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FOR SALE: General Franco's summer palace

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FOR SALE: General Franco's summer palace
The turreted country house used by Franco and his family for summer holidays. Photo: Xunta de Galicia
11:32 CET+01:00
Ever wanted to live like a dictator? A real estate firm has released a bizarre video clearly hoping to interest admirers of the fascist dictator Francisco Franco in buying the Galician manor where he and his family spent their summer holidays.

The historic property in the village of Sada near A Coruña in Galicia, boasts 15 bedrooms, a private chapel and hunting grounds in excess of 16 acres. 

But it not only comes with controversial past; it is also the subject of an ongoing legal battle.

The Pazo de Meirás has been put up for sale, with a price tag of €8 million, just weeks after the death of Franco's only child, his daughter Carmen, who inherited the property on her father's death in 1975 and was a regular visitor there until her own death last December.

READ MORE: Dictator Franco's only daughter dies

In recent years the palatial retreat has been a subject of controversy, not only because of the manner in which it was ‘gifted to El Claudillo' but because his heirs continued to enjoy the spoils of the dictatorship and refused to open it to the public.

The palace was built in 1893 by the writer Emilia Pardo Bazan but was ‘donated' by the people of A Coruña to General Franco, a native of Galicia, in 1939, the year that he won the Spanish Civil War and began a 36-year dictatorship.

Franco's widow and daughter file past his open coffin in November 1975. Photo: AFP

In truth, a voluntary 'popular subscription' was held to buy the property as a gift for Franco but those who failed to contribute risked being labelled as 'reds' or enemies of the state

Moreover, dozens of local families claim that they were kicked off their farms when Franco decided to expand his hunting ground around the Poza, and in recent years there have been several unsuccessful attempts to claim back the property for the people.

The turreted country house was declared part of Galicia's cultural heritage in 1991 and as a site of special public interest in 2013, a status that legally requires its owners to open to the public for at least four days each month.

After initially refusing to do on invasion of privacy grounds, the manor was put under the management of the Francisco Franco Foundation which ran guided tours extolling “the greatness of the figure of Francisco Franco”.

READ MORE: Franco's summer palace to offer guided tours that 'glorify the dictator'

The tours were strongly criticised by Historical Memory groups as well as left-wing Galician nationalist parties.

Now, a high end real estate firm has undertaken to sell the property. Although they make no mention of its historical connection in the online advert targeting foreign buyers, the firm is clearly hoping to pique the interest of Franco admirers.

The video published on YouTube by Mikeli Luxury Real Estate shows historical footage of the dictator relaxing in his summer home interspersed with contemporary images of the same views.

With English subtitles the video scans across the private chapel located between the entrance to the property and the two towers.

“This is where the warlord starts his day,” states the voiceover from the past with an image of the General attending a private mass with his family.

The clip then takes us to the library where the chair and desk used by the Generalissimo as he dealt with the daily tasks of ruling a country with an iron fist are included in the sale.


However, potential buyers should be aware that the local council in Sada is attempting to block the sale and start the process of returning the pazo to public ownership.

 “We want to speed up the work of both commissions to find how we can do things and to launch legal proceedings to get the sale contract annulled,” said Sada's urban planning councillor, Francisco Montouto.

He insists that the property should be returned to the Galician people.

“It's a symbolic matter of doing away, once and for all, with the legacy of this brutal dictatorship,” he said.

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