Military Gem

Hidden in the heart of the Spanish city of Valencia is a military history museum packed with exhibitions including several unique vehicles

Located at the San Juan Rivera Barracks, in the Alameda district, the building housing the Valencia military museum has been the headquarters of various units since it was built in 1898. The museum was inaugurated in 1995 and the exhibits are presented in 22 rooms and courtyards over two floors, with the upper floor providing access to a balcony, which runs around the top of the barracks’ parade ground. 

While most objects on display are Spanish and trace the history of the Spanish Army up to recent peacekeeping missions, there are also items from other countries, such as Germany and the Soviet Union. A Soviet-built T-26B was one of 281 supplied to the Republican Forces during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). 

Armed with a 45mm gun and 7.62mm machine gun, they were undoubtedly the most effective tanks involved in the war and captured vehicles were often reused by Gen Franco’s Nationalists. In 1985, this vehicle was used in the Spanish film La Vaquilla, a comedy set during the Spanish Civil War about Republican troops infiltrating Nationalist lines to steal ‘the heifer’ mentioned in the title, both to spoil the Nationalists’ fiesta and to have a good meal themselves.

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