Romanesque architecture

The Girona Pyrenees aren’t just about the scenery; they’re also about the art of Romanesque architecture, simple, austere and perfectly integrated in the beautiful surroundings. You can find churches scattered all over the area, along with hermitages set in woodland and small chapels of great symbolic value for the local population. What’s more, you can also discover Romanesque monasteries that played a prominent role in key chapters of Catalonia’s history.

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This architectural site, in the municipality of Vilabertran, is made up of three elements of diverse chronology: the church, which dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries, the cloister, built in the 12th century and the abbatial palace, from the same period. It is one of the best examples of civil Gothic architecture in Catalonia. Despite having been seriously deteriorated after the plundering of the French troops and the progressive privatisation of many of its elements, the collegiate church of Santa Maria de Vilabertran has fully recovered its public use. It is currently consolidated as the home of the prestigious Vilabertran Music Festival.

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At the top of the Verdera mountain range stands one of the most interesting complexes for discovering the mediaeval world. Here we find three elements that represent the pillars of feudal society: those who pray, in the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes; those who produce, in the village of Santa Creu; and those who do battle, in the castle of Verdera.

The centre of the complex is the monastery of Sant Pere, which became the most important monastery in the country of Empúries both for the significant role played by its abbots and because it was a major magnet for pilgrims due to the relics in its custody.

From its very foundation it enjoyed the protection of the counts of Empúries, who granted it lands and privileges, turning it into an important feudal lord in its own right. Its domains encompassed Santa Creu de Rodes, a village mainly dedicated to trade and craftsmanship, which met the needs of the monastery. Thanks to the constant visits by pilgrims, it thrived between the 12th and 14th centuries, boasting up to 250 inhabitants. However, wars, looting and the ravages of blighted harvests and epidemics eventually led Santa Creu to be abandoned.

The safety of the complex depended on the castle of Sant Salvador de Verdera, symbolising the warrior aspects of feudal society. The castle had been donated to the monastery by the counts of Empúries. Nonetheless, when they realised its strategic value, with such a commanding view of Cap de Creus, they tried to regain ownership of it, triggering constant confrontations with the abbots.

The outstanding element of the complex is the monastery church whose originality and antiquity makes it an exceptional example of Catalan Romanesque architecture. Built between the 10th and 11th centuries as a place of worship for pilgrims, it gives us a good idea of the monastery's golden age. The building stands out for the considerable height provided by an original system of pillars and double columns, and for the highly ornate capitals and the decorated doorway (of which little remains), the work of the Master Craftsman of Cabestany.

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The Gothic basilica of Santa Maria has the structure and size of a cathedral, a title that it failed to obtain despite several attempts by the counts of Empúries. It is one of the most interesting examples of Gothic religious architecture in Catalonia.

The works, which began in the 13th century, continued throughout the 14th century and were completed at the turn of the 15th century, when the façade with the beautiful marble entrance was built. The interior is typical of the Mediterranean Gothic style with its outstanding Romanesque baptismal fonts, the noteworthy 15th century alabaster main altarpiece, two sarcophagi of Catalan counts and a Gothic stained-glass window, the 18th century altarpiece of the Sorrows, the 19th century organ and many other elements of interest.

The bell tower, with Gothic decoration, retains the architectural composition of Lombard Romanesque bell towers and most probably dates from the 13th century.

The Parish Museum displays carvings, gold and silver work pieces, liturgical ornaments and archaeological artefacts from various periods.

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The church or chapel of Sant Nicolau dates back to the 12th century and is slightly older than the monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants. It was built on the site of the monastery cemetery in order to provide certain parish services for which the monastery was responsible.

The small chapel is in the Romanesque style with a single nave and three apse chapels forming a trefoil. It has a Latin cross layout. The barrel-vaulted nave, 6.4 metres wide, stretches 13.8 metres to the wall that separates it from the transept and 22.2 metres to the end of the apse. The transept is 8.6 metres wide with a semicircular apse on either side, both of which are the same size as the one that forms the head of the chapel. The octagonal lantern tower in the centre of the chapel served as the base of a small bell tower. The interior is free of ornamentation. Outside, a series of arches envelope the lantern tower.

The chapel of Sant Nicolau was acquired by the city council and is currently used to house exhibitions.

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The first documentary evidence of the parish church of Sant Cristòfol dates back to the end of the 10th century. Nevertheless, the church we see today is a very typical example of 12th century Romanesque architecture. The church is large with a slightly pointed barrel-vaulted nave strengthened with two main arches. The chevet is composed of a semicircular apse and two rectangular chapels that flank the wide presbytery. The square bell tower is located on the south façade, composed of a blind base and four floors. Inside the church there is a wonderful 2.7-m high wooden carving. The iconography of this carving of Christ in Majesty is in keeping with models of the eastern school, specifically the Syrian school, where Christ wears a long tunic and sleeves. One theory suggested by historians is that the Majesty of Beget was one of the carvings produced by a workshop in Ripoll in the 12th century. Inside, visitors can observe the 14th century Gothic alabaster altarpiece of Our Lady of Beget, along with baroque altarpieces and a Romanesque baptism font.

The church was declared a national monument in 1931. It has remained largely unchanged since the baroque period. And thanks to the protection of the town's inhabitants it was saved from destruction during the Spanish Civil War.

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This distinguished church, the oldest in Girona, enjoys the title of Major Parish Church and was the episcopal see before the construction of the present-day cathedral.

