The village of weddings
According to the National Institute of Statistics, Campillo de las Ranas, in Guadalajara (in the province of Castilla La Mancha), officially has 198 inhabitants. One hundred and seventeen are men and 81 are women. However, despite its small population, this village has the honour of being one of the places where most weddings are held and also one of the most characteristic destinations of the so-called “black architecture”, a kind of popular house construction that uses slate, a mineral of grey, violet and bluish tones, as its main raw material. This gives the village a characteristic dark colour which, curiously, contrasts perfectly with the white of the weddings.
Of the more than 800 weddings that its Mayor, Francisco Maroto, has officiated in his three legislatures, 30% have been between people of the same sex. Maroto, who came out of the closet when few did and is married to the village Justice of Peace, is the great figure behind Campillo de las Ranas’s fame as a wedding tourism destination. This economic activity has brought about the modernisation of the village’s access to the communication networks and the reopening of the school, and has recovered the life for a place which was virtually abandoned 20 years ago.
His work has been immortalised in the documentary “Campillo sí, quiero” [Campillo, yes I do], by Andrés Rubio. This cinema producer, who came to Campillo through tens of cinema festivals around the world, believes that the village’s success is due to the fact that “in an original way”, the Mayor has managed to stop the depopulation and, ”thanks to the high percentage of weddings between people of the same sex, has turned the village into an example of tolerance and good neighbourliness”.
Rubio, who was inspired by the respectful atmosphere of the Ocejón Valley to make the documentary, attended different thematic weddings while the filming was under way, such as one in the fantastic surroundings of The Lord of the Rings or one in which the couple and their guests were dressed as Templars and Moors. Mayor Maroto allows the couples to create their own ceremony with the reading of poems, music, atmosphere… all as the wedding couple desire. The success of the village and the documentary has been such that The New York Times made a long report on it.
Picts: Destino Arquitectura Negra
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