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Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí, Spain






Fast Facts

Location: In the Spanish province of Lleida, in the northern edge of the Comarca of Alta Ribagorí§a.
Best Time to Visit: Can be visited anytime of the year. But summer and winter are really mild.
Preferred Timing: 10.00 a.m. to 07.00 p.m.
Getting there:
Air:
There is no airport in Vall de Boí­, though one is under construction at Alguaire. Therefore, if you want to come here by air, the nearest airports for you will be Barcelona or Tarragona. Take bus or car from Barcelona to reach Vall de Boí­.
Bus:
Take Alsina Graells from Estació del Nord Bus Station at Barcelona. For further information, you can call at +34-902 303 222. You will also find bus from Estació d´Autobusos of the city of Lleida. For any assistance, call at +34-973 268 500.
Train:
If you are coming down by train, the nearest rail station would be Lleida-Pirineus. You need to take a train of RENFE Railway.
Entry Fee: Euro 3 (Though rate may change from time to time)
Nearest airport: Barcelona or Tarragona
Nearest rail station: Lleida-Pirineus

While Islamic invaders overran Spain for much of the early Middle Ages, with Moorish cultural, artistic and social influences perpetrating every aspect of Spanish life, a little corner cradled on the lap of the high Pyrenees Mountain was closely preserving its Christian identity — the Vall de Boi. The villages in the Vall de Bois changed hands often while shifting allegiance from one county to another, created fortification to defend their faith and political obedience and most significantly, built amazing Churches in the Romanesque architectural style that was current at the time. History has gone through numerous turns and bends since then, but the Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Bois still maintain their solemn charm, filling the soul of the onlooker with wonder and awe.

Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí­ are some of the greatest examples of Romanesque art and architecture, which attract the interests of thousands of people all over the world. Valle de Boí­, an autonomous community of Catalonia, popularly known as Valle de Bohí­ in Spanish, and a small municipality in the Spanish province of Lleida, is actually a narrow and steep-sided valley. Located in the high Pyríéníées in the Alta Ribagorí§a region, the valley, surrounded by steep mountains, saw the construction of a number of churches during the 11th and 12th century. Later it became known to the rest of the world for its nine Romanesque churches which were chosen as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 30th November, 2000.

Churches of the Vall de Boí­

Vall de Boí­ is known to the rest of the world for its number of Romanesque churches. In fact every village of Vall de Boí­ has a Romanesque church and the region became most densely concentrated place of Romanesque architecture in Europe. The churches of Vall de Boí­, standing on small granite ashlars, are covered by wooden beams or tunnel vaults. With its bell towers standing out, the slender square plan towers used to connect and survey the territory. The interior of the churches had mural paintings, descents, carvings and altarpiece frontals.

In the year of 2000, UNESCO chose nine Romanesque churches and designated Vall de Boi as the World Heritage Site. Those nine churches are:
  • Sant Climent de Taí¼ll
  • Santa Maria de Taí¼ll
  • Sant Feliu de Barruera
  • Sant Joan de Boí­
  • Santa Eulí lia d'Erill-la-Vall
  • Santa Maria de l'Assumpció de Cóll
  • Santa Maria de Cardet
  • Nativitat de la Mare de Díéu de Durro
  • L'ermita de Sant Quirc de Durro

Sant Climent de Taí¼ll: Sant Climent de Taí¼ll, built during the 11th century, was a prototype for the fundamental basilica plan Romanesque churches. It has three naves separated by columns, and covered with a wooden gable roof. The church was consecrated on 10th December, 1123 by the bishop of Roda.

Santa Maria de Taí¼ll: Consecrated on 11th December, 1123, Santa Maria de Taí¼ll has three naves, each of which is ending with an apse. During the 18th century, the church was renovated and a now dome was also added.

Sant Feliu de Barruera: Located at the north of Barruera, the Sant Feliu de Barruera has only a nave left out of three originals. The church also has a barrel vault and a semicircular apse. There is also a bell tower located at the southeast corner of the church. During the 16th century, a renovation work was undertaken when two Gothic chapels were added to the main nave. A Gothic western faí§ade was also added.

