TOURISM IN TERRA ALTA

PINELL DE BRAI

This is a population due to its geographical location and dominant position, possibly to be able to defend itself more easily and has a protohistoric origin, although its origins are not clear.
After the reconquest the old centre is walled and houses were built on the edge of the cliffs by way of walls. It has belonged since ancient times to order of Miravet which lasted until the 18th century.

During the civil war it was one of the towns that suffered more hardship since it was one of the centres of the long battle of the Ebro.
Pinell de Brai is a town well known for its co-operative Winery which began building in 1918 by the architect César Martinell, a clear expression of modernism, unique and prevailing architectural style at the time of the building. It is decorated with a frieze of ceramic work of the artist Xavier Nogués depicting scenes related to the world of wine and oil.

The beauty of the building and its visual impact has earned it the nickname of "Wine Cathedral".
A tourist visit here is a must from the and gastronomic point of view for its wines and oils, from here you can also do the route of the three C’s, that joins the villages from three different regions in a single tour. Visiting Pinell de Brai in Terra Alta, Baix Ebre Benifallet and Miravet in the Ribera del Ebre, the path name is given by the three initials of Celler, Cova and Castell (Winery cave, Castle) characteristic elements of each of the villages

PRAT DE COMTE

Town very close to Horta de Sant Joan that has belonged since ancient times to the Comanda of the latter until the end of the 19th century was known as Prat de Tortosa, since the population was part of the municipality of this town, one of the theses on the toponymic of the town believed that it refers to its geographical location, field (prat in catalan) located at the entrance of order of Horta de Sant Joan where had to pay a toll (compte in catalan).

In this town, it is interesting to visit the parish church dating from 17TH century Renaissance-Baroque style. And the old bakers Morruno, built in 1860 and was one of community ovens of the town a situation that extended in other villages where inhabitants took flour to the Baker who kneaded it giving him a percentage of the production to be able to sell later.

A must-see for the villages is on the occasion of the Festa de l´Aiguardent, the fiesta that lasts several days and its entire population will open the doors of their homes to visitors, to be able to taste the different homemade spirits that are distilled, as well as other spirits of towns in the area, along with the typical village sweet pastries apart from those offered in the houses also in the mentioned bakers. Women and men from the village makes, for all visitors of the Festival. In the basement of the bakers there is a restored distillery where you can see the transformation of wine into spirits.
This holiday occurs on certain in October.

CORBERA DE EBRE

This town is inescapable visit for any tourist for the historical context of the people.
Living image of the lowest instincts of humans, is a sample of part of the consequences that war leaves in humans and a clear example of that there is no any idea or dogma deserving spilling a single drop of blood from anyone and especially a symbol of:

How ignorance and anticlericalism on one side and the culture and the bad use of the name of God on the other hand, can be joined into barbarism.
The old village of Corbera de Ebro located at the top of the Hill of the Montera is a symbol clearly expressed before. With a population of about 2500 inhabitants the town witnessed brutal consequences of aerial bombardment and artillery suffered by civilian populations in the area.

The town was defended by the Republic from the first day of the Battle of the Ebro until 4th of September when the offensive of the rebels at the front, managed to break Republican lines forcing them to withdraw from Corbera.
The disaster that was the uncivil Spanish war for the town was moved to the lower part of the old city, where the new town was built.
Initially the old village, was left in the State it had been during the war to commemorate the victory of the rebel general who had started the war, betraying the flag that he had sworn and legally established order.
But finally it has been kept as a notary and witness of what never should happen again.

LA FATARELLA

At the beginnings of the town of La Fatarella is linked to the existence of a Muslim Watchtower, it is believed that its name may derive from the word "fatorella" (Tower in Arabic) Despite this theory remnants of the era of the Iberians and also remains from the bronze age have been found.

Like many towns in the area in the 12th century with the reconquest it became the domain of the order of the Knights Templar. During the middle ages the village remains within a walled centre to offer protection to its inhabitants, but its great growth in the 17TH century extended the population outside the walls to set the current urban profile

At the beginning of the 20th century they lived an era of splendor agricultural in which the town achieves its maximum census with 2497 inhabitants, with the phylloxera plague first and then when the Spanish civil war second starts an economic and demographic crisis occurs. And it is that part of the bloody battle of the Ebro, the last attempt of the troops of the Republic to stop the rebel uprising was staged at La Fatarella.
The battle of the Ebro that developed in the Terra Alta between July and November 1938 was one of the cruelest episodes of the Spanish war with more than 100,000 dead, missing and wounded casualties.

