecting cereal for the Invincible Armada. The building was also used as a cellar for the excellent wines of the area. The town is known as “little Jerez”.

Today Casa de la Tercia literary has been given a cultural use. On the ground floor of the Casa de la Tercia there is an exhibition of 54 photographs of the Spanish Civil War in color in the town of Lopera (1936-1940). The visit can be completed by accessing the Museum of Pedro Monje, a sculptor, ceramicist and painter from Lopera, which is located on the top floor of the Casa de la Tercia.

Architecturally speaking, the building, which dates from the second half of the 16th century, is a thick-walled brick construction, with few decorative elements and with quarry stones that reinforce the corners of the building.

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Monument to Miguel Hernández

Lopera pays tribute to Miguel Hernández through a monument in the form of a large mosaic with the poem “Aceituneros de Jaén”(Olive Gatherers of Jaen), which today has become the official anthem of the province of Jaén.

In the same square there is a plaque in homage to the XIV International Brigade, in memory and recognition of the people of Lopera for their sacrifice.


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Lopera Castle

The Castle of Lopera is one of the best examples of a castle built by the Order of Calatrava in the province of Jaén.

This imposing fortress, which stands out within the old town, has a pentagonal floor plan with five towers and two donjons. This configuration makes it exceptional. It preserves the original walled perimeter, which gives it greater historical and patrimonial value. This castle belongs to the Route of the Castles and the Battles of Jaén.

After its recent restoration, the castle now has a fantastic Interpretation Center, whose rooms are dedicated to the Order of Calatrava, to the recent history of the castle as a winery and also to the Battle of Lopera.

The musealization of the Battle of Lopera features various spaces where the general map of the Civil War, the situation of Lopera in the conflict, the development of the Battle, as well as recreations of trenches are exposed. Special attention is paid to some illustrious figures who were at the front such as the British writers, John Cornford and Ralph Fox, belonging to the XIV International Brigade.


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The garden of the English poets

The Francoist army conquered Lopera on Christmas Day of 1936 without being prevented by the blasting of the bridge over the Salado stream by the Republicans. In the following three days, troops of the Republican XIV International Brigade under General Walter tried to recover the population without success. During the attacks and counterattacks, the British company of the La Marsellesa battalion, reached the first houses of the town, but was forced to retreat. The Republicans suffered about three hundred dead and more than twice as many wounded. A considerable number of casualties, the knowledge of which greatly affected our Oriolan poet. Among the seventy-eight fatalities of the 145 men who made up the British company were the poet Rupert John Cornford and the novelist Ralph Winston Fox. Their bodies were never recovered.

Cornford came from a well-known intellectual family – his father was Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Cambridge University and his great-grandfather was none other than the naturalistic scientist Charles Darwin. Following his convictions and strong communist ideals, he volunteered with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. He was killed by a machine gun blast when, heroically, he tried to help a comrade in the Battle of Lopera on December 28, 1936. He had just turned 21 and had a promising literary career ahead of him. Among the poems written in Spain we can highlight Full Moon at Tierz, A Lefter from Aragón, To Margot Heinemann, Grieve in a New Way for New Losses and On a Lost Battle in the Spanish War.

Fox also came from a wealthy English family, but as a result of a trip to the Soviet Union, his social and literary commitment is marked forever. In the summer of 1936 he enlisted in the International Brigades, of which he would be the Deputy Political Commissioner of the 12th Battalion. He died in the Battle of Lopera, on December 27, 1936 when he tried to conquer the place known as “Cerro del Calvario”, when he was only 36 years old. His published books include the titles Capitan Youth, A comedy in three acts, People of the Steppes, A Biography, Marx and Engels on the Irish Question and Genghis Khan.

The town of Lopera pays a proud tribute to these British volunteers with a simple monolith to both writers and a commemorative bronze plaque to the poet John Cornford, made by Scottish sculptor Frank Casey and donated to Lopera Town Hall by British historian Alan DP Warren.


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You can find numerous traces of the Spanish Civil War throughout the municipal area of ​​Lopera, since the dividing line between the Francoist and Republican sides was located in the surroundings of the town, popularly known as the Andújar front.

You can visit two important machine gun nests next to the Puente del Arroyo Salado, in the area of ​​Las Esperillas, popularly known as “trenches”, which are made up of reinforced concrete blocks, interlocking iron and small pieces of stone. These formidable machine gun nests belonged to the national side and were used as guard posts.

The truth is that they did not go into battle, so they are in a very good state of conservation and that is why, together with the surrounding spaces, they have been used regularly for the recreation of the Battle of Lopera. The first machine gun nest is located on a completely flat terrain, about 2.5 kilometers from the urban area.

Its structure takes the shape of an “S”, has a height of 2 meters, more than twenty holes for the installation of the different machine guns, small holes in the upper part for the placement of rifles and automatic weapons, and interior areas for the reserve weapons and ammunition.

The other machine gun nest was located about a hundred meters away from the previous one (further from the road) and was built on a higher slope. Its surface consists of two small stairs, with three and two steps respectively, provided in turn with landings. Its structure takes the shape of an “L” and also ends in a semicircle. It also has holes for the location of machine guns, upper holes for the rifles and interior spaces for the conservation of the ammunition.