Jánovas, the evicted village aiming to reborn – Part II

This post is also available in: Spanish

[… this post is a continuation of the previous entry…]

Mr. Antonio Espinosa, from Casa Agustín (family nickname), is more or less 65. His approximate age may be deduced from some details he told me last saturday in Jánovas: in 1964, he and his family were thrown out of the village by the Spanish Civil Guard. Antonio was 15 and for some years, he, his family and the people of the town had been suffered the stressing harsh from the administrations and the concessionaire company (Iberduero, now Iberdrola) of the reservoir projected in the 1950´s decade in the lands of Janovas and the surroundings.

Jánovas is not an abandoned village, deserted. Jánovas is an evicted village”. Antonio Espinosa.

Walking in Jánovas is touching. It must have been a really prosperous village, within the prosperity scale used in Aragon and specifically in the Pyrenees.


The church´s tower remains standing and the inner chapel is in amazing conditions. Such is the chapel´s state that I asked Mr. Antonio about the paints on the walls and he confessed me that it was the decoration for a movie recently filmed in Jánovas.

“It is about Kosovars, but I don´t remember the tittle”

Romanesque arc of Jánovas´church, currently in Fiscal. Source: Biquipedia

Indeed, Jánovas simulated a kosovar town [1] in the film Kamikaze (dir. Álex Pina, 2014).

By the way, the romanesque arcade of the Jánovas´church is kept in Fiscal.

Leaving anecdotes aside, one asks oneself how is possible the state of abandonment of such heritage -among other hundreds, yes, hundreds- by the Aragonese bodies.



50 years after those dark and sad times, it is possible to meet Mr. Antonio among other people in Jánovas. One of those people are the Garcés family, the lasts that left the town in 1984.

They returned to their village, to their homes. They are reconstructing the buildings despite the difficulties: in addition to the payment of the expropriation price updated to the CPI (some 30 times the amount of money they received decades before) the Administrations have returned the buildings in ruins that must be reconstructed, all this not taken into account.

They started with the water fountain, the school and will continue with the church, for which it is agreed to replace the romanesque arc kept in Fiscal.


The sad story of the latests decades of Jánovas (Chánovas in Aragonese lenguaje) hangs on the wall of one of the houses that remain partially standing in this village: Casa Agustín, the house of Mr. Antonio Espinosa´s family, the house they had to leave half a century ago. Today, from the same village homes, the Jánova´s story is also a story of hope.

They are heroes. All of them. An example of very essential values. They are the water that flows again in Jánovas, if sometime it stopped flowing.

Don Antonio Espinosa, de Casa Agustín, con su mujer y otra vecina en el puente colgante sobre el río Ara que, desde 1881, da acceso a Jánovas
[1] CRUZAT, ANA. VIAJEALPIRINEO.COM. El Pirineo, un lugar de película. http://www.viajealpirineo.com/pirineo-de-pelicula/. Consulted 03 jun 2014.
IMDb. Kamikaze. 28 mar 2014. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1928200/. Consulted 03 jun 2014.
BIQUIPEDIA. Fiscal. http://an.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiscal. Consulted 03 jun 2014.
BIQUIPEDIA. Chanovas. http://an.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanovas. Consulted 02 jun 2014.