A centenary summit

Santa Bàrbara

Santa Bàrbara is an imposing mountain of conglomerate rock in a pyramidal shape, 735 m high, which emerges behind the Convent of Sant Salvador. From very old it was inhabited by hermits and at present it conserves the vestiges of four hermitages: Sant Onofre, Sant Pau, Sant Antoni and in the top with ruins, Santa Bàrbara. Behind the Convent, a path skirts the base of the mountain on the left until you reach a balma, under a majestic rock, known as Cova de Sant Salvador. In the background is a sculptural image of the Saint protected by an iron grate and adorned, almost all year round, with bouquets of flowers. In this place also flows the miraculous fountain, which according to tradition, made the Saint spring with three blows of the cord of habit. From this point the path climbs very straight behind the mountain until you reach the top. To reach the cross, you have to go through a narrow section and do not suffer from vertigo. The descent is usually done on the right side of the mountain more quickly.

Convent of San Salvador

The convent of Our Lady of the Angels is best known as the convent of Sant Salvador for the stay of the Franciscan friar in the middle of the century. It is located to the east, about 2 kilometers from the village, at the foot of the mountain of Santa Bàrbara – before the hill of Horta. The original functions of the convent are not known for sure, but the possibility that the quality of the order’s headquarters would have been shared with Horta Castle cannot be ruled out. Apart from being a Marian shrine, the Templars were very devoted to the Virgin Mary. It should also be borne in mind that an important cattle or lligallo path, documented since medieval times, connected the inland lands of Aragon and the pastures of the Baix Ebre.


The convent consists of a group of buildings of various chronologies (XIII-XVII), located around a Renaissance cloister. Of the church, the last four sections with the apse are constructions from the times of the Templars (13th century) —it is believed to be the last construction made by the Templars in Catalonia before their abolition—, while the façade atrium) and the first section (choir) belong to the middle of the s. XV, and are therefore built in hospital times. The rest of the convent was built during the Franciscan stay (XVI-XIX); the only piece that has survived from this period, in very poor condition, is the Renaissance cloister, built in the 16th century. The magistrate of Horta, in order for the sanctuary to be better attended to, called the Franciscans. It seems that they went there around 1517. The monks did not stay there long, and it is not known why they left, and the convent was again abandoned. Faced with this, the rulers of Horta, taking advantage of Charles I’s stay in Montsó, where the Catalan Parliament was meeting, came to him to intercede before the provincial of the Franciscans and they returned to Horta, and so it was. The exact date of his return is not known, but it can be deduced that if the Cortes were in 1542, by 1543 the Franciscans had already re-inhabited the convent, which gave it the Franciscan name of Our Lady of the Angels. Thus began a period of Franciscan presence that lasted until 1835: a total of about 292 years. The most significant fact of this whole stage is the presence of the Franciscan layman Salvador Pladevall, known today as Sant Salvador d’Horta. The stay of St. Savior was about twelve years (1547? -1559), and his reputation as a miracle worker greatly increased the visits of devotees and faithful who sought a cure for their ills. It is said that there were days when up to two thousand pilgrims gathered there. This circumstance caused the convent to grow and expand its outbuildings with splendid ashlar stone. The fact that the superiors of the order took the provincial courses in Philosophy also helped to grow the building. Offices were built in the choir, the sacristy, the library, the kitchen, the refectory were made, more cells were made: so the convent could have its novices and students. It is estimated that around 1576 the minor or observant monks left the convent, who were replaced by gatherers looking for secluded places and away from towns. In the 18th century, the Franciscan community numbered about thirty religious.


The part of the church that corresponds to the time of the Temple is of a single rectangular nave, with a semicircular apse, narrower than the nave and with buttresses. The floor plan is divided into five rectangular sections by pointed diaphragm arches coinciding with the buttresses. In the middle of these sections are high double-glazed windows and a diaphragm semicircular arch. The apse is presided over by a triumphal arch, semicircular, much lower than those of the nave, which allows the extrados to be drilled with an oculus. The vault of the apse is the classic quadrant of the Romanesque sphere ribbed in the Provencal way, unusual in Catalonia. Next to the epistle is a door with a narrow arch to the inside and a semicircular door to the outside, which must have been the original door of the church and which in the Franciscan era was due use to access the cloister. This part of the church is considered by some scholars to be the most important religious architectural element of the Order of the Temple in Catalonia. The scholar Joan Fuguet points out that the church of Santa Maria dels Àngels, before being extended in the later stages of the Templars, had dimensions of 15 m long by 9 m wide, sizes that correspond to the d 'other Templar constructions, and that this proportion represents a calculation of the golden section.