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Day Trip to Besalu
Besalu is a small medieval village, one of the most original and beautiful medieval villages in Spain. This medieval village is made of stone and has many beautiful buildings, many of them arcaded. One enters the town over a very long stone bridge with a gate with a portcullis for defense. During the Middle Ages the town was quite important and its territory was big. The Count of Besalu best remembered was Wilfred the Hairy, who unified Catalonia. In 1966 the town was named as a National Historical-Artistic Ensemble because of its architectural interest.
This town is best reached by car and it is 130 km north of Barcelona. Go to Google Maps to find the road that leads to the town.
Old Bridge of Besalu
At the entrance to the village of Besalu is the impressive Old Bridge of Besalu, built in the Romanesque style. The bridge crosses the Fluvia River. There are two segments to the bridge, forming an obtuse angle. At the center there is a tower with a small arch and a gate with a portcullis for defense. There are eight pointed arches holding up the bridge. Beside the town there are two towers. It seems that it was built on top of a Roman bridge in the 11th century and rebuilt during the 14th century. During the Middle Ages, anyone crossing the bridge had to pay a toll. Unfortunately the bridge was destroyed during the Civil War and the bridge today is a reconstruction. It is a beautiful bridge and one of its kind in Spain.
Church of Sant Vicenç
The Church of Sant Vicenç is the oldest church in Besalu and was founded in 977. The facade of the Church of Sant Vicenç has a small Gothic rose window at the very top, constructed under a pointed arch. There are three pillars below the rose window. On the right side of the façade is the bell tower. The main door has a rounded arch on top and two slender columns on each side. The style of the church is Romanesque, with Gothic influences. It was built in the 13th century. Inside one can find three naves, a transept and three apses. The ground plan is basilical. The central nave has a half-barrel vault. There are quarter sphere vaults at the side naves. The side door is called the Door of San Raphael. Inside the church there is a beautiful tomb made of alabaster from the 15th century which has the Catalan Gothic style.
Micvé and Sinagoge
During the Middle Ages, Besalu had an important Jewish community with a synagogue documented in existence from 1264. The micvé was the first one discovered in Spain and the third in Europe dating from the XII century. The building is in the Romanesque style. In 1415, the Jewish population was forced to live inside the "call" which was a ghetto. In 1456, the "call" disappeared and the memory of the Micve and the Sinagoge vanished until now.
Monastery of Sant Pere
Founded in 977 for the Count Miro and consecrated in 1003 by the Count Tallaferro. It used to be a benedictine community during the XII and XII the abbot of the Monastery was the first authority in the village. It used to be a place of pilgrimage and inside the building there are several old tombs tones of saints and abbeys.
Others places are : Sant Julià, the Royal Curia, the "colegiata" of Santa Mary, etc....