A 28 km of Mas Torrencito. Bisuldunum, as the place was known in its origins, was born as a great fortress built between the Fluviá and Capellades rivers, and even today it preserves its medieval magic, impregnated in each stone, material par excellence in local architecture. Besalú and Castelfollit - mas torrencito, rural tourism pets Girona
The indisputable beauty of Besalú has made this town one of the most visited in the province of Girona, attracting lovers of history, art and also good food, its grilled meats and sausages being well known
It is worth getting lost in its streets, some of them really narrow, and wandering around the old town either on foot or by bicycle, immersing yourself in an atmosphere that has remained almost unchanged since the times of Count Bernat I, alias «Tallaferro», with whom Besalú lived its time of glory, back in the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries.
The Old Bridge.
Its structure, entirely made of stone and perfectly adapted to the capricious orography sculpted by the river course that it must bridge, consists of seven pointed arches of different lights that follow one another along the no less than 145 meters, even describing a daring angle oblique that divides the passage in two
Right at the end of the bridge and acting as an access gate to the city, stands a towering structure of an eminent defensive character, while, more or less in the middle of the route and at the point where the construction traces the mentioned angle, a second, much slimmer tower is raised open in its lower body by means of a pointed arch
Monastery of Sant Pere de Besalú.
The church of the old Sant Pere de Besalú Monastery is a building with three naves separated by semicircular arches, a marked transept topped at each end by apsidal chapels, and a monumental chevet characterized by the unusual and most interesting ambulatory that allows to surround the presbyterial area.
Of the preserved ecclesial complex, the slender gallery of four arches on pairs of columns that separates the ambulatory from the presbytery stands out for its singularity, without a doubt.
These columns top in capitals of excellent workmanship, two of which are worth mentioning in which figurative scenographies are recognizable alluding to the Cycle of the Childhood of Christ, specifically the episodes of the Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt.
In an intermediate register between the arcade described and the oven vault that covers the presbytery, a frieze of blind arches with a Lombard flavor is described, framed by two imposts of corner ashlars.
On the outside, the enormous size and sobriety of the headboard are striking, only relieved by simple voussoir openings and by a cornice of blind arches similar to the one that adorns the presbyterial space in its upper register.
The main facade, open to the western side of the factory, presents a simple entrance opening with interlocking decoration. Above it, and in order to illuminate the central nave.
A superb triple archivolt window was drilled on columns with decorated capitals, being flanked on each of its sides by two felines with marked jaws that, with their claws, subject various allegorical figures allusive to sin.
Church of Sant Vicenç. Besalú and Castelfollit - mas torrencito, rural tourism pets Girona
In the center of the town, the Church of Sant Vicenç is a construction of three naves covered with a barrel vault, the central one, and a quarter barrel vault on the sides. It has, like that of Sant Pere, a marked transept preceding a proportionate triabsidal apse on the outside of which the ornamentation based on blind arches on the cornices is repeated.
Of the two preserved facades, the western one has a voussoir profile supported by two pairs of slender columns topped with capitals that support a smooth tympanum; while the southern one, considerably older and more interesting, opens with two archivolts decorated with palmettes and a twisted bocel that will fall into capitals decorated with plant motifs, and a varied repertoire of monstrous winged animals that seem to swallow human heads.
Collegiate Church of Santa María
In the highest area of the town, very close to the site where the castle was located, the remains of what was the old canon of Santa María, today privately owned, resist.
Of the primitive factory, currently looted, part of the transept and the head are preserved, formed by two minor apses open to the arms of the transept, and by a deep straight section that gives way to a larger apse, which is traversed outside by a rough band of blind arches.
From this temple come several fragmented remains preserved today in the Pedralbes monastery of Barcelona, among them, an interesting portal enriched by a historiated tympanum
Old Hospital of Sant Julià.
Right in front of the apse of the Monastery of San Pedro and very close to one of the gates, the walled perimeter that protected the town, was located the important hospital complex of Sant Juliá, of which only the spectacular south portal of its church has been preserved .
It is presented embedded in a projecting body within which the five archivolts that compose it are drawn, keeping in the outermost a careful plant decoration with characteristics very similar to appreciable in the Ripoll Monastery. The capitals that have reached our days present vegetal decoration with a Corinthian flavor and the prototypical anthropophagous felines already seen in the nearby monastery of Sant Pere.
The Jewish quarter
The network of streets that makes up the old Jewish quarter of Besalú constitutes a constant invitation to delight and admiration, because here you can find authentic architectural jewels without parallel.
