When our guests arrive to Cal Soldat, once they are settled, they visit the compound: the library, the wine celler, the oven… they watch our story video in the meeting room, and then they ask: How did you get here?
Well, Rosa was going to conquer Mur’s castle and then two fairies met and then… you’ll have to come to know the full story. But today we bring you our invitation to visit the complex of Mur, formed by the castle and St. Mary’s collegiate church (colegiata de Santa María).
The castle, dating from 989, amazingly looks like a boat, sailing the seas of fog in winter. Its homage tower, a key point for the Al-Andalus border castles, is a splendid spot to sight the enormous horizon.
We are in the 11st century. Count Ramón IV de Pallas Jussà, master of the castle, and his wife Valença, daughter of Arnau Mir de Tost, promote the construction of the collegiate church, dedicated to Saint Mary. In 1069 it was consecrated by Guillem Arnau, bishop of Urgel.
So this is a place where spiritual and civil power came together. The way these people lived, the men, the women’s influence… all the secrets of the history, known by a few, today are discovered.
COME TO KNOW THEM!
– Arnau Mir de Tos – He was a medieval knight, a warlord, a forgotten man these days who conquered the Muslim territories from the lands of the Pyrenees to beyond Lleida and Zaragoza. At Mur, along with Ramón IV, they put together the strategies for the battles.
– Mur Collegiate Church – Eight centuries later, it played a main role in the salvation of the Catalan Romanesque art.
What happened? First of all, note that the best collection of Romanesque art is at the MNAC museum of Barcelona.
This story began in 1919, with the first detachments of the Romanesque paintings in Mur -using the strappo technique-, which end up being auctioned in 1921 at the Savoy Hotel in New York.
Today, the paintings are held at the Fine Arts Museum of Boston. Now at the Collegiate you can appreciate an exact reproduction of these master pieces.
We must say that ‘thanks’ to these turbulent facts, the rest of the Catalan Romanesque paintings were saved.
The great historical novel ‘Strappo’, by Martí Gironell, walks us through these events.
Did you know that Picasso was inspired by Romanesque? He was attracted by the mysterious look of the figures, the representation of the sky, the hell, the death, the beyond.
– Did you know that the first documents written in Catalan language were found in Mur Castle? The first document is dated from 1035, is the oath of allegiance of Radul Oriol to Count of Pallars Jussà, Ramón IV.
We recommend you to visit the castle and the collegiate church, they are holding even more secrets for you.
All the visit is guided and includes more detailed explanations of what it has been presented in this article.
Castle and Collegiate Church, there they are, proud, attentive and yet lonely.
Get ready for a rest to enjoy the culture and the history.
At CALSOLDAT it will be a pleasure to welcome you.
It’s 8 am and at the square, the porches and the restaurant there is a feeling, smiles, energy and coffee scent.
Adults, young people and kids are checking: bags, backpacks, maps…
The day before, they watched a video report about the canyon, explaining the background, precautions to keep in mind, gear to take, the sketch of the place…
Are we ready?
What a good feeling to go out for hike with family and friends!
The Mont-Rebei canyon or congost is an unknown territory, a nature’s master piece, where the river Noguera – Ribagorzana has made its way through Montsec Mountains for centuries, shaping a 500 meters deep canyon, which also works as a border between Catalonia and Aragón.
40 minutes in the car and we’ve arrived to LA MASIETA, a parking, information center and agrostore. Note that yesterday, during the preparation party, we talked you about the work of the Foundation LA PEDRERA in this natural protected space.
We get going, watching the startling, steep and spectacular landscapes.
What a feeling! We cross a suspension bridge and start entering the tiny path carved out of the rock, in the middle of the wall.
The atmosphere and the scenery overwhelm you, you can feel your breathing and your heart, all mixed with the murmur of the water and the whispers of the air. It’s such an astonishing place that you can feel the encountering with mother Gaia.
In the resting spots you can take some photos to bring the memories of this journey home.
And we arrive to the point were the canyon opens. Spectacular! So far, we are in the Catalan wall. Two choices:
1. Rest, talk, cool off and return calmly admiring the landscape from the other side.
2. Shall we keep hiking towards Aragón?
Remember that, as we told you, in 2013 a second suspension bridge was built so we can cross to the Aragón side and go up and down the wall through wooden stairs, to Montfalcó.
We keep going… After a little break, we get to the second bridge, we are prepared to rise through the stairs, where we’ll probably see the golden eagle, the bearded vulture and other birds living in these walls.
We arrive to Montfalcó and, at Casa Batlle shelter, after restoring the energies, we visit the Romanesque chapel of Santa Quiteria and San Bonifacio. What a sight! We are in the ridge of the mountain, with the river deep at the bottom, on the right we see the water valley of Canellas reservoir, and in front of us, in the Catalan side, the Pertusa Virgin chapel is waiting for us to come by on another hike.
Back to Montfalcó, we notice the silence of the rocks, but the stones of the ruins are talking to us.
Return from Montfalco.
– Returning by following the same path, but having in mind that the landscape we’ll see now is completely different from the one we saw earlier.
– Returning on a catamaran through the canyon.
– Using a taxi (no joke, there is a taxi service from the shelter to La Masieta).
Afterwards, when we are telling the stories of the day with a relaxing cup of tea or coffee, we’ll talk you about new hikes and trips like The Chinese wall of Finestres, a geology’s delight.
About Montclus, a town open by an earthquake. About Altimiris, a settlement of the fifth century with a 400m climb that reminds the Machupichu.
Here at CAL SOLDAT you have your home. We’ll help you organising these and other trips
for you and your family and friends, enjoying an unknown territory to which you’ll certainly come back.
The Tremp Basin (Conca de Tremp) is the excellence of the geology.
70 million years ago, the sea began to back off from the basin. The deposits shaped muddy landscapes, plenty of vegetation. This is the environment where the last dinosaurs of the Pyrenees lived. All this led, over the years, to ground substrates perfect to grow good wine.
In Pallars, vine-growing and winemaking have always been the main economy, along with cereal farming, almond and olive trees.
Selling oil and wine to the Pyrenees and Arán made people happy. But here too the phylloxera arrived, and it finished the vineyard off.
Conca de Tremp kept suffering several economic problems. The families made different choices, and most of the vineyards became empty.
In this context of weak economy, three unexpected inputs came:
1- CANADIANS. They promoted a project to produce electric energy from waterfalls. This was very important for the territory, and settled the base for the second industrial revolution in Catalonia.
2- THE MECHANISATION OF THE FIELD. The tractor replaced the animal work.
These impacts changed the society and the economy, and the vineyards in Pallars start to produce wine again.
3- The third impact: THE CLIMATE CHANGE. The enologists suggest to lift the vine fields.
The Pallars and its lands are a good place.
So, the first hero appeared, risking everything to set up a new winery for HIGH-ALTITUDE WINES. An example for other wine experts from Catalonia, and an incentive for the rest of the wineries in Pallars. With Designation of Origin Costres de Segre its wines are more and more famous.
Heroes and heroines keep joining this project of making excellent wines, many of them with organic methods. With different grape varieties like Merlot, Syrach, Cabernet Sauvignon and the native Ull de Llebre, Muscat, etc. these wines feel so good as if they were blessed by BACO himself.
Visiting the wineries we discover the wine life, and the cohabitation secrets it keeps with the wood of the barrels or the stone of the ‘cubs’, chipped by hand by the hospitable monks of the XIInd century. Here, geology and enology come together.
Do you want to visit one or two wineries on high altitudes? Walk through the vineyards, touch the leafs, feel the ground and communicate with the wine. Contact us and we’ll set it up.