Is this the REAL Pan’s Labyrinth? A retired textile worker has spent the past 30 years building a sprawling enchanted maze in the forests of Spain.
Josep Pujiula, 77, began crafting his colossal labyrinth on the banks of the Fluvià river in Catalonia in 1980 and continues to add to its network of tunnels, towers and intriguing sculptures.
The maze, which recalls Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 Spanish fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth, has half a kilometre of walkways and is constructed from rustic materials like wooden planks and sticks bound with rope.
Travel photographer Alastair Philip Wiper, 34, sought out the labyrinth while travelling through Catalonia.
He said: “Whenever I travel I always keep an eye out for new adventures. I had seen the Labyrinth online and realised that I would pass it on my way to Barcelona.
“The woods were so thick you couldn’t see the labyrinth at first, but then the structures appeared out of nowhere, towering above the tree line.
“The first thing you see is a long wooden tunnel made of bent and bound sticks, shooting violently up the side of a steep hill. To get to the top of the labyrinth you have to get inside the tunnel and climb your way to the top. You have to be pretty fit to make it up there.”
Mr Wiper said he had to watch his step as he made his way up the hillside.
He said: “It felt pretty dangerous. Every time I stepped on a new rung of the ladder in the tunnel I could picture it breaking.”
Mr Wiper was greeted by several wooden towers which stretched 30 meters into the air.
He said: “Each tower contained a room filled with bizarre sculptures made of odd materials like dolls heads on sticks and old television sets. It was almost like he had been practicing voodoo in there.”
Mr Wiper spent two hours inside the labyrinth taking detailed photos of Mr Pujiula’s work although sadly did not meet the man himself.
Mr Wiper said: “I didn’t see him but apparently he is there most of the time continuing to build. It’s not advertised as a tourist attraction, but I’ve been told he is happy for people to come and visit.”
The structure was originally one and a half kilometers long but was dismantled in 2002 after the Spanish government, who had frequently voiced their objection to the labyrinth, demolished it to provide space for a motorway.
Mr Pujiula defiantly built a new structure alongside the motorway and continues to expand his creation while butting heads with the Spanish authorities.
Mr Wiper said: “The motorway runs parallel to the structure so it’s probably not as peaceful as it once was. I’m not sure why he decided to rebuild but I got the impression it is something he has to do.
“I love his attitude. When someone is obsessed by an idea and they aren’t going to let anything get in their way.”
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