Feature of Escúzar, the town chosen for the construction of IFMIF-DONES if it is finally decided to be built in Europe.
Antonio Arrabal Saldaña
Escúzar is a small town in the province of Granada, located 24 kilometres from its capital city. Its ideal location is one of its strengths. Its landscape, people, and patron are the main reasons for the positive opinions about this city, with barely 800 inhabitants.
Living in Escúzar is a luxury. It is a peaceful town, well communicated with the capital. The cinema, shops, hospitals, and other services are at a 20-minute drive; the beach and ski resort are 45 minutes away and the airport at only 25 minutes.
Escúzar is in an area called Tierra de Aguas (Land of Waters), with wonderful natural surroundings, full of possibilities and entertainment: Bermejales reservoir, walking trails, Juan Espadafor aerodrome, the Nature Park of Tejeda and Almijara, rivers, spas… at only a 30-minute drive.
Escúzar is both at a near and far distance from everything. It is a place to go to for a specific reason and not a transit point (except for cyclists). For this reason, Escúzar is a quiet place to start a family. There is a nursery school run by the town hall, a public preschool and a primary school, and a health centre. Noteworthy are Escúzar’s Guadalinfo centre (centre devoted to boost digital competence, innovation, and provide internet access), public library, sports centre, paddle tennis courts and CrossFit facilities, swimming pool, the Ermita and Virgen del Rosario children’s parks, and the Higuerón health park. There are also several warehouses at the disposal of the people in Escúzar for organising parties, courses, yoga classes, English lessons, flamenco dancing, etc. There are many squares in Escúzar.
Just above Escúzar we find a viewpoint called Cruz Mocha, from where one can enjoy the 360 breath-taking panoramic view. It is very peaceful and always colder and windier than in the town. A trail to this viewpoint was recently adapted with benches and picnic areas for those who want to do a circular hiking route. You can go to Cruz Mocha for a picnic and enjoy the peace and its magnificent views.
Some of the features that make Escúzar an interesting place to live are its history and culture: the Fonseca manor, popularly referred to as Casa Granada, the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, the irregular street pattern in the centre of the town and an underground gallery, the Chapel of Señor del Rescate and the Arab baths. Casa Grande was declared a site for cultural interest, it is well preserved. Attached to it is the Alquería Watchtower, built in the 12th century, which can be viewed from Calle Ermita. Inside, there is an Arab bath. The Church, formerly connected with Casa Grande, is a must-visit. In its magnificent baroque altarpiece, we find the Virgin of the Rosary, Saint Joseph and the Infant Jesus, and a small Immaculate Virgin. The Chapel, dated from the 19th century, preserves the image of the patron of Escúzar, el Señor del Rescate and a canvas which we all know as estampa (‘vignette’), illustrating the legend of the Girl on crutches, the reason why the chapel was built thanks to the help of the neighbours.
In Escúzar the neighbours know each other. There is a spirit of community. We care about the weak, attend funerals, congratulate in births, and look after our neighbours. Social networks help us be connected and we use them as a communication and informative tool. The Mayor is a friendly person, available 24/7, always at the neighbours’ disposal.
The spirit of community can be witnessed especially at the most important day of the patron saint’s festivities, the penultimate Friday of August. Neighbourhoods, politics, and football preferences are put aside on this day to accompany the patron through the streets of the town. The festive mood can be felt in every corner of Escúzar during this week. The streets are full of activity and the bars full of people that return to their hometown to spend this festivity with their families and enjoy the activities programmed as well as the religious cults organised by the Church along with the Brotherhood of el Señor del Rescate and Virgin of the Rosary.
The town, surrounded by the countryside, is ideal for nature-lovers. At the south is Serrezuela, with an Arab cistern and various stone quarries, which formerly provided masonry for important monuments, such as que Cathedral of Granada. Sierra de la Pera is in an area known as Cuevas del Agua, in a setting with green meadow, holm oaks and wildflower that people go to on San Marcos day, on the 25th of April. It is a tradition to spend the day in the countryside with family and friends and eat hornazo, which is a bread roll with oil and a boiled egg in the inside. There is another tradition which concerns the egg, but we will let you discover it on your own.
Other traditions that define us and have an important role are the unique festivities of our town and of others nearby such as the Candelaria, at the beginning of February. Bonfires are built and hachos, a torch with a pleated end made of esparto, are lit and then put out after tossing them. The fire, people gathering around the bonfires, and the cheerful ambience of this festivity create an environment that is difficult to put into words and only understandable if you are there in person.
To keep these traditions alive, we organise workshops for adults on how to make hachos. We also organise them in schools for children with the help of volunteers. We practice exchanges between generations. Other traditions involve the parade of the Three Kings on the 5th of January, May Cross festivity, or the chestnut festivity, which coincides with Halloween on the 31st of October. Our festivities try to keep the traditional activities, but we are also aware of the importance of technology and of being environmentally friendly. For this reason, we have participated in the past years in an innovative project that studies the impact of technology in our daily life with the company TurningTables. The project is installing solar panels in the town and we are currently one of the few towns in Granada to have a charger for electric vehicles.
Unity is strength and therefore you will find associations for women, for the elderly, for parents, for hunters, for sports and for the youth. It is not only people who gather to achieve a purpose. The Town Hall of Escúzar recently joined an association called Tierra de Aguas with another 8 towns with the aim to address matters such as employment, tourism, and agri-food industry. We want to raise awareness on the richness of this area at a regional, national and, why not, international level.
In short, Escúzar is a small and quiet town where children have a happy childhood and practically have private lessons at school. It is surrounded by nature, ideal for hiking, cycling, or running. It has the necessary infrastructure to have a comfortable life and access to essential services as education and health.
Escúzar is a small agriculture- and farm-based town. In the last decades, its economy is also based on mining (stone, strontium, and gypsum) and it is currently in the spotlight for having reached the final phase as the location of the IFMIF-DONES particle accelerator. The specific site will be the Metropolitan Park. Some important companies are already based there, such as Aceites Maeva, Grupo La Caña or Megasur, and others are in the process of moving as is the case of ROVI Group, IFFCO Group, or Lidl, who will bring its logistic centre to this site.
Many are the reasons for which a company should consider moving to Escúzar. The Metropolitan Park of Escúzar is in an optimal location and has the most complete facilities for the correct functioning for any type of industry (own electrical substation, natural gas, own and guaranteed water supply, wastewater treatment plant, 24h surveillance, and a 4.6Mw solar plant to supply the necessary power to the Park). In addition, the attractiveness of the IFMIF-DONES project will be a boost for Escúzar, both economically and socially.