Cistercian Route II: Culture, fauna and flora around Santes Creus
In this second installment of cister invite you to discover the monastery of Santes Creus and surrounding areas, rich in fauna and flora, thanks in large part to the influence of river Gaia river that marked the historical development of these lands.
All trascurrirá in Alt Camp, a region with a strong role by the cuisine and traditional culture, the region of the onions and the castles par excellence.
The Monastery of Santes Creus begin construction in 1160, after a decade of debate on its final location. It is a splendid building in the style of medieval Catalan, with lots of details to contemplate the immense rosette, the resonance of the bedrooms, the cloisters ...
Despite being abandoned and partially destroyed during the nineteenth century, in 1921 was declared a national monument and took charge of its restoration process.
It is the only one of the monasteries of the Cistercian Route has no monastic life and therefore allows us to explore every corner, becoming for a time, monks of the Cistercian order.
Located in the region of Alt Camp between sea and mountain, the view of the monastery allows us to know a region with a strong role in the cuisine and traditional culture, the region of the spring onions and Castles par excellence.
Between castles and spring onions: Valls
Just as in the rest of the regions of the Camp de Tarragona, in the Alt Camp find a strong presence of modernist cooperative wineries, localities in which you will find are: Valls , Goat Camp, El Pla de Santa Maria, Renau , Bràfim , Vila-rodona, Aiguamúrcia , Santes Creus, Alió ....
Start the route by Valls , the capital of the region. This town is located in a rather traditional way, from Barcelona, ??Tarragona and Lleida, a fact that has allowed him to be an important business center in different times in history. From this legacy remain interesting buildings to visit.
At first we approached the town hall square, also called Plaza del Blat. This place is known as the cradle of the castles as it is the place where human towers face two local groups throughout the season. The town hall has been maintained since 1595, however it has been subjected to some reconstructions throughout time. We continue to the church of Sant Joan built along XVI century with a Gothic style and sporting a bell of 74 meters, which is the highest among the parish churches of Catalonia. The whole facade can only be seen from the street of the Clerk from where we can lose in the little ghetto of Valls and where we can still find their mark on the city. Finally we suggest a visit to the Chapel of the Roses, located on Paseo de la Cort, closely followed by two large inside glazed tiles depicting the battles of Lepanto and the monument to the castles of Josep Busquets, located on the seafront of Caputxins and honoring the human towers.
Furthermore, we should emphasize the protected geographical indication Calçot Valls, a fact that makes the city the capital of Calçot during the months of November to April. The celebration of popular foods like starring calçot has spread throughout the region and the secret of romesco sauce, part of the essence of this tradition.
Corners of Alt Camp
Leaving the capital we find other great places scattered around the region. If we take the C-37 to Valls reach Alcover , a municipality that has built and maintained the passage of different styles of everyday construction of the villa. Medieval remains found interesting as the portals of Sant Miquel and Saura, the convent of Santa Ana, and the beautiful church. At the same time we find that weighs heavily hand Renaissance Pere Blai local teacher, who will highlight the new church, the town hall, and the Abbey House Cosme. Returning to the capital along the same road and taking the C-51 from Valls reach Alio , a small village of 400 inhabitants, perfectly preserved medieval structure, keeping the castle, the courtyard and the structure of the wall. Following the same road and taking the right hand deviation reach Montferri even smaller population where there is a shrine to the Virgin of Montserrat. This Modernist style building was started in 1925 by a disciple of Gaudi, but it was not until 1999 that its construction was completed. It is a jewel visible from different parts of the territory of Tarragona. After visiting the sanctuary we can go to the Monastery of Santes Creus leveraging sites which provides the river Gaia.
By the river Gaia to the Monastery of Santes Creus
Gaia The river was a natural border when the Muslims occupied Catalunya, these historical facts we have been many ancient buildings, towers and castles on both sides of the river which can be accessed by dirt roads. It is worth noting Rodonyà Castle, built on the right side of the river a few kilometers from Montferri , is under restoration and to appreciate the style of the buildings of the time. But besides these basins have a very specific flora and fauna, we will not find in many places in Catalonia thanks to the low presence of man. A highlight of Santes Creus alboreda on the left side of the river that keeps the species from riparian vegetation, almost exclusively in Catalonia.
Once here and will only need to cross the river Gaia to find the Monastery of Santes Creus , in the municipality of Aiguamúrcia , is perfectly entitled to be visited, also guide if we are interested. The construction of the twelfth century and inhabited until the nineteenth gives an exhaustive idea what was the modus vivendi of the monks who inhabited it. It should be noted the two cloisters, especially the largest, by the thoroughness of the capitals of the columns, mostly the work of an English builder. Also see the bedrooms, considered an extraordinary acoustic act for which it is currently used as a concert hall for classical music, apart from the multitude of perfectly preserved and stays outside the monastery buildings, such as the royal palace and the Romanesque church of Pla .