Introduction to Balaguer from the Wall
Walking along the 500 meters of the Balaguer wall that have been restored is a good way to start getting to know what was the capital of the County of Urgell from 1130 to 1413.
We parked the car next to the Segre in the Pont Nou and we headed to the arcaded plaza of the Mercadal, where there is a market every Saturday. Looking towards the town hall, we take the alley on the right that takes us to the Portal del Gel, on the other side there is a structure that allows us to climb the wall.
If we go to the right, we walk on top of the wall that is more than a meter and a half wide, enjoying excellent views of the city and the Noguera plain. On the other side, a metal walkway takes us up to the Gothic church of Santa Maria.
The part of the wall that can be visited, in addition to access through the Portal del Gel, has doors at both ends, in Santa María and in the Torre del Bombo.
The three entrances to the wall are closed and are managed by the tourist information point located in the Museum of the Noguera.
Except for small Andalusian sections, this part of the visitable wall dates from the 14th century, from the county period.
The largest stones in the following photo are fragments of the Andalusian wall that is attached to the Christian wall, and present a construction structure very similar to the Andalusian wall of Castell Formós from the 9th century.
Balaguer Walls Flyer
Balaguer Andalusí - Noguera Museum
Balaguer became a medina in the 9th century, the result of a military camp held by Muslims in the 8th century. The city developed under the protection of the camp wall and experienced parallel growth with its wall during the 9th and 10th centuries. The camp and subsequent medina occupied an area of 25 hectares known as the Almatà plan, which is one of the most important medieval sites in Catalonia.
Balaguer within the Andalusian culture does not have the importance that Tortosa and Lleida may have, but it has the advantage that the city moved towards the southeast over the years, leaving the Andalusian area free of later constructions, which currently facilitates your research.
The Andalusians who lived in Balaguer already had artisans specialized in making ceramics.
They looked at the world in the opposite direction to current Westerners and placed the Arabian Peninsula in the center. The Iberian Peninsula is on the far right and is the opposite of usual.
They were looking for gold in the Segre River that the waters carried from the Pyrenees.
The arcaded plaza of Mercadal is medieval, and has always been the social center of Balaguer.
The Jewish quarter
In Balaguer, the three monotheistic cultures, Christians, Muslims and Jews, coexisted since the city's Andalusian era. In the 14th century, the Jews were moved to the south of the Plaza del Mercadal by royal order, creating the Jewish quarter, which was the name given to the Jewish neighborhood of Balaguer. In the 15th century, there was a Jewish community of about 300 inhabitants who even had their own legal system. At the end of the 15th century, they were expelled from the peninsula by decree of the Catholic Monarchs.
From the final part of the wall, in the Bombo tower, former Franco observatory during the Civil War, looking in the direction of Sant Llorenç de Montgai and Camarasa, we see from left to right, the Gothic church of Santa Maria, the mosque converted into the church of Sant Crist, the Sierra del Mont Roig of reddish rock, Sant Jordi in Camarasa, Sant Mamet in Alòs de Balaguer, and further down the Montsec.
Within the Fars de Ponent tourist route, in Balaguer you go up to the Torre del Moro of the Santa Maria church, which is the one on the left in the previous and subsequent photographs.
In the Historic Center of Balaguer, Núria Riba has created a mural tribute to Frederic Letamendi, in the Plaza del Carrer dels Teixidors, highlighting traditional Balaguerine customs.
Very close by, in the Museum Square, there is another illustrated balcony that pays homage to Margaret of Montferrat, mother of Count Jaume d'Urgell, in this case the work of Oriol Arumí.