The route of peace makes a tour of the main scenarios where the battle developed in order to keep alive the memory of such uncontrolled and inhuman, passage of our history, the route joins the populations of Gandesa and Corbera d´Ebre, La Fatarella, Vilanova dels Arcs, Bot i Prat Compte following the signed trails.

You can start the visit in the Espai Historic of les Devees where Consorci Memorial dels Espais of the battle of l´Ebre has recovered the trenches that existed with the installation of panels that facilitate the interpretation of this area within the framework of the battle.
In the middle of an agricultural landscape we will arrive at the Hermitage of San Bartolomé from the 13th century, close to which there is the Memorial of les Camposines, an area to pay tribute to all those who participated in the battle of the Ebro and thus honor the remains of fatal victims that were found throughout the territory, with a prayer.

VILALBA DELS ARCS

The municipal area of Vilalba dels Arcs, it is about 67 km² and is located in the northern part of the county of Terra alta. It is surrounded by the municipalities of La Pobla de Massaluca, La Fatarella, Gandesa, Batea, La Pobla de Massaluca and with the municipality. Currently Vilalba dels Arcs has a population of 750 inhabitants.
The municipality was part of the extensive domains that the Templars had in the area, then as other villages at the hands of the hospital and under the rule of the castellany of Amposta, who depended directly on hospital order of Ascó.

The epidemics that occurred in the 14th century had lowered the population a lot and at the end of the 15th century a new command was created that represents a period of splendour for the population until the 17TH century era in which the new Church is built.
The population was historically a witness and victim of several wars.
In the D´els Segadors war, the Castilian troops looted the village.
Many injured soldiers were killed during the war of succession in the hospital of the village and in the pit of the brotherhood of Engracia many dead were buried from both sides.

In the Carlist Wars the village was fortified it and the people were favourable to the Carlists although a good number of people fought against Cabrera in the siege of Gandesa.
In the Spanish civil war throughout the months of July to November 1938 it one of the points where the Republican front in the grueling battle of the Ebro were based in the place known for the Cuatro Caminos, that involved the destruction of a large part of the population.

The porches of it’s square which formerly went along the main street of the village are interesting examples of popular architecture and are present in the Plaça de Vila and also interesting examples of such architecture, House Martell Casa Coll, among others.
The parish church of San Lorenzo whose building started in the 16th century and ends in 1705 as recorded in the main façade. It is an interesting building that combines Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements.
Vilalba dels Arcs is another interesting town to visit on the route of the scenes of the battle of the Ebro.

BATEA AND IT’S OLD TOWN

Batea as most towns of the Terra Alta is of protohistoric origin and on the outskirts of the town are remains of Phoenician, Greek and Roman civilizations, and this culture there are vestiges of a length of 3 km from the ancient Roman villa that linked the port of Tortosa as towns of the interior of the province of Tarragona, even reaching as far as Lleida and Zaragoza This was an alternative way of communication as the Ebro river who had little flow during the summer;

Also like other towns of the region, it was first controlled by the Templars and subsequently by the hospitalarios, the latter inherited from the first three municipalities, Batea, Pinyeres and Algars.
Later due to spates of fires and subsequent strong epidemics then the two last cores of the town population lost it in favour of Batea that ended up being a single town. The population was subjected to various wars and was fortified in 1642, which at that time was walled and it was defended by the Generalitat of Catalonia and French soldiers against the Castilian troops of the Marquis of Hinojosa. Batea was cruelly looted and some 200 people were killed in these doings.

During the war from 1936 to 1939 the towns was the rearguard of the front of the Ebro and for this reason was filled with field hospitals that tended to the wounded of the war.
Batea has one of the most unique antique old towns that can be visited and the old wall that surrounds it is still emerging. Typical and unique medieval arches, porches and Ashlar construction, are especially numerous in the main street which leads to the newest part of the Church and the area where the Castle stood.

