DESIERTO DE TABERNAS
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The Desierto de Tabernas, the desert of Tabernas is one of europe's driest places. Squeezed between Sierra Nevada, Gador, Filabre and Alhamilla its rock formations, vast lands and parched ramblas are very similar to the famous north-american western landscapes.
Therefor moviemakers explored the nearly untouched area in the south of Spain as film location. Many famous spaghetti-western - about 300 of them - were produced here. Sergio Leone's "Dollars Trilogy" (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), Bud Spencer & Terrence Hill and Indiana Jones, they all were made in the desert.
Most of the productions needed special film sets: saloons, forts, western towns.But when the film crews left there was no more use for the cheap and shaky built settings. They were left aboned to itself and nature. Most of them couldn't stand the tough weather in the desert for long, today they remain as debris. But some of them brave the elements and are still used as settings for new movie locations or advertising scenery. Or as touristic attraction - with horses, cowboys and loud western music.
The movie industry in the Desierto de Tabernas had its Peak in the 1960s and 70s. At times 14 film villages existed, in which movies were produced simultaneously. The whole desert was brewing from wild shootings and cowboys on their search for treasures, bandits and revenge. But after nearly two decades everything went back to normal. Western-hype was over and with it money and work. What remains until today are some film settings and lots of small actors, that had been working in the movies as extras, now entertaining the toruists and visitors in the theme parks.
But those visitors are realizing, that the gold old times of wild west in Tabernas are long gone. Stuntshows seem to be superficial and improvised and even the maintained settings are going rack and ruin. Whats left is a melancholic mood all over the desert. A mood that can only be masked by true Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone fans rambling through the desert. Ennio Morricone's famous melody always on their minds.