The most beautiful cemeteries in Spain (and Siurana is not there either)

On the eve of All Saints, the result of the 2022 Spanish Cemetery Contest has been made public, awards granted by the magazine Cultural Goodbyeedited by the funeral service company Funespaña. The Cementiri General de Reus opted for three categories and the jury awarded it the second prize for the best funerary monument, for the Mausoleum of General Prim, and the third prize for the best open house activities for the concerts music to remember. The fact that the City Council, through the municipal company Funeral Services Reus and Baix Camp, collaborates with the aforementioned magazine and presents candidacies, within the framework of the policy of promoting the valuable historical and artistic heritage of the Reus cemetery, has never generated debate. .

In this 7th edition of the contest, a new distinction has been established: the most beautiful Cemetery in Spain, for which eight nominations have been submitted and it has been decided by popular vote among the readers of the website of Cultural Goodbye. The winner was Os Eidos de Redondela (Pontevedra), a cemetery with numerous pantheons and mausoleums built in the 19th century, which currently no longer has the capacity to accommodate more deceased. The title of most beautiful in Spain and the complete sign has reminded me of the recent controversy over Siurana (Priorat) and the refusal of its mayor to appear on the list of most charming towns.

Visitors from all over the world

As in the case of cemeteries, this is a promotion mechanism exploited by the association that owns the commercial rights of the brand. The most beautiful towns in Spain. In the same way that other private companies exploit other distinctives, such as The capital of rural tourism in Spain. Whether or not a tourist destination must pay to appear on these lists and distinctions is obviously a decision of each municipality based on its interests and circumstances.

It is a debate that can be interesting or futile. It depends on whether other more complex ones that affect the rural world and mountain villages, in which the impact of tourist activity goes far beyond a motto, are faced or avoided. The mayor of Cornudella de Montsant, the municipality to which Siurana belongs, put some on the table to justify his objections, but the interest of most of the media was not in the overcrowding that affects the singular district or the limited capacity of the car park and the access road, but to scrutinize more tribal issues, never better said.

The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain Association only includes one Basque town and two Catalans, a lack that possibly has more political than tourist explanations. And I think that the echo generated has obeyed more to the question of whether the Republican mayor of Cornudella had rejected the invitation for the last two words of the brand.

More instructive than the published news have been the last conversations I've had about Siurana. A few months ago I met two young people from Calgary (Canada) who had come to climb and were staying in Reus because they hadn't found accommodation closer to Priorat. An example of the level at which Siurana competes in the world of climbing and that the debate on the tourist promotion it needs and the volume of visitors it attracts cannot be based on simplicity.

no housing available

I commented on the anecdote with people with diverse interests in the area and they all agreed that one derived from the tourist impact in the Muntanyes de Prades as a whole is that all the construction and rehabilitation of housing is now used for tourist accommodation. If a family wants to rent or buy a house to live in a town, it is very difficult to find something available, unless it is built or reformed by the interested party. One of those infinitely more complex problems than being or not being on the lists that are published on the internet.

The last conversation, and the most recent, has been with a Swiss citizen to whom I recommended visiting Siurana during a stay for other matters in Reus. She has forwarded me a news item published in her country about the already famous refusal to enroll in The most beautiful towns in Spaincase that has drawn attention in Switzerland, a country that is distinguished by its abundance. Rarely will the rejection of a promotional offer have generated so much promotion.

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