The strategic character of the city of Tortosa throughout its thousand years of history can be discovered from a quick look at the maps, models and studies that have been produced or, alternatively, by working your way around its miles of city walls, towers, forts, outposts and gateways. However, there is a less conventional way to find out about the defensive and passive adaptations that have been made in response to the conflicts in which the city has so often found itself involved. There is even a way to gain a first-hand insight into the feelings and experiences of the people who lived through the Spanish Civil War.
As it has been so many times before, Tortosa became a battleground and war front during the last armed conflict. The city was systematically bombed from the air.
Among other measures, to protect the citizens from air raids, several shelters were built to serve all the neighbourhoods in the old town, many of which took advantage of the city’s natural terrain.
These include the Air Raid Shelter nº. 4, located on Carrer Ernest Hemingway, under the slopes of the neighbourhood of El Garrofer, at the southern end of the medieval city.
It was the largest shelter in Tortosa, with a capacity for 400 people. The shelter is a network of excavated galleries with paved floors and walls of brick and cement. They are ventilated and have a modest electrical installation. We now have the chance to relive the atmosphere of those months in 1937 and 1938, thanks to magnificent sound effects. Frequent guided tours are available with supporting documentation.