The Boi Valley located northwest of the Catalan province of Lleida, preserves within it a priceless treasure: one of the architectural and artistic heritage of Romanesque art in the world.
On this route we propose a tour of some of the people that host this important legacy in the form of churches Barruera Boi, Coll, Durres, Erill la Vall, Iran i Taüll. In 2000, UNESCO declared World Heritage of Humanity nine of these religious temples.
The first thing you should know if you decide to do this route is that when we speak of the Boi Valley actually referring to a set of valleys and mountains, about 220 kilometers long, all located in the region of Upper Ribagorza leridana .
We are talking, therefore, a mountainous area that for many years has remained isolated from outside influences. This has allowed populations to preserve area together historical and artistic values ??and urban characteristic of the Pyrenean valleys, which over time have achieved global fame. Not surprisingly, in 2000 UNESCO declared the Catalan Romanesque heritage World Heritage Site.
This town can serve you as a starting point to begin the route. It is a small village located at 1180 meters altitude, which offers you the first visit to a Romanesque church of the Valley. It is the parish church of St. Mary, dating from the twelfth century and is located on the outskirts of town.
Just above and to the right, you will come to Iran , a population of only eleven people who own a small church with a single nave dedicated to San Clemente.
Later will come to Barruera , with little more than six hundred inhabitants, is the capital of the Valle de Boi . Here you can visit the Church of Sant Feliu, dating from the XI-XII centuries and is located near the river Tor. Keep the four-story square tower and semicircular openings.
From Barruera can take a detour to reach two miles then to Durres , a small town of 1,386 inhabitants located few meters, keeping all the charm of the Pyrenean villages (stone houses with the typical postcard of mountains in the background). There you will have the opportunity to visit the Church of St. Mary of the Nativity. This is a twelfth-century temple has an eighteenth century baroque altarpiece. It also has a spectacular five-story bell tower of a square.
Back in the valley you can go to Erill la Vall , a town situated at the foot of Erill peak (2516 meters). In this town you can visit the Church of Santa Eulalia, a building of a single nave with wooden beams and slate roof Lombard style. To enter it you have to go through an atrium with arches. Once inside, you can view a XI century font and the altar stand XII century, which is carved from a single block of stone.
From here, if you take the L-502, you will reach Boi , a population that is interesting to discover, to visit the Church of San Juan, and for being the starting point to visit the National Park and Lake Aigüestortes St. Maurice . About the church say that it is a Romanesque church of the eleventh century Lombard which has a plant structure, typical of the basilicas, and a twelfth century bell. Inside are kept some reproductions of murals of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. They are copies because the originals are in Barcelona, ??at the National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC).
In Taüll can visit two treasures of the Romanesque: the Church of St. Mary and the Church of San Clemente. The first is located within the village and is a building of three ships, one central and two lateral held with arches. It also has a bell tower of five floors. The second is considered the work that best represents the Catalan Romanesque, among other things, by the famous apse Pantocrator presiding. Currently this painting, along with others, are in the MNAC and what you can see in the church are reproductions. This church is one of the last buildings Lombard Romanesque art in Catalonia. In addition, you can also see its impressive bell tower of six floors.
What is Romanesque art?
This artistic style spread throughout Europe during the tenth to XIIII. The style of the Boi Valley is known as "Lombard Romanesque" and is situated between 1010 and 1075, when a group of Italian stonemasons settled there wanting to implement this type of art which, fortunately, has reached our days.
The Romanesque style is characterized by careful work of the stone, the slender towers, external decoration and interior arches sober.
By car: From Barcelona, ??you must take the AP-2 and then follow the road N-230 towards Lleida - The Pont de Suert - Vielha. Two kilometers after passing through the Pont de Suert , you must take the L-500, which runs parallel to the river Noguera de Tor. If you actually go to the Valley from Girona, first you will have to take the AP-7 to Barcelona and then follow the steps above.
By bus: The company Alsina Graells covered with various bus lines route between Barcelona and Lleida and the region of Alta Ribagorza.
By train: The nearest stations are Lleida and Pobla de Segur. ( www.renfe.es )
To help you better locate the Boi Valley on the map, we will tell you how far it is from the Catalan capital to El Pont de Suert : Barcelona: 260 km, Tarragona 216 miles, Lleida: Girona 125 miles and 381 miles.