It is enough to enter a little through the labyrinthine Jewish quarter to find typically medieval squares such as the Llibertat, surrounded by old houses where you can still see inscriptions with the date and authorship of the work, according to the Hebrew custom.
However, the jewel of the Jewish quarter are the so-called "miqwe", ancient baths used by the Jews for the purification of their bodies.
These baths offer a simple, rectangular structure, generally covered by a barrel vault. Those of Besalú date from the twelfth century and enjoy the privilege of being the only ones preserved in all of Spain and, practically, in the rest of Europe, as there are only two more examples in the old continent, one in Liege (Belgium) and the other in Nimes (France).
The medieval spirit of the popular streets of Cano, Tallaferro or Pont Vell also impacts; as well as the charm of the Casa dels Tres Arcs. Along with the architectural beauty, the historic center of Besalú offers other peculiarities that make visitors fall in love, such as the presence of huge carline flowers decorating doors and windows in the style of centuries ago, when the locals anticipated the humidity of the environment depending on whether the flower was more or less open.
Besalú medieval festival.
Perhaps the best time to visit Besalú is during the first weekend of September, when the city dresses up to celebrate its traditional medieval festival.
During the festivities, the Middle Ages settles in the city, the locals change their clothes for classic clothes and prepare to enjoy the show with minstrels, troubadours and even battles between knights.
Routes around Besalú.
La Garrotxa Girona is one of the Catalan regions where the highest density of Romanesque buildings have reached our days, an interesting list of monuments of interest being preserved around Besalú and within a radius of kilometers that can be perfectly covered in one day:
Just five kilometers from Besalú is the town of Beuda, whose parish church, dedicated to Sant Feliú, is an interesting Romanesque building with three naves without a transept that ends in three semicircular apses decorated on the outside with corner imposts
Its main portal, very simple, presents zoomorphic decoration in its eroded capitals, highlighting the original ironwork preserved in the entrance door for its originality.
Also worth mentioning is the magnificent baptismal font deposited inside the temple, decorated with a register of arches that house different individualized figures.
In the municipality of Beuda, the Church of Sant Sepulcre de Palera is another sober but interesting Romanesque work of three naves finished off in as many semicircular apses
On the banks of the Fluvía, and geographically very close to Besalú, the church of Santa Eulalía de Crespiá draws attention for its powerful apse, with a bastioned aspect as a defensive fortification.
The south wall opens its main portal, with four archivolts that frame a smooth tympanum.
A few kilometers from Crespiá, just on the other side of the Fluvía, the town of Esponellá is dominated by its Church of Sant Cebriá, a building documented already in the XNUMXth century but whose preserved remains date back to the end of the XNUMXth century, highlighting, like in Beuda, the original Romanesque ironwork of its simple four-archivolt portal.
Next to the road that connects Besalú with Figueres, stands the temple of Sant Vicenç de Maia de Montcal, a compact building with a single nave covered with a barrel vault that ends in a semicircular apse opened by a pointed triumphal arch.
South of Besalú and very close to the also relevant town of Banyoles, the Church of Santa María de Porqueres is one of the most unique religious buildings in La Garrotxa.
Consecrated in 1182
It would not cease to be one of the many medieval churches that dot the Catalan geography were it not for the very curious interior articulation of the head, which, preceded by a powerful triumphal arch on decorated capitals, is structured by five minor apsidioles; the two ends have a quadrangular plan, and the central ones are semicircular, giving the head end an exotic treborated compartmentalisation that can only be seen from the inside.
Halfway between Besalú and Banyoles, the picturesque town of Serinyà stands on a spectacular rocky spur from which vast panoramic views are dominated. Its parish church, dedicated to Sant Andreu, is an interesting construction dating from the end of the XNUMXth century in which the external decoration of its only apse stands out, very similar in invoice to that of Sant Pere de Besalú.
The town is also of Romanesque origin the hermitage of Sant Miquel de Ses Vinyes. Also of Romanesque origin are the nearby churches of Santa María de Argelaguer (a town that preserves the renovated remains of a powerful defensive tower), Sant Mateu de Vilademires, Sant Martí Sesserres, Sant Juliá de Corts, Sant Miquel de Campmajor or Sant Andreu del uninhabited nucleus of Lliurona.
Finally, the spectacular medieval town of Castellfollit de la Roca deserves to be mentioned, highly appreciated by visitors due to its vertiginous location on a basaltic rock.
Thank you very much and we hope to see you soon. #Uncompresented