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15 abril 2024

Ocultura 2023: Exploring Magical Spain with Javier Sierra and two more Planeta Award Winners

The Auditorium of Zaragoza will host the VI International Meeting of Ocultura from November 9th to 12th.

Zaragoza is preparing to welcome a cast of writers and experts in the mysterious and supernatural in the sixth edition of the International Occulture Meeting. Organized by the Zaragoza City Council and led by the renowned Teruel writer Javier Sierra, this event promises to be a fascinating experience for all lovers of “Magic Spain”. From November 9 to 12, the Zaragoza Auditorium will become the epicenter of conversations about the most enigmatic places in the country.

This edition of the Ocultura Meeting has a special reason: to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the publication of the first “Guides to Magical Spain” by Juan García Atienza (1930-2011). These guides have become a source of inspiration for two generations of anthropologists, historians and popularizers, giving rise to a whole literary genre of manuals that invite you to discover the secrets and mysteries of the history of Spain.

The highlight of this event is the presence of three award-winning writers, all of them winners of the prestigious Planeta Prize. Dolores Redondo, known for her novels filled with stories of witches and supernatural creatures in Navarre’s Baztan region, will share her perspectives in the opening session entitled “Los pueblos malditos” (The Cursed Villages). Juan Eslava Galán, multi-award-winning author, will talk about his research on relics in “El cáliz de la discordia” (The Chalice of Discord). Finally, Javier Sierra himself, famous for his novel about the arrival of the Holy Grail in Aragon, will explore this theme in his talk.

All of this year’s sessions will take their title from works by Juan García Atienza, a tribute to his contribution to the literature of the occult and the mysterious. In addition to the talks, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy a special screening of the miniseries “Camino de Santiago” directed by Javier Sierra for Movistar+. This series reveals the influence of the visions of Sister María de Jesús de Ágreda in the consolidation of the Jacobean Route.

On Saturday morning, November 11, Ocultura will welcome the Huesca anthropologist Ángel Gari, who will present his documentary “El salto de Roldán”. There will also be a round table discussion entitled “Los santos imposibles”, in which authors such as Clara Tahoces will talk about the research of Dr. Mónica Rascón in relation to the incorrupt body of St. Isidro Labrador in Madrid. This discussion promises to explore how science and tradition approach the miraculous legends of the past in the 21st century.

In the afternoon, Javier Sierra and Jesús Callejo, authors of the renowned “La España extraña”, will answer the question of how to recognize a magical place. After consulting almost sixty experts from all over the country, they will publicly present the first Decalogue of Magical Spain, signed by all of them, which will provide a guide to identify these special places.

The last day, on Sunday, November 12, will include a table entitled “The Spanish heterodox”, which will pay tribute to Juan García Atienza and his work. Writers such as Fran Contreras, Clara Tahoces and Jesús Callejo, along with Atienza’s son, will review his life dedicated to vindicating Spain’s legendary and mythical heritage. The event will culminate with a live recording of the national radio program “Ser Historia”, directed by Egyptologist Nacho Ares.

In addition to the talks and activities at the Zaragoza Auditorium, the Ocultura Encounter will connect with more than thirty locations throughout Spain over the four days. Local experts will showcase the most magical and mysterious corners of the Spanish geography, promising a virtual journey through magical Spain.

Photos: Miguel G. García

Among the prominent participants in Ocultura are Fran Contreras, author of the “Magical Guide to the Camino de Santiago”; Israel J. Espino, expert in “Secret Extremadura”; Antonio Enrique, author of the “Treatise on the Hermetic Alhambra”; Sebastián Vázquez, specialist in “Sacred Routes”; Ramos Perera, known for “The Country of María Santísima”; José Gregorio González, author of the “Magical Guide to the Canary Islands”; Alberto Cerezuela, expert in “The Strange Almeria”; Carlos G. Fernández, creator of “50 magical places of Galicia”; Miguel Aracil, author of “Atlas de la Cataluña mágica y misteriosa”; Ana Esther Méndez, expert in “Salamanca de Leyenda”; and Luis Bausá, author of “La vuelta a Toledo en 80 leyendas”, among others.

In short, the VI International Occult Meeting in Zaragoza promises to be an unforgettable event for all those who are fascinated by the magical and mysterious history of Spain. With the participation of three outstanding Planeta Award-winning authors and a program full of talks and activities, this event is presented as a unique opportunity to explore the secrets and wonders of “Magical Spain”.

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