Romanesque Churches

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Romanesque Churches

CONSELL MUNICIPAL DE TURISME Ajuntament de la Vall de Bianya ENG


La Vall de Bianya is a set of large and small valleys that form a privileged region with meadows, woodlands, brooks and streams. This municipality is made up of several little villages spread around the territory, most of which are built by Romanesque churches. The valley has got a lot of stories to be told about its own history, since there is the well-known Capsacosta Roman Road, which crosses the village. It is considered as a secondary path that joined up with Via Augusta, the main way leading to Rome. Furthermore, there is around a fortnight of Romanesque churches which enrich the valleys with its wonderful beauty and fill in the idyllic landscape with their valvable cultural heritage.

La Vall de Bianya Dossier:

e Bianya La Vall d

Contents The romanesque churches

1. Sant Martí de Capsec

9. Santa Magdalena del Coll

2. Sant Martí del Clot

10. Santa Margarida de Bianya

3. Sant Martí de Solamal

11. Santa Maria de Castellar

4. Sant Miquel del Mont

La Vall de Bianya

12. Santa Maria de Sacot

5. Sant Miquel de la Torre

13. Sant Andreu de Porreres

6. Sant Pere Despuig

14. Sant Andreu de Socarrats

7. Sant Ponç d’Aulina

15. Sant Feliu del Bac

8. Sant Salvador de Bianya

Map of situation

Romanesque churches in Vall de Bianya Sant Martí de Capsec 1 The church of Sant Martí de Capsec, dating from the 12th century, is one of the most pleasant and attractive Romanesque buildings in the municipality of la Vall de Bianya. Its high belfry tower, built onto the west facade, was modified at later dates and is the feature, which particularly stands out.

The plan of the church is just one big nave, with a slightly pointed barrel vault. On the northern side of the chancel there is an apse, which seems to correspond more to the previous church than to the present one. On the opposite side there is a vestry. Earthquakes in the 15th century caused serious damage to the building, which had to be rebuilt. In 1994 restoration was undertaken which allowed the removal of a series of objects that con-

Church of Santa Margarida de Bianya

cealed original murals. The entrance door is near noon. The baptismal font, decorated in a very simple fashion, is of a great interest. Sant Martí del Clot


The old name for this parish church is Sant Martí de Tornadissa, it has also been known throughout history as Sant Martí del Clot. We have knowledge of its existence since the 13th century and we also know that it was badly damaged in the earthquakes in the 15th century. At the entrance door, at noon, there is an inscription on the keystone, which refers to the reconstruction that had to be done for the building.

The oldest part, dating from the 12th century, was modified with the addition of lateral chapels and vestry. The church was also heightened. At the front there is a semi-circular apse with a

central arched window, which at present is blocked. In 1936 the church was burned fire. After 1939, to conceal the blackened stone, the whole interior of the church was plastered. The rectangular belfry tower is found at the extreme south-east of the building. The temple still retains its status as parish church. Sant Martí de Solamal


Sant Martí de Solamal was once an independent parish until the end of the 16th century. In the year 979, the Bishop-Count Miró of Besalú handed the church over to the monastery of Camprodon, this possession was later confirmed in 1169.

The church stands upon a small area of raised land. It consists of one single nave, with a semicircular apse at the chancel that contains a frieze held by buttresses decorated with figures,

Church of Sant Martí de Solamal

some of which are rather deteriorated. At later periods constructions were added to the original building, such as, the house destined to be the belfry, on the south side, and the vestry, to the north. The main facade, with a lintelled entrance door and halfpointed arch, is found to the west. In this part of the building you will find the belfry tower, rebuilt on various occasions, with openings in each side and a four-sided, slanted roof. The baptismal font is of a particular interest, in the form of a cup and decorated on the underside with cable moulding. Sant Miquel del Mont 4 Sant Miquel del Mont chapel corresponds to Romanesque architectural characteristics from the 12th century. It consists of one single nave with a slightly pointed barrel vault. The chancel, in the east, is formed by a semicircular apse that has a one-paned window at the centre, which has been blocked on the outside.

The front door, at noon, has a rectangular form, plain lintel and frontispiece, along with three graded half pointed arches. At its side there is a double sided window, with a half-pointed arch.

Restored in different occasions, in 1933 important building work was undertaken, as it is shown in the “goigs” (local religious song) dedicated to the archangel. The bell gable, with two openings, forms part of the west wall, reinforced on the inside. The chapel is considered to have been built where there had previously been a Roman watchtower.

chapel of this present one. Sant Miquel de la Torre


The old name for this church is Sant Miquel d’Avellaneda, which was maintained up until the beginning of the 20th century. It is mentioned in a document from 998, where there is talk of the donation of tenths from the parish to the Abbot at the monastery of Besalú. In the 18th century it was subject to the parish of la Vall del Bac. At the moment it is the best preserved church in the area and the one which is used by the reduced number of religious services that are held there.

