The Fort Alfonso XII or San Cristóbal is a fort located on the top of the mount San Cristóbal, 4 km from Pamplona, 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 San Sebastián.
The fortress 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 early stages of the Civil War (July-September 1936), the military rebels strong in Navarre unleashed a terror campaign against inconvenient, dissenting civilians in the rearguard. The inmate population in the fort rose to more than 2,000.
On May 22, 1938, some prisoners organised a massive prison break. 792 prisoners fled, but unfortunately for the escapees one of the guards sneaked his way to Pamplona, and gave notice. The Nationalist military rebels strong in Navarre went on to organise a manhunt, with only three managing to get to the French border; 585 were arrested, 211 were shot dead. Fourteen of the arrested who were considered the leaders were sentenced to death. Most fugitives were intercepted during the following days.
Those living through the military operation were brought back to the fort, imprisoned, and left to die of famine and disease, totalling more than 400. 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.References:
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.