La manga del mar menor before and after

In Spain we have some impressive beaches, which also form part of almost unique landscapes and ecosystems in the world. This is the case of La Manga del Mar Menor (Murcia), an enclave that could be described as a paradise… Or at least, it could have been a little over fifty years ago. Although La Manga has fantastic beaches, beautiful surroundings and great tourist facilities, the uncontrolled urbanisation that began in the 1960s has meant that what was once a privileged place as far as nature is concerned, has become a place where there is hardly a square metre left unbuilt.

The photos and video I show you in this post are really creepy. Although I have to say that despite the urban deterioration, in La Manga del Mar Menor there are still areas where the environment is preserved as it was, specifically at the end where the area of San Pedro del Pinatar is located.

A wooded area

La Manga is a narrow stretch of sand bathed by two seas, one on each side: the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor, a seawater lagoon with its own unique ecosystem. It stretches from Cabo de Palos to the salt flats of the aforementioned San Pedro del Pinatar, along twenty-one kilometres, and the width of the land area ranges from 100 to 1200 metres. This stretch of land was originally covered with native vegetation, although we would have to go back to the 16th century to see it: it was in 1582 when the forests were cut down to avoid ambushes by Algerian pirates.

The development of the 1960s

From then on, the spot became a sandy area with dunes and isolated areas of vegetation. It was still a beautiful environment thanks to the salt lagoon, the islands and the Manga itself… Until the 60s of the 20th century. The infamous developmentalism of the time and the beginning of the summer holiday tradition in the Levante area led to the beginning of the nonsense that we know today. In the 1950s, La Manga was only frequented by fishermen and sea turtles… And today it is one of the most built-up spots in Europe. The enormous beauty of this place means that today it is still a privileged spot with the best beaches, but it is also a shame to remember the virgin paradise that it was in other not so distant times.

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