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La Model prison opens doors to public

Interior courtyard of former penitentiary facility, a symbol of Francoist repression, can be visited from Monday to Saturday

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21 January 2018 05:38 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The infamous La Model prison in Barcelona will permanently open its doors to the public. From Monday to Saturday, between 10am and 7pm, the main entrance will be open to anybody who wishes to enter the former prison and stroll around its inner courtyard. La Model, located in the heart of Barcelona, became a symbol of Francoist repression during the many hard decades of the dictator's brutal regime. It officially closed down in June 2017. It was where, alongside the castle on Montjuic, political opponents were tortured and executed during the Spanish Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship. The last remaining prisoners, who were common criminals, were transported to new facilities after its closure.

“Now it is the citizens, who have fought for years and years, who are the protagonists of the recovery of La Model,” said the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau. “We do not want this space to be shrouded in shadow, fear and seclusion, but rather a place of meeting, dialogue, and freedom,” she added, stating that the imprisoned Catalan leaders, Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart, and Jordi Sanchez “would like to be with us today.”

“They are people of peace, democratic, who have defended their ideas in a peaceful way and should not be in precautionay prison,” she went on to say. Colau also highlighted plans to convert the space into another green spaced for the Catalan capital, as well as creating public facilities and public housing. In conjunction with the former penitentiary facility's inauguration under a new guise, a photography exhibition was also on show giving visitors an insight into how La Model looked before it ceased to be a prison.

Visiting the interior

Aside from being able to visit the open courtyard of the prison, where prisoners would have gathered during free time, people will also be able to take guided tours into the interior of La Model.

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  • Ada Colau (centre) entering main entrance of La Model prison, now open to public (by ACN)

  • Ada Colau (centre) entering main entrance of La Model prison, now open to public (by ACN)