National Geographic : 1992 Apr
hotel was being converted into apartments. The striking thing, in a country that relies so heavily on tourism, is how untouched so much of Spain remains. It was in Belchite, an almost wholly forgotten town bombed to destruction during the Spanish Civil War, that I came across the amiable figure of retired local farmer Crist6 bal Izquierdo. Five feet and one inch of leather and sinew, he led me on a brisk tour through the ruined streets, scrambling over piles of rubble, darting into cellars, pointing out what remained of the local sights: the hospital, the bank, the church where he was baptized in 1924, the houses of his family and friends. Most buildings were roofless shells, left in ruins above the plains of Aragon as a reminder of the war. "This is where we hid, my family and I," Izquierdo announced at one ruined structure. "It was the summer of 1937. I was 13 years old. For two weeks the bombing didn't stop." How many townspeople died? I asked. "No one knows. Hundreds. You see that bombed-out church? At least 200 people were hiding in the crypt when it took a direct hit. They all died. They're still down there. After the battle the authorities "Since I was born, I've dreamed offighting bulls," confesses Leocadio Dominguez (right), an appren tice torero practicing on a farm in southern Spain. Martin Pareja-Obregdn fights professionallybut won time off with afriendat the Seville Fair (below) aftera bull gored his arm. "I chose this pro fession because I thought it was the most beautiful thing I could do with my life," he says.