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   On the south coast of the island of Tenerife, in Spain, is located El Sanatorio de Abades, a group of building scattered between the town of Abades and Punta de Abona, in the municipality of Arico.

   The Canary Islands were a breeding ground for leprosy and other infectious diseases with a common denominator: poverty. Although leprosy never became a pandemic in the Archipelago, the disease caused much social alarm.

   Those infected with leprosy were ostracized by their communities and families. They suffered a double stigma: The social, in a society that is already very unequal, and the religious, not for nothing has leprosy been recognized since biblical times as a divine punishment.

   In 1943 the construction of the Sanatorio de Abades began. In those years the disease was already curable thanks to the " dapsana " and the deformities were not as atrocious as before.

   It is incredible that so much money was invested out that time in the construction of a leprosarium. Especially since the trend in the world was to close them. Even the WHO indicated that it was a very little contagious disease.

   For the construction of the Leproseria de Abades the famous architect Jose Enrique Regalado Marrero was counted on. The construction of a hospital, a crematorium, schools, administrative building and a concrete church with a large cross was planed. The style followed was the neo-canarian and above all, the post war Francoist style that expressed the national-catholic ideology of the regime. A terrifying combination.

   As expected, the Sanatorio de Abades never received any lepers. The success of the new medical treatments and the advance in the citizen mentality, made it unnecessary.

   Without any alternative use, the Sanatorio de Abades slowly deteriorated. In the 70,s it would be used as a military cantonment for target practice. Later the zone was demilitarized.

   At present it is in a state of total abandonment. It is usually a meeting point for paintball fans, graffiti artists, motocrossers and cyclists, sometimes there are night raves.

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