The Simple Life: Matavenero, Spain

The Simple Life: Matavenero, Spain

spring I travelled to an eco-village called Matavenero in
Léon, an isolated mountainous region in northwest Spain. Just
getting there involved a challenging three-hour hike through dense
forest – there are no roads leading to the settlement, so
travelling in a motorised vehicle is impossible.

Matavenero was abandoned in the late Sixties when villagers went
in search of work in urban centres. But in 1989 an international
mix of independently minded people who wanted to live simply in
harmony with nature began to repopulate the area.

The community has grown to attract people from all over Europe
and today there are approximately 60 inhabitants (including a dozen
children) most of whom are German, Spanish, French and Danish.

Matavenero’s residents have chosen to settle in the eco-village
for varied reasons, but they all share a common vision. These are
people who have shied away from the hustle of modern efficiency and
consumption in order to exist in a self-sufficient and
environmentally conscious manner.

The utopic vision of Matavenero might seem unrealistic to some.
But when documenting the everyday lives of the villagers, I found I
couldn’t feel anything but admiration for their persistence and
commitment to transforming their values into reality.

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