Gateway to Montsec
Balaguer and its surroundings
If you want to visit Balaguer, you can check the opening hours of the monuments and hire guided tours at Balaguer Tourist Information Centre and at Museu de la Noguera (tel. 973 445 194 – Tourist Information Centre / www.museucn.cat).
Plaça Mercadal (14th century):
It is the largest medieval arcaded square in Catalonia. Its construction began on 1333, when the Jews were forced to settle outside the town, beyond the Torrent neighbourhood, which is the current history centre of the town. It was a large space separating the Jewish quarter from the Christian quarter where fairs and markets were held since the period of Al-Andalus.
The creation of this quarter dates back from 1333, when the Jewish community was driven out of medieval Balaguer’s town centre. Here you can find the old synagogue, which is the current Miracle Church.
Museu de la Noguera:
This museum houses the Al-Andalus and feudal heritage of the Noguera region and Balaguer town. Furthermore, it makes up one of the most important ensembles from this period in Catalonia regarding both the quantity and the quality of its remains. Nowadays it is one of the most important museums in Catalonia to understand the trace of Islam.
Gothic wall (14th century):
The walk through the Gothic wall can begin by gaining access to it from plaça Mercadal (through Portal del Gel) or from Santa Maria Church. Here there is an entrance to the walkway which will allow you to walk on the parapet walk and continue along the walled area to the Torre Blanca del Bombo, where there is one of the remains of the Civil War: the bunker –an observation post built in 1938. The wall was renovated in the 14th century both to resist the attacks of the new artillery weapons and to include the Jewish quarter which was situated beyond plaça Mercadal.
Santa Maria Church (1351):
Gothic building consisting of a very wide single nave and side chapels located between the buttresses and a seven-sided polygonal apse. It was declared a historical and artistic monument.
Within the old town, make sure to visit carrer d'Avall and carrer Major, inner squares such as plaça del Pou and plaça de Sant Salvador, La Reguereta –the old public washing area– and carrer del Pont, an arcaded street
Formós Castle (9th century):
It houses the remains of the former Suda, which later became the Counts of Urgell’s residence (1105). It has explanatory boards about the castle's old rooms. The remains found as a result of several excavations can be seen at Museu de la Noguera.
Sant Crist Sanctuary:
It is an old mosque which later became Santa Maria d’Almatà Romanesque Church where the Holy Christ’s image –the town's patron saint– is venerated.
Parc Arqueològic del Pla d’Almatà:
You can visit remains of 11th century houses from the former Balaguer medina and the 8th century old wall. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in Catalonia.
Sant Domènec Monastery (15th century):
It is formed by the church and the Gothic cloister. This is comprised of four galleries with high podium which support slender columns. Those columns are finished in pointed arches with inner trilobed fretwork.
Centre d’Interpretació de l’Or del Segre:
It offers a historical tour about gold seeking in the river Segre and it invites visitors to experience prospecting for gold in the laundry space. The centre also offers a tourist product called Segre's Gold: Seeking for Mariam's Dream. This product allows you to prospect for gold in the river Segre. For guided tours: tel. 973 448 668 – www.museucn.com).
We recommend you the following visits in the surroun-dings of Balaguer:
Costers del Sió Winery (Balaguer):
Guided tours around the winery are offered. During the tours you can learn about the winemaking process. A guided tasting is included. It is also possible to visit the livestock facilities (tel. 973 424 062 – www.costersio.com).
Espais de Memòria de Catalunya:
Four spaces have been recovered in the Noguera region: El Merengue hill in Camarasa; the Foradada bunkers; the route going through the remnants of war around Cap de Pont de Balaguer, which includes the Palous’ bunkers and the tomb of a soldier called Josep Montserrat (Camarasa), the Tossal de les Forques (la Sentiu de Sió), the trenches of Tossals, Font Amarga and Pletes (Montgai) and the fortifications of the Urgell Channel (Preixens); and the Clot de les Bombes in Tartareu. All the information is available at the website:
Castell del Remei Winery (Penelles):
Guided tours around the winery are offered. During the tours you can learn about the winemaking process. A guided tasting is included (tel. 973 580 200 – www.castelldelremei.com).
Romeral’s Roman villa (Albesa) and Casa Patau Winery (Menàrguens):
Romeral’s Roman villa is located 4 km away from Albesa village. Here you can visit mosaics of an ancient Roman villa of the 2nd century. It was inhabited until the 5th century, when it was apparently burnt to ashes. Guided tours must be arranged (tel. 608 892 125 - www.albesa.cat). The Casa Patau Winery offers guided tours around the winery. During the tours you can learn about the winemaking process. A guided tasting is included (tel. 973 180 367 - www.casapatau.com).
Santa Anna reservoir:
It is in the river Noguera Ribagorçana. You can reach it via Ivars de Noguera. This reservoir is considered one of the best areas for inland fisheries. The Parc de les Olors (Ivars de Noguera) is nearby. It offers arranged guided tours with workshops and learning experiences surrounded by more than 60 aromatic and medicinal plants (tel. 630 877 163).