Terra Alta


History has left all over our lands many elements that go from the time of the Iberians to the present day and show us the splendor that these places reached in the past. The Iberian villages of Batea, Caseres and Gandesa are the first footprint that history has left in the region. Repopulated by the Templars after the expulsion of the Saracens, the remains of towers and castles that rose majestically to defend the territory are still evident today, as a sample we can see the remains of the castle of Algars in the municipality of Batea, and the tower of the prior in Horta de Sant Joan. The religious architecture is present in all the municipalities with imposing Romanesque and Gothic buildings that pleasantly surprise visitors, highlight the church of Sant Miquel de Batea built during the eighteenth century in neo-classical Baroque style; the Parish Church of Sant Andreu de la Fatarella started in the 17th century, where the interior is in Renaissance style with elements of Gothic and the Baroque façade of the 18th century; the Archpriest's Church of the Assumption of Gandesa, built during the first quarter of the 13th century, in Romanesque style in the part of the apse with extensions made in the 17th century and the Parish Church of Sant Llorenç in Vilalba dels Arcs, building that combines elements of different styles, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque where the slender Baroque bell tower 40 meters high stands out. Also noteworthy is the Convent of the Virgin of the Angels, or from Sant Salvador to Horta de Sant Joan, made up of a group of buildings of various chronologies (XIII-XVII) arranged around a Renaissance cloister. Outstanding in the civil architecture are the old Renaissance palaces of Arnes and Horta de Sant Joan and stately homes such as the house of the order located in Horta. Also noteworthy are the modernist cooperative wineries of Cèsar Martinell located in Gandesa and Pinell de Brai known as wine cathedrals.

La Battle of the Ebro (1938)

Endinsant-nos a la Terra Alta (terra alta batalla ebre)

It is impossible to visit these lands without thinking about the Spanish Civil War, as unfortunately the bloodiest battle of the conflict took place and what decided its end. The Battle of the Ebro was a war of attrition between the republican and fascist sides that lasted three months and caused more than 100,000 casualties. In order to prevent the insurgents from reaching Valencia, the Republicans crossed the river Ebro. After months of fighting, the Francoist army finally forced them to withdraw and cross the Ebro again. Interestingly, it was never known why Republican aviation did not protect the valiant advance, allowing the coup plotters to bombard Republican positions and the towns in this area at will. You will find more information on this topic in the Peace Route: the Battle of the Ebro.


Trinxera de la Batalla de l'EbreWhen the republican army crossed the river, it was able to reach the agricultural cooperative, the walls of the cemetery and the first houses in the town of Gandesa, but it did not pass through this municipality. The construction of the Gandesa agricultural cooperative was commissioned to César Martinell in 1919. It is in a modernist style and had artistic ceramics by Nogues that, unfortunately, were destroyed during the Civil War. Other buildings were marked by it, such as the Fonda de P. Manyà. A building dating from 1868 that suffered the impact of hundreds of bullets on its facade. The Battle of the Ebro Study Center (CEBE) is also located in this town in order to better understand and know this moment in history. You can find a reproduction of a trench, personal belongings of soldiers, photographs of the commands, aviation equipment, among other things. You can walk around the village cemetery and also see tombstones and crosses dedicated to both sides and a monument dedicated to the republican army. Lastly and close to Gandesa, we recommend a visit to Cota 705 in the Pàndols mountain range. This place, within the municipality of Pinell del Brai, is the highest in the area and was occupied by the Francoists to fight the Republicans. Currently, at this point is the Monument to Peace dedicated to the fighters of both armies.

Horta de Sant Joan

Endinsant-nos a la Terra Alta (Horta de Sant Joan Terra Alta)

After the town of Bot and following the county road C-111 we reach the highest village in the lands of the Ebro, the landscape is closely linked to Cubism. Due to the unevenness of its orography, the houses of Horta de Sant Joan are stacked on top of each other, giving the village a Cubist air that led Picasso to say “everything I know I learned in Horta", in reference to the village of his friend the painter Manuel Pallarès. Not in vain, the town has been declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. Therefore, lovers of this art can not miss the Picasso Center, equipped with lithographs and places that inspired the painter. We start the route through the square, considered one of the most impressive in all of Catalonia due to its characteristic 16th century porticos, decorated with pointed arches. Once there, the visit requires a visit to the Renaissance building of the town hall, the facade has a mural by Ferdinand VII in honor of the Cortes de Cádiz. Unfortunately, it is in terrible condition. The plenary hall is chaired by a play by Matt Lamb, the play also directs the European Parliament in Strasbourg. In the basements we find the old prison, where we can still find part of the original pavement, dating from the s. XVI. It currently accommodates exhibitions. In the same square we come across the church of Sant Joan Baptista, from the 13th century. Gothic in style, it was originally built with a single polygonal nave with pointed windows. Its façade stands out for its simplicity, with a flat rectangle and a door guarded by a rose window. In the sixties it was restored, giving it polychrome glass that gives it color. Horta de Sant Joan is a place to take it easy, as its tourist interest is not only focused on its town center but also on its surroundings, without going any further it is one of the entrances to the Parc Natural dels Ports. If we go back to the road we came from, after 500 meters we find a path on the right that leads to a path that leads to the Olivera Lo Parot. Fifteen meters high, this tree was declared a monument in 1990. This variety, now unknown, was grown in this area of ​​Tarragona and in Lower Aragon and this specimen in question is believed to be more than two thousand years old. , that is, it belongs to the Iberian and Roman times. At the foot of the mountain of Santa Bàrbara, 2 kilometers from the village, stands the convent of Sant Salvador d'Horta, also declared a historical-artistic monument. Built by the Templars, it consists of several buildings built during the 13th and 17th centuries. Under the arches are several sarcophagi and shields related to the builders' guild. One of the tombs is believed to belong to Bernat d'Alguaire, a master chopper who ran the cathedral of Tortosa. Near the convent is the Torre de Galindo, a defensive tower from the medieval period dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. What makes it characteristic is the unique construction of the roof, only supported by huge walls that act as buttresses and that, in its time, was an architectural revolution. If we decide to ascend the impressive mountain of Santa Bàrbara, four hermitages will come our way: Sant Onofre, Sant Pau, Sant Antoni and Santa Bàrbara. Continuing along a path on the left we will reach the Cova de Sant Salvador, guarded by an image of the saint to which the villagers will pray.