Sant Joan de Boí­: Sant Joan de Boí­ has got three naves, with apses at the eastern edge of the two side names. Though originally it has got stone roof, but it was later replaced by timber. The church also had a bell tower to the south of the southern nave. During the 18th century, it underwent a heavy renovation.

Santa Eulí lia d'Erill-la-Vall: Santa Eulí lia d'Erill-la-Vall is located at Erill-la-Vall and has got a single long nave with triple apse. It original barrel vault was later replaced by timber roof. The church also has got a six-storey bell tower to its north.

Santa Maria de l'Assumpció de Cóll: The church, built with a single nave with apse and barrel vault, is located outside the village of Cóll. It also has got a side-chapel to the north and a bell tower to the south.

Santa Maria de Cardet: Santa Maria de Cardet is located above a steep slope at the eastern edge of the village. It has got a single nave with an apse. The church underwent renovation works in the 12th, 13th, 17th, and 18th centuries. During the renovation works, a sacristy was added to the southeast end of the nave. A chapel was also added to the north faí§ade.

Nativitat de la Mare de Díéu de Durro: This church has a single long and narrow nave with an apse, abarrel vault and slate roof. There are two square chapels into the northern wall. The bell tower is located in the northeast corner.

L'ermita de Sant Quirc de Durro: This church has a small nave with an apse. There is a short belfry at the west end.

Visiting Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí­

Tourists can visit Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí­ in two ways — through the guided tours or by visiting those at your own schedule. The Vall de Boí­ Romanesque Centre offers guided tours to the churches of Sant Climent de Taí¼ll, Sant Joan de Boí­ and Santa Eulí lia d'Erill-la-Vall on the Sunday mornings in April to June, part of September, October and on the 2nd November.

Guided Visit Timings:
Sant Climent de Taí¼ll: 10.30 a.m.
Sant Joan de Boí­: 12.00 noon
Santa Eulí lia d'Erill-la-Vall: 01.00 p.m.


Ticket: Euro 3 per head per church

Church Opening Timings:

Sant Climent de Taí¼ll: 10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 07.00 p.m.
10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 08.00 p.m.
(15th March to 23rd March and 21st June to 21st September)

Santa Maria de Taí¼ll: 10.00 a.m. to 08.00 p.m.

Sant Feliu de Barruera: 10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 07.00 p.m.
10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 08.00 p.m.
(15th March to 23rd March and 21st June to 21st September)

Sant Joan de Boí­: 10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 07.00 p.m.
10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 08.00 p.m.
(15th March to 23rd March and 21st June to 21st September)

Santa Eulí lia d'Erill-la-Vall: 10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 07.00 p.m.
10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 08.00 p.m.
(15th March to 23rd March and 21st June to 21st September)

Santa Maria de l'Assumpció de Cóll: 10.00 a.m. to 08.00 p.m.
06.00 p.m. to 08.00 p.m. (5th July to 14th September)

Santa Maria de Cardet: 10.00 a.m. to 08.00 p.m.
10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 08.00 p.m.
(15th March to 23rd March and 21st June to 21st September)

Nativitat de la Mare de Díéu de Durro: 10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 07.00 p.m.
10.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m. and 04.00 p.m. to 08.00 p.m. (15th March to 23rd March and 21st June to 21st September)
L'ermita de Sant Quirc de Durro: 10.00 a.m. to 08.00 p.m.
06.00 p.m. to 08.00 p.m. (5th July to 14th September)

No single clip can successfully catch the charm and grandeur of all the Romanesque Churches in the Valle de Boi. Click on the links below for some of the better videos and written accounts on visits to Valle de Boi.

Related Links :

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=myOXIjj-FfQ: This video shows you some of the best art specimens preserved in the Romanesque Churches of Vall de Bo, particularly wall paintings, altarpieces and sculptures. It covers almost all the major churches of the region.

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=0mpKgZFWc14&feature=related: This is fundamentally a slide show, but the wonderful pictures and the accompanying music catches the understated grandeur of the Churches very truthfully.

http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/valldeboi.html: For some authentic travelers' accounts, click on this link. You will find the way how travelers from different parts of the world have reacted to the churches. You can also find answer to some of your more specific travel related questions in this site.

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