The Cerro de la Oliva Trenches – Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Spain - Atlas Obscura

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The Cerro de la Oliva Trenches

Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Spain

Not far from Madrid, a set of perfectly preserved trenches date back to the Spanish Civil War.  


Just east of Madrid, on the outskirts of the dormitory town of Rivas-Vaciamadrid, is a series of forts, trenches and machine-gun nests from the well-known Battle of Jarama, which took place during the Spanish Civil War.

The Battle of Jarama, which took place in the 1930s was an attempt by the Nationalists of General Francisco Franco to break the Republicans defensive front lines along the Jarama River with the intention of taking the city of Madrid.

In the place called Cerro de la Oliva, you can still see the trenches excavated by the Republican army as well as preserved installations and concrete tunnels from the war.  

From 2008 to 2009, Cerro de la Oliva was excavated by archaeologists with the intention of recovering this area for a project that would be called Jarama´s Educational Park or Parque Didáctico del Jarama. The project was an ambition of the Rivas-Vaciamadrid City Council but never was completed. Today, Cerro de la Oliva remains abandoned, serving as a reminder of Spain’s tumultuous past. 

Know Before You Go

Travelers should note that Cerro de la Oliva is now abandoned and that there are signs posted discouraging entry into the forts due to the threat of tunnel collapse and other safety concerns. It is best to enjoy the Cerro de la Oliva from the outside. 

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