Among the most noteworthy buildings is the parish church of San Miguel in Baroque style, Puerta dels Cavallers, and other unique buildings. On a hill on the outskirts is the Calvary with six chapels.
Out of the town and in the direction of the strip of Aragon are located the ancient towns of Algars and Pinyeres, with the ruins of the Castle and Church of Sant Joan, all of them belonging to the medieval period.

Parish Church of San Miguel. Known as the Cathedral of Terra Alta is a building of neo-classical baroque style of the 18th century with a heavily ornamented façade that is formed by three doors framed by columns. Its appearance is of a Latin cross with naves separated by columns with capitals with Indians and has a great dome, that gives light to the building, the construction is located in the same place of the old Gothic church and a castle which has been preserved even the moat.

Old town. The old core of the village or Vilaciosa retains narrow and irregular ashlars that give it a very old appearance, covered arches that are nothing more than the remains of the ancient walls. In the main square a few impressive porches can be seen that were built between the XIIIy XIV. The square is presided over by the Casa de la Vila, or town hall. Several are also to be mentioned, the doors as the portal of the Angel Cal Llar and the portal of San Roque, which together with the porches give the set its spectacular mediaeval appearance.

ARNES

Arnes is a town belonging to Terra Alta located at a height of 500 m on a hill next to the River Algars very close to the administrative border of Catalonia with Aragon, Spain, occupying about 42 km² of area in its municipality.

The topography of its term is quite rugged since much of the area is occupied by the Park of the ports of Tortosa Beceite. On one side of the town is the confluence of the River Algars and Estrets and the place called Ullal de la Rosa. It is believed that the name of the town comes from the word honeycomb (arna in catalan, arnes the plural) since beekeeping is one of the most important economic activities of the municipality. The formation of the town is estimated that it was formed around the mid-12th century, a time when conquests were made in the regions of the area.

As with other towns it became dependent on the order of the Knights Templar from later in the hands of the hospitalarios who were la Comanda Horta de Sant Joan. During the war "Dels Segadors" it was one of the few populations who took sides with the Castilian troops and later in the Carlist War the Carlist troops occupied the town and burned down the Town Hall. The town of Arnes is considered of historic and artistic heritage, despite the fact that it has undergone structural modifications it retains the original arrangement of the medieval town occupied mostly by private homes, solid load-bearing walls built on the rock can be seen in one of its streets. Through its streets you can see interesting buildings of popular work with Gothic elements and a beautiful portals giving access to the town, especially highlighted are the set in the Plaça de Vila presided over by its spectacular Town Hall.

The Town Hall of Arnes is the most relevant building of the town and architecturally is one of the most famous in Catalonia for its style belonging to the beginning of the Renaissance in Catalonia. It is a building of magnificent building with arches of half point on the floor and beautiful Windows with classical ornamentation on the first floor, then a ledge rises to the roof with close semicircular Windows. The roof is topped with a cornices and gargoyles and is built in with covered wedge, rectangular Windows on the first floor and Gallery run in the second. Another noteworthy building is the parish church dedicated to St. Magdalene, built in Baroque style. It was built on the ruins of a Gothic church in the vicinity of 1693, it is a building of three naves and has side chapels and a tower with a Bell Tower, the apse of the old church can be seen in the street San Antoni. Hiking, climbing and excursions with mountain bike are some of the sports that you can perform through the municipal district which is immersed in the National Park of the ports of Beceite.

Like other towns of the region the cultivation and trade of oil and wine also highlighting two bakeries with firewood baked bread and also produce and the typical artisanal pastries which are a delight to all. The cultivation of honey deserves a mention apart. the activity especially highlighted in this town, to the point that it has a museum located in the Municipal Casal called the center of interpretation of honey, for which we can find out the manufacturing process of honey and bee wax and everything related to the world of bee keepingI n addition to all of this you can make a path visits to the workshop of candles and beekeeping farms. In the center you can see videos and projections in 3D related to this art and local products can be purchased.