It houses the remains of the martyr Sant Feliu, victim of Emperor Diocletian's persecution (305 AD), along with those of the patron saint of the city and bishopric of Girona, the bishop and martyr Sant Narcís.

The present-day church was built between the 14th and 15th centuries, while the chapel of Sant Narcís, designed by the architect Ventura Rodríguez, with paintings of Manuel Tremulles, was added between 1782 and 1792.

The church also contains eight Roman and Early Christian sarcophagi from between the 2nd and 4th century AD, which probably came from a cemetery that once existed on the same site.

Since May 2011, the basilica of Sant Feliu has held the title of Minor Basilica, bestowed by Pope Benedict XVI.

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The parish church of Figueres dates from the 10th-11th century. However, a new church was built in the 14th century and further reforms were carried out in the 18th century and at the end of the 19th century. Reconstruction works were carried out between 1941 and 1948.

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Building with a basilica floor plan with three naves and chevet with three apses, built with characteristic red stone. The central nave is covered with a pointed barrel vault, and the side naves with quarter-circle vaults. On the east façade two of the three original apses survive, decorated with Lombard motifs, twin columns and capitals. The only items of value found inside are a baptism font and the capitals, all decorated with Corinthian features.

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The cloister of the ancient convent of El Carme was built at the end of the 16th century It consists of a two-storey building designed by the architect Llàtzer Cisterna, which has made it the most valuable architectural building in Olot. One of just a handful of surviving Renaissance cloisters in Catalonia, it has been declared a Monument of Historic-Artistic Interest.

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The rich past of the town of Peralada is evident in every corner: its significant architectural heritage includes the cloister of the ancient convent of Sant Domènec, dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. This place of great beauty houses columns and capitals depicting powerfully expressive biblical scenes and scenes from daily life in the mediaeval period. It is one of the key elements of the Museu de la Vila (Town Museum), located in the Sant Domènec Cultural Tourism Centre, a facility where visitors can discover the history of Peralada up to mediaeval times.

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    [nom] => Esglèsia de Santa María de Ribes
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Girona Cathedral, built on top of successive constructions, was built between the 14th and 17th centuries. The main characteristic of this temple, of huge dimensions, is the vastness of its single nave, in Gothic style. Although the church was originally designed to have three naves, in 1417 the risky decision to carry on with just a single nave was taken, a daring construction move for that period. The result was a single nave which, at almost 23 metres wide, is the widest Gothic nave in the world.

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The Benedictine monastery complex is the jewel in the crown of the town's architectural heritage. It preserves extremely important elements such as the Romanesque Porta Ferrada (Iron Gate), the most ancient part of the complex, which has become a symbol of the town. The church of Mare de Déu dels Àngels and the Corn and Fum towers also form part of the complex, which houses the City History Museum and will soon also house the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Catalan Art Collection Centre.

The city's past, including its prominent cork industry, has left an important architectural legacy in the form of the modernist houses of Sant Pol beach or the manor houses on the seafront, presided over by the Casino de la Constància (19th century civic centre). Other places of interest include the Toy Museum, the Cava Cap Museum and the Lifesaving Museum. The chapel of Sant Elm is also well worth a visit, boasting one of the best vantage points on the Costa Brava; indeed, this is where Ferran Agulló christened this stretch of coastline with the name Costa Brava.

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The monastery was founded in 887 by Wilfred the Hairy for his daughter Emma and the religious community that gave its name to the municipality. In addition to the architectural characteristics of the monastery, its importance stems from the sculptures it contains, some of the most important of which are the Descent from the Cross (seven figures in polychrome wood, in an almost natural format, which date back to the 12th century) and the 14th century Gothic alabaster altarpiece of Santa Maria la Blanca, among others. The monastery museum is a faithful portrait of the intense social and cultural life it has developed over the course of its existence.

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Building with a basilica layout with three naves and chevet with three apses, built with characteristic red stone. The central nave is covered with a pointed barrel vault, and the sides by quarter circle vaults. On the eastern side, there are three primitive apses, decorated with Lombard motifs, twin columns and capitals. The only pieces of value that are housed inside are a baptism font and the capitals, all decorated with Corinthian features except for a couple of them, which show mythological elements.

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Benedictine Monastery founded in 977. The building has a basilica layout with three naves, the central one covered with a round arch barrel vault and the side ones with quarter circle vaults, with a transept that protrudes on either side and a central apse enhanced by an ambulatory decorated with Italian influenced capitals. Of the monastic complex, one of the most notable in the Catalan Romanesque style, only the church, with a basilica layout, remains.

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Founded in the mid 10th century by Count Wilfed of Besalú, grandson of Wilfred the Hairy. The present-day church was consecrated in 1167 and is all that remains of the monastic site.

It is in the Romanesque style, with the typical rectangular, Latin cross layout and a very beautiful bell tower. With its simple and austere decoration, this building can be considered more typical of the Cistercian order than the Benedictine order.

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    [descripcio] => 

Town of Romanesque origin which still preserves valuable castles, ancestral houses and monasteries, making it worthy of a visit. It enjoys a perfect, natural integration with its environment, with religious, mediaeval architecture distributed through the centres of Segueró, Palera and Lligordà. Worthy of mention are Sant Domènec de Palera, a notable 11th-century Romanesque construction, with large well-cut ashlars, consecrated in 1085, and Sant Feliu de Beuda, which preserves a 12th-century baptism font decorated with figures in relief and blind arches.

[nom] => Monastery of Sant Sepulcre de Palera [IDclub] => )

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