It is a rectangular building, with no differentiation between apse and chancel. In this part of the building the vestry was added but is where it was dispensed with in 1989. The portal opening has a half-pointed arch, it is next to noon, where there are two double-sided half-rounded windows. The western wall, which has a long narrow window, ends in a bell gable with two openings. This church dates from the end of the 12th century or the beginning of the 13th century. Sant Pere Despuig

church contained a seated, Romanesque, statue of the Virgin Mary, worshiped under the name Mare de Deú de Gràcia. Sant Ponç d’Aulina


This has a Romanesque origin, its initial structure has been much changed over the centuries, especially, in the 18th century, when there were important building works undertaken due to the fact that the church was almost in ruins. Because of this, any services were suspended.


In the year 964 the church of <Sancti Petri, constructam in territorio de Bianya... in loco qui dicitur Puig> was consecrated. This is one of the first accounts that is found of the temple. Centuries later it became known as Sant Pere Espuig or Sant Pere Despuig, with the article inserted into the original name.

The first dated historical reference, in the year 958, corresponds to the previous

It has just one rectangular nave, without a protruding apse. The chancel or presbytery, keeping with Romanesque orientation of buildings, is found in the east. The tower belfry with a four sided slanted roof and is found at north-east of the building. The entrance door, to the west, has got a simple design, with a plain frontispiece and a lintel decorated with a cross sculpted within a circle.

In the 18th century the original orientation of the church was turned, giving it a north-south orientation. This suggests that there is little left from the 12th century Romanesque building created after the 10th century disputes. These relics are encountered at the extreme southwest of the building, where there is a belfry tower constructed, modified at later dates.

Church of Sant Martí de Capsec

The present entrance door, at noon, has a lintel with the date 1782 inscribed. This parish

was part of the property of the monastery in Sant Joan de les Abadesses.

The church was restored in 1994. The remains of Romanesque painting, of particular interest, are on the half-pointed arched window, open to the wall at noon. The parallelopedic baptism font is decorated with a cable moulding border, an exceptional, unique piece. Sant Salvador de Bianya


The church of Sant Salvador de Bianya was consecrated in the year 1170. For many years it

The church has one single nave, with a slightly pointed barrel vault. The chancel is to the east, formed by a semi-circular apse with a double-sided central window. The columns, capitals and arches that adorn the exterior part of this window are of particular interest, as well as the buttresses that decorate the upper part of the apse. The church has had some extensions. The tower belfry is on top of the west facade. In the year 1911, some restoration work was inaugurated, which included the columns and capitals of the entrance door and the outer side of the window in the apse. The immersed baptism font is decorated in high relief. The holy water stoup is of great interest, as it is fully decorated.

Santa Magdalena del Coll


Historical data related to this church is very little. In the 18th century it lived a glorious period, which had a lot to do with the increase in popularity and devotion to the patron saint. According to old tradition, in the mid 19th century, large festivals were held there at Easter and on

22nd of July, being the Saint’s day. Currently, the church is in very bad conditions, practically in ruins, one side is destroyed and there are large cracks in the walls. It is a straightforward construction, dating back to the end of the 12th century, beginning of the 13th century, with some modifications undertaken at later periods.

It has one single, rectangular nave, with the chancel to the east, where there is a vestry. The keystones entrance door with a half pointed arch, is in the western wall. Above it there is an original Romanesque window. The rebuilt steeple has just one opening. Santa Margarida de Bianya 10 The church of Santa Margarida de Bianya was donated to the monastery of Riudaura in 858 and later in 953 it became under the jurisdiction of Santa Maria de la Grassa. It was quite badly damaged by the earthquakes in the 15th century, but it preserves a great deal of its original architecture, which corresponds to the 12th century. There is just one nave but, at a later date, a chapel was added onto each side giving it the form of a cross. The chancel is formed by an apse, where there are three windows with half-pointed arches, a capitol and a frieze held by buttresses.

have two slanted roofs that have openings on each of the four sides. Inside the church there is a straightforward, undecorated, immersion baptismal font. We have had information on Santa Maria de Castellar de la Muntanya since 1079.

The existence of a small apse to the north lets people think that the church was initially a basilical plan or with a transverse nave. The vestry, added onto the south side, occupies the space where there is believed to have been another symmetrical apse. The original entrance door, found next to noon, is blocked up. The tower belfry is built onto the west facade, where there is a neoclassical portal dating from the 19th century.

