Andorran Romanesque Route

HOTEL PARIS – Map of Romanesque art in Andorra

For More Information on the organization of visits Andorra Romanesque Route, contact the Hotel reception.

A. – Fundamental concepts and characteristic features of Romanesque Art in Andorra

Andorran Romanesque architecture is characterized mainly by a lack of monumental buildings. This does not surprise us at all if we look at the historical moment in which occurs the emergence of Romanesque and his arrival in the valleys of Andorra. Power centers were out of the valley: La Seu d’Urgell, Castellciutat, Castellbó, Foix, and so on., As also were the major art centers of the moment: Ripoll, Vic, Girona, Barcelona, Toulouse, Cluny , etc.

Another factor in the characterization of Romanesque Andorra is its peculiar terrain of high mountains, with a wild and hostile environment and with poor roads that did not allow the arrival of major influences on their territory. Also determine the nature of its construction the population dispersed in small towns and isolated farmsteads room or that do not require large buildings for community use. As a result we find a typical architecture of high mountain areas, inaccessible and far from large urban centers, economic, political, cultural and artistic.

The Romanesque architecture of Andorra has much in common with that found in other places and places of the neighboring counties of culd, Alta Ribagorça, Vall d’Aran, in the Aragonese Pyrenees, etc..

It is characterized by the use of indigenous materials such as pumice stone, slate, limestone, wood, etc. .. This fact is of some importance since it has always been considered that the lack of monumental sculpture in the Romanesque Andorra is precisely the use of these indigenous stone materials that are unsuitable for carving images or figures. This is an incomplete truth because we think that in the Catalan counties, which belonged to Andorra, there was a strong tradition of Lombard, which is a great example the cathedral of La Seu d’Urgell.

Obviously the small communities that comprised the parishes of the Andorran valleys had no need of great temples. It is for this reason that most of Andorran Romanesque churches are small and in some cases are nothing more than simple chapels.

Usually have single nave hall with apse, semicircular or trapezoidal, directed as usual to the East. They usually have few openings made on the other hand nothing unusual modest buildings where quality of materials and the capacity of master builders do not allow too many joys constructive. The access door inside the temple used to be located on the south wall of the ship, protected by a simple porch or wooden porch and an enclosed, or sagrera, with a small stone wall. It is not at all uncommon to find attached to the exterior of the ship a bell tower, in most cases of quadrangular and Lombard style.

This typology arquitetónica that responds to the need for a liturgy and adapted to a small size building, also has a strong sense that we should not ignore practical and in many cases, books that architecture is not collected with sufficient amplitude.

A rural church, in addition to his duties as a holy place (church services, trades, liturgios, baptisms, funerals, processions, etc..), Also serves as a meeting of the community. It gives the town council appointment, tradeoffs are made between pastoralists, ranchers, farmers and craftsmen. It is for this reason that we find the enclosure around the temple, as safely keeps cattle, horses, etc.. Also for this same reason, among others, is the south porch of the nave, as it is the most sunny and therefore more comfortable outside the temple. But we must never forget that its main function is sacred, which hosts various events litúrgiocos or medieval theater performances (see: Sant Retaule Ermengol, the cathedral of La Seu d’Urgell, or Homilies d’Organyà them, Santa Maria d’Organyà).

The bell was also building intended to accommodate the bells, a true watchtower. It was also used as a means to transmit news or messages (fire, strikes, etc..). In this sense it is particularly interesting to see how, in most cases, the towers are within its field of view the neighboring church steeples.

Another feature of Andorran Romanesque architecture is the presence of works of Lombard influence in large numbers and significant. In this section deserve attention Lombard steeples of Sant Joan de Caselles, Sant Climent de Pal, Santa Eulalia, Sant Miquel d’Engolasters …. and especially the circular bell Santa Coloma.

In the Romanesque churches of the Andorran valleys are an important collection of murals and everything suggests that there must also have spare paint an interesting table. This painting, as in the case of architecture, is far removed from the productions of the great masters, forms, nevertheless, an important group that deserves to be studied more deeply.

2. – The main buildings and monuments in Andorra Románcio

2.1 Sant Joan de Caselles

This is one of the most popular examples of Romanesque architecture in Andorra. Located in the old road from Canillo (Carretera General 2 today, heading for France). Church recently documented in medieval times, retain, however, documents relating to the town of Canillo in Concordias the years 1162 and 1176. The first document refers specifically to the church is found in a pastoral visit of the Archbishop of dates from 1312. It states that the church of Sant Joan de Caselles is in the custody of the rector of the parish church of Canillo.

Caselles Temple has a single rectangular nave with a semicircular apse with double recessed window, built after the ship.

On the north side of the ship rises camp quadrangular tower, Lombard style. It has three levels of windows, the top two doubles. Currently communicating with the interior of the temple with a rectangular body, added, as the bell tower, originally, was independent of the rest of the temple.

This church has, exceptionally, the gateway to the interior on the north side of the ship. The explanation for this change of location, is very simple: the south side of the temple was built on the cliff falling directly on the river Valira East. Of the two frames having the church, which occupies the original site is the North, which serves as home to the door, the second at the foot of the temple, was added centuries later. The sagrera that surrounded the temple and we can still appreciate tofografías not very old, was disappearing as expanding the General Highway no. 2, which as we have communicated Andorra with France.

During the restoration of the temple were found the head and other parts of stucco, which belonged to a figure of Jesus Christ’s Crucifixion mural on the wall is noon the ship and allowed to rebuild.

The apse is currently chaired by a Renaissance altarpiece, the work of so-called Master of Canillo, dedicated to the figure of St. John, patron of the church Caselles.

2.2 Santa Eulalia d’Encamp

As in the case of Sant Joan de Caselles, we do not have any documentary notícia medieval period the church of Santa Eulalia, but if the parish of Encamp, in the year 952, Encamp cited in the Act of Consecration of the Castellciutat church. On June 23, 1083, Count d’Urgell Ermengol IV, made a donation in the cited again Encamp. In 1312, during a visit parish, it is said that the church is devoid of liturgical objects and before the bishop to stay with the tithes and offerings, this church had two chaplains instead of one.

The current building is the result of several building campaigns, restorations and additions:

1. Romanesque nave and bell the first half of XII century.
2. Expansion of the ship on the west side, in the seventeenth century.
3. 1924-1926. Replacing the semicircular apse of the current quad.
4. 1970: Restoration of the tower, designed by the architect Cesar Martinell i Brunet.
5. 1987-1989: Restoration and expansion of the temple. Urbanization of the environment. Architecture Studio Project Martorell, Bohigas and Mackay. The last intervention took place even when technicians National Artistic Heritage of the Government of Andorra advised against the expansion of the temple.

Originally it was a church hall one rectangular room, with a semicircular apse and bell attached on the south wall of the vessel. The portico, which know the exact construction fecal appears first documented in the fourteenth century can question the original, but not how it looks today.

The most significant element of the temple is its slender steeple of Lombard style, a quadrangular. It has three floors of mullioned windows framed by Lombard blind arcades made with pumice. It is one of the best examples of Lombard-style bell tower preserved in Andorra and the highest of them all. Due to its characteristics it is considered that it was built in the first half of the eleventh century.

Inside the temple, highlight the font of the twelfth century, made of granite and decorated with blind arcades under which are blind cross paths, all in relief.

2.3 Castle les Bons

The fortified de les Bons consists of several buildings from different periods, which except for the church, preserved in a more or less dilapidated.
Today the visitor can see a tower of defense, some walls that probably belonged to the wall, a water tank and pipe, two lofts and the church of Sant Roma.

And surprisingly we do not have news documentaries about the castle. This has always been related to Caboet, although we do not have any evidence to confirm it. The document more directly on some of the buildings Les Bons, from medieval times, is the act of consecration of the church of Sant Roma, in the year 1164.

2.3.1. Civilian and military buildings

The main building of the current set is the tower of defense, popularly known as the “Torre dels Moros”. The entrance was via a bridge that was in the west wall, which retains only the start of the first arc. Presents a quadrangular with a total of four stories in height. The walls are plastered and have loopholes and battlements on the upper floors. It has no foundation and is built directly on bedrock. The collapse of the south and west walls was probably due to a loosening of the rock.
The other towers that remains and that is supposed to form part of the walled enclosure are the pigeon Cotxa i Rossell. The second, the Cotxa, began to convert back home but never finished the work. Its construction is pre-seventeenth century, as evidenced by a graffito dated 1625 in which appears the name of Joan Rossell. The loopholes that open on its walls could prove their belonging to the castle. Even the presence of a festejador in a south-facing window could not bear to think of the keep of the Castle.

The loft Rossel, restored, is located very near the water tank. does not present any defense or graffiti, making it difficult largely dating.
The water tank, known as “Queen’s Bath Mora”, is located northwest of the site. This is a water tank dug into the rock and closed by a stone wall very well carved and arranged on the inside to avoid water leaks. Collects water from the nearby river of Bons them.

2.3.2. The Church of Sant Roma

It is by far the best preserved building of the whole. Well dated, since the act of consecration have dated January 23, 1164.
This is a unique building with semicircular apse nav oriented to the east. The nave is covered with a barrel vault resting on two arches resting on half columns attached to the walls. In these columns, the two closest to the foot of the nave are simply decorative, since the arcs lie in reality on two brackets that are above them.