THE HONEY FESTIVAL OF ARNES

Given the importance of this product, the town celebrates every year, usually in May, the Festival dedicated to this art and has more that 50 artisans come to Arnes to show off their products, not only honey but also its derivatives such as Royal Jelly, propolis or pollen, so beneficial for the body. During the festival there are different alternative activities such as candy workshops made with honey and visits to the Museum is open morning and afternoon for convenience to visitors

THE BATTLE OF THE EBRO IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR SCENARIOS

The region of Terra Alta was the scene during the last civil war of the tragic events of the battle of the Ebro between April and November, 1938. The steep Pandols and Cavalls mountains with its impressive cliffs were refuge for soldiers and the place where most fierce battles were fought. Today, rediscovering these places, makes it hard to imagine the terrible situations that were happening at that time, silence and peace that currently invites you to visit them and enjoy the open spaces and the nature we offer.

In Punta Alta, the Sierra Pandols is the monument of peace promoted by what is known as Quinta del Biberón and dedicated to all those who fought in the battle of the Ebro. The concavity which is on the main face of the dice symbolizes the Sun of a new day and displays on the inside the dove of peace. It is a monument that makes the people who visit it reflect. From this height you can enjoy a splendid panoramic view. On clear days you can see most of Terra Alta, la Ribera d´Ebre, Baix Ebre, the ports of Tortosa - Beceite and even the Pyrenees.

Another unique place to visit for the view offered and its historic place is the viewpoint of the Coll del Moro, from where you can make out the depression of the town of Bot, with a large extension from Corbera de Ebre to beyond Horta de Sant Joan and seeing in front the Pandols and Cavalls mountains. From this place the traitor general, who headed the uprising directing operations at the time that the front of the Ebro became a matter of State. But where you can truly sensed the magnitude of the cruel events is in the old village of Corbera de Ebro, where you can walk through the streets and still see the houses in ruins and the St. Peter's church built in the 18th century in dilapidated and currently inoperative state.

Another unique visit is the population of Miravet in the Bank of the Ebro with the Pas de la Barca and the old fortress of the Knights Templar refuge for soldiers during the war. Miravet is famous for an image that went around the world, the picture of the Republicans crossing the Ebro right in front of the town. A town that still retains evidence of the passage of the war. Ruins and empty plots and the old church with the impacts of shrapnel, without religious images, today converted into a cultural space with an exhibition on the crossing of the Ebro.

The battle of the Ebro that lasted 116 days, has left multiple testimonials in the form of monoliths almost all the towns of the region in memory of events that nobody would want to see again. There are different routes to follow, to be able to recall so infamous event. The starting point would be the Miravet Barca Pas where we can cross the river by boat, in memory of those which crossed it at this point on 25 July 1938. It is worth stopping to see the old village of Miravet and clear evidence of the passage of the war in the information point of the Raco of the Temple you can receive more historical data and information material. We can continue in the direction of Pinell de Brai following the route the Republican soldiers, taking the direction C-235 to Gandesa and go through the ravine separating the Pandols Sierra of the Cavalls, noting the spectacular nature of its cliffs. After some curves there is a small straight part and then we turn left in the direction of Foncalda where is the recreational area of La Fonteta where we can leave the car.

From here we can take the so-called peace route on foot. You start walking from La Fonteta following the regional 235 road until reaching the junction of GR - 7. 1, this path is taken to begin the ascent to the Sierra Pandols. Reaching the top at 696 m and then going downs to the rest area of Santa Magdalena where you can take a break. Then you can start the ascent to the emblematic height of 705 m and, the day permitting, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Ebro Delta and the Tortosa Beceite ports. From this point it is all downhill. Through the Coll d´en Canar and after 10 km you arrive at the Hermitage of the Foncalda where we can relax soaking up in its prestigious medicinal water, and may return to the area of La Fonteta following the Frare Valley and in the Valley d´en Torner admiring the impressive Sierra Pandols.

There are various routes that can be made, at all points of information there are guides that can help you make them, we recommend, the most emblematic points to visit:

1-Pas de Barca, old town Church of Miravet, photographic exhibition about the crossing of the Ebro in front of Miravet and Mora de Ebro on 25 July 1938.

2 - "Voices from the front" Pinell de Brai interpretation centre, Height 705m Sierra de Pandols and monument to the Quinta del Biberón.

3 - Museum of the battle of the Ebro in Gandesa and Coll de Moro Observatory of the rebel general Francisco Franco.

4 - La Fatarella and Vilalba dels Arcs trenches and the Targa tip, monuments to the Tercio de Montserrat.

5 - Old village of Corbera de Ebro: the catalan Guernika