It was subject to the monastery in Sant Joan les Fonts, which was given along with its subject churches to Sant Victor de Marsella. Santa Maria de Sacot 12 The old name for this church is Santa Maria de Sacot, which has remained right up to the present today. It is also known as Santa Maria de Llongarriu and la Mare de Déu dels Ángels de Llongarriu.

Santa Maria de Castellar 11 The initial structure of the church was modified, with extensions built on to it at different periods, above all in the 18th century. Orientated from east to west, the building corresponds to the architectural characteristics of the 12th century.

It has a single rectangular nave, with a barrel vault. The chancel is formed by a semi-circular apse at the centre there is a window which has had its arch modified. The keystones entrance door with a half-pointed arch is next to noon. The belfry towers

This building, dating from 12th or beginning of the 13th century, is made up of one single, rectangular nave, without a differentiated apse. The barrel vault is slightly pointed. The rectangular entrance door is placed in the western facade. There is a text engraved on the lintel, dated 1672. The steepled belfry, which has two openings, rises up from this same facade or western wall. There are two double-paned windows with half-pointed arches built into the wall at noon. It belonged to the monastery from Camprodon. It was quite badly damaged by the earthquakes in the 15th century, making it

Church of Sant Martí de Capsec

necessary for restoration work to be done that lasted for many years. It was once a parish church, but in the mid 16th century it became subject to Sant Andreu de Porreres. Sant Andreu de Porreres 13 Sant Andreu de Porreres was once the main place of worship in the parish of the Vall del Bac. Its first documented reference dates back to 946. Nowadays, it is found in rather bad conditions, practically in ruins.

Sant Andreu de Socarrats 14 In January 1117 the consecration of Sant Andreu de Socarrats church came into effect. It was modified at later periods, with the extensions of lateral chapels. It still preserves a large part of the original floor at the extreme western end, and the chancel is formed by a semicircular apse that has a double-paned window, with a half pointed arch as a centre point. In the year 1983 restoration work was done, during which the vestry was finished, being added on to the south side of the semicircular apse. Inside, the rear of the apse, it was decorated with paintings by the artist J. Casas from Olot in 1948.

Seriously affected by earthquakes in the 15th century, the Romanesque edifice was extended afterwards by a series of complimentary additions, such as the rectory and the vestry, having been completely demolished. Other parts were modified at a later date as the original building. The semi-circular apse to the east, adorned with a frieze supported by buttresses, is the part which retains most interest. It had to be reinforced, seemingly after the earthquakes, by two thick inclined counter-walls, one of which obstructs the central double-paned window. Another double-paned window is open to the extreme south in the same chancel. The entrance door is also at the south, beneath a porch. It has a primitive “chair” belfry, which was converted into a tower with a two sided, slanted roof.

These days the building corresponds to the architectural characteristics of the 12th century and was therefore based on the original construction. It consists of just one rectangular nave with a pointed vault, reinforced by a transverse arch. The chancel is to the east, where a vestry has been added. The simple half-pointed arched entrance door is next to noon, where a double sided arched window is also found. On the eastern wall there is a long narrow window, and a two-eyed belfry, behind which remainders of the construction that transformed it into a tower can be observed. You can go up the tower by the stairs made of stone, which are built into the north wall.
















The belfry, originally one-walled, was converted into a tower with four slanting roofs. On one of its walls the year 1688 is engraved. The present rectangular entrance door, marked 1769, and sheltered by a porch, is to be found on the west facade. Sant Feliu del Bac 15 Although mentioned in an article written in 946, it was in January 996 that the consecration of the church known as <Sancti villa que nuncupant Bag> took place. It was considered, right from the beginning, as a parish church but ended up changing to being subject to Sant Andreu de Porreres.

Road access

Coming from the Coming from the, Coming from the, North, from France: South, from Barcelona: West, from Madrid:

Coming from the, East, from Girona:

AP7, exit 3 in Figueres N-260 and A26 exit 84 in Olot N-260 to the Vall de Bianya

C66 through Banyoles to Besalú A26 exit 84 in Olot N-260 to the Vall de Bianya

C17 through Vic to Manlleu C37 to Olot N-260 to the Vall de Bianya

Tourist Office Interpretation Centre of Vall de Bianya

“La Vall dels Sentits” Antigues escoles de Sant Salvador Tel: 872005008 / 972290933

Ajuntament de la Vall de Bianya

A2 through Zaragoza to Cervera C25 to Vic and continue on the C-37 to Olot N-260 to the Vall de Bianya

Generalitat de Catalunya Departament de Governació i Relacions Institucionals

Unió Europea Consell Municipal de Turisme La Vall de Bianya

Fons europeu de desenvolupament regional Una manera de fer europa

Consell Municipal de Turisme de la Vall de Bianya - Ctra. Camprodon, 2 - 17813 LA VALL DE BIANYA E-mail: -

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