Some days you visit a place and you just can’t wait to get home, process your photos and write about the experience. The barrio of San Isidro in the town of Orihuela is one such place. I have been completely blown away by the visual feast that I have gorged on today.
Back in 1976 the good people of Orihuela felt freed from the shackles of the newly defunct dictatorship. In celebration, San Isidro’s population, often marginalised and certainly poor, decided to decorate their houses but the Guardia Civil were not in such a joyous mood and felt the need to prevent them from doing so. People power won the day and soon the barrio was alive with colour and newfound freedom.
Today you can wander the streets for hours admiring these works of art. Some are clearly political, others an expression of hope and optimism or reflections on the past. Quite a few are inspired by the work of Orihuela’s famous poet, Miguel Hernández, who died in prison just after the end of the civil war. It is believed he died of the pneumonia he contracted thanks to the brutal prison regime of the time. Quotes from his poems adorn several of the murals.
Wandering aimlessly around a district like San Isidro can be a bit intimidating for some people. It’s not difficult to see that you are in one of the poorer areas of town but a friendly “Hola” goes a long way and we found the people there nothing short of friendly. The Town Hall do run guided tours if you feel the need for such assistance.
A map to find the right area would have been an idea as we nearly gave up and went home, so here you are! If you would like to read more then Valencia Today published a very good article in December 2013. Alternatively, just enjoy my photos – be patient and wait for the widget to load as I have uploaded about 20 piuctures!