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Ten souvenirs for sale at Valley of the Fallen, Franco’s grave in Madrid

Thimbles and paperweights sit incongruously on display above 33,833 dead bodies

This chocolate lollipop of the Valley of the Fallen is priced at €1.75
This chocolate lollipop of the Valley of the Fallen is priced at €1.75

The Valley of the Fallen, the monument that Spanish dictator Francisco Franco ordered built 75 years ago “with the goal of perpetuating the memory of those who fell in our glorious Crusade,” as the government’s Official Gazette described it at the time, is also Spain’s largest mass grave: under it lie 33,833 people, of whom only 21,423 have been identified.

This place is also the burial site of Franco, who died 40 years ago today.

The Valle de los Caídos, which contains the largest cross in the Catholic world (150 meters tall and 46.40 meters wide) is one of the most popular sites under management of Patrimonio Nacional, the national heritage trust: there were 240,837 visitors last year, putting it in third place after the Royal Palace in Madrid and the royal complexes of El Escorial and Aranjuez.

Inside the first hall of the basilica, which still officiates Mass every day, visitors come across a small, bright area enclosed in glass that stands out among the massive stone and marble structure around it.

This is the souvenir shop, the place where those 240,837 visitors will, it is hoped, pick up a memento before they leave the place where Franco and 33,832 other people lie buried.

These are some of the items on sale within:

Thimbles

Besides this model, there are others in a variety of colors. Price: €3.70.
Besides this model, there are others in a variety of colors. Price: €3.70.

Retro TV-shaped slide viewer

The slides depict the cross, the crypt, the choir and more. Price: €4.10
The slides depict the cross, the crypt, the choir and more. Price: €4.10

Miniature easel

A miniature metal replica of a painting of the cross rests on the easel. Price: €4.50
A miniature metal replica of a painting of the cross rests on the easel. Price: €4.50

Tee-shirts

Tee-shirts go for €9.90.
Tee-shirts go for €9.90.

Paperweights

The base is made of wood. Price: €8.20.
The base is made of wood. Price: €8.20.

Coffee spoons

These spoons with the cross on top of the handle cost €6.90.
These spoons with the cross on top of the handle cost €6.90.

Assorted ceramics

Cups, tiles, bells, boxes...Prices range between €4 and €8.
Cups, tiles, bells, boxes...Prices range between €4 and €8.

Miniature teacups

Miniature cups for sale at the souvenir shop.
Miniature cups for sale at the souvenir shop.

Postcards

Two of the postcards on sale for €0.75 each.
Two of the postcards on sale for €0.75 each.