Fort San Cristóbal (Spain)
It was built after the Carlist War of 1872-1876 because Carlists succeeded to reach Pamplona -controlled by the liberal Government- with their artillery from this and other mountains surrounding Pamplona from the north. The advances in artillery during late 19th century forced the military authorities to build this kind of fortifications in order to control mountains and hills close to important towns. Another example of this is the fort San Marcos, near to San Sebastián.
It was built from 1878 to 1919. The top of the mountain was blasted and most of the construction is underground, so it is barely visible from the outside. Its three floors have an extension of 180,000 m². It is surrounded by a moat and the total extension of the facility is 615,000 m².
After the revolution of 1934, nearly 750 revolutionary convicts were imprisoned there. Most of them were amnestied after the electoral win of the left in February 1936. During the Civil War the Nationalist authorities imprisoned more than 2,000 war and political prisoners. On May 22, 1938, some prisoners organised a massive prison break. 792 prisoners fled, but only three managed to get the French border; 585 were arrested, 211 died. Fourteen of the arrested who were considered the leaders were sentenced to death. Most fugitives were intercepted during the following days. In 1988, a sculpture was erected to honour the memory of the Republicans who died there. The fort ceased to be a prison in 1945.
The Ministry of Defence still owns the facility although the last troops left it in 1991. Although there has been several projects for recovering the fort and giving it a new use and in 2001 it was decreed "good of cultural interest", it remains today abandoned and ruinous.
- General information about the fort, and special focus to the 1938 prison break, by an association devoted to honour the memory of the fugitives (Spanish) (Basque)
- Images of the fort (Spanish)