Candeleda in Spain has a problem. The town is mainly inhabited by men, with a desperate shortage of brides. A dating agency decided to try to solve this problem.
Candeleda is a small town in Ávila province, in the autonomous region of Castile and León, Spain. The town has a population of 6,000 people and is nestled on the banks of the Lobera River.
A beautiful place, with one big problem. Most of the population is male. According to some ancient cave paintings, the town of Candeleda has been inhabited for around 5,000 years, but now the population is tending to shrink.
A Spanish dating association, Asocamu, which was set up in 1995, decided to try and resolve the situation. They have organised caravanas de mujeres (caravans of women).
According to one of the organizers of the association, Manuel Gozalo, with Spain's financial crisis and the lure of jobs in the city, people have been leaving Candeleda. Many villages in central Spain are falling into ruin and national statistics show that of Spain's 5,000 villages, almost 100 are under imminent threat of abandonment. Gozalo says that the male residents in the central plain are finding the loneliness too much to bear.
They were apparently inspired by a Hollywood western to attempt to slow a population drain from Spain's central villages, by introducing bachelors to single women brought in from Madrid. The 1951 movie "Westward the Women", which starred Robert Taylor and Denise Darcel told a story of the American West and how it was populated by wagon trains of women to provide company and brides for the lonely pioneers.
True to form, 68 women arrived in the town by bus from Madrid for a meet-and-greet with the single men of the village and a major fiesta was held. In the village men and women met, flirted and danced.
Resident Jose Miguel, 67, says that he would hate to see the population of his village dwindle away after such a long history. He told reporters, "I've checked out the few widows and single women here. I signed up for this to meet new ladies and to hopefully show them the beauty of my town."
Blanca Fernandez, 52, who works in sales in Madrid was attracted by the idea of a nice day out and a chance for romance.
"I know it's difficult to find the love of one's life, but some of these meetings have led to marriages," she said.
The video above shows some scenes from the lovely village, for any ladies thinking of a romantic vacation.