Taj Mahal of Spain
June 12, 2018 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Like the Taj Mahal, Don Justo’s cathedral was born out of unwavering devotion to someone, and both of these magnificent specimens of religious architecture rose up from ordinary farmland. Unlike the Taj Mahal, though, the ex-monk Don Justo has built his masterpiece from donated materials and to no plan. And now it's under threat of demolition.
posted by MovableBookLady (11 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I love crazy eccentric things like this and Coral Castle and the Watts Towers. I hope they find a way to preserve it.
posted by drewbage1847 at 8:50 AM on June 12, 2018

The only link still working from my original post is worth another look: metaphoric learnings for contemporary alternative initiatives.
posted by adamvasco at 9:10 AM on June 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

See also Salvation Mountain. Only that's a slumping pile of mud and hay bales. This cathedral is magnificent!
posted by Nelson at 9:31 AM on June 12, 2018

I love outsider art and this structure is amazing. However, not to be a buzzkill but
Justo Gallego Martínez was born in Mejorada del Campo in 1925. As a child, he witnessed the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, in which countless priests were slaughtered and their churches burnt to the ground is straight-out fascist propaganda.

They weren't "slaughtered," they participated in an armed conflict and faced the consequences of that choice. A more accurate account of the history would be "by and large, the Spanish clergy organized for the fascists in the Spanish civil war and many became casualties in that conflict." Note that although churches functioned as organizing centers for the fascists in most of the country, in the Basque region, for example, the clergy allied with Republican forces and many were killed by fascist forces.

I've been noticing more and more anticommunist, racialist, etc. propaganda being quietly woven into the "context" parts of totally unrelated articles lately and I'm starting to care less about being seen as curmudgeonly or derailing. Like it or not, communists spent pretty much the entire 20th century sacrificing their lives by the millions to stop fascism and I'm sick of seeing liberals piss on that legacy to add "color" to their stories. If you want to hear about martyrs, look to the left, not to a handful of fascist priests who thought their backwards collars could protect them from the consequences of their support for genocide.

Cool church though.
posted by Krawczak at 10:09 AM on June 12, 2018 [16 favorites]

Petition signed, $3 sent. I hope he gets to be buried there. :)
posted by figment of my conation at 10:12 AM on June 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Heartbreakingly beautiful. Pissed at the monastery that wouldn't let him back in after his illness.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:30 AM on June 12, 2018

> They weren't "slaughtered," they participated in an armed conflict and faced the consequences of that choice.

Not to derail, but this is a cartoonish oversimplification from the other side. Plenty of priests and other religious figures were killed (often after torture) for doing nothing other than being what they were. It does not help the cause to paper over its atrocities; ideology does not magically erase human nature. It's one thing to say "once armed conflict starts, it's inevitable that both sides will do bad things" (though of course it doesn't excuse the individuals who do them); it's quite another to pretend that only the other guys do bad things. I understand your indignation, but you'll never convince anyone with untruths.
posted by languagehat at 10:37 AM on June 12, 2018 [10 favorites]

Fair enough, most did not pick up rifles and plenty were killed who did not actively, individually, organize for the fascists. But they were members of an organization that was, in that time and place, a fascist power center, and in that context, their "neutrality" amounted to support. It's equally "cartoonish" to say that their deaths were for simply "being what they were," particularly in the context of the fact I mentioned that there were areas in which clergy sided with the Republicans.

But I truly do not want to derail either, so I will step away from this thread now.
posted by Krawczak at 10:48 AM on June 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Not a just comparison by any means, but in terms of preserving eccentric and somewhat dangerous architecture, I'd add The Cathedral of Junk to drewbage's list. Maybe they'd consider appointment only viewings or something of that nature to ensure future patron safety.

As a fairly complex aside IMO the most frightening and complex cinematic allegory for the Spanish Civil War/post-Franco Spain is a fine little nightmare seed by the name of "Balada triste de trompeta." Absolute nightmare fuel.
posted by Dillionaire at 12:59 PM on June 12, 2018

This reminded me of this 99 Percent Invisible episode: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/la-sagrada-familia/

Apparently Spain is a good place to build a wild looking cathedral that may never be finished.
posted by robotmachine at 1:09 PM on June 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Reminded me of the Thomas Foster Memorial Temple, also inspired by the Taj Mahal and commissioned (during the Depression) by a former mayor of Toronto on farmland north of Uxbridge. He and his wife and daughter are buried there. The virtual tour goes inside the building. It's a sober Orangemen's the take the concept but still pretty flamboyant on the inside.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:42 PM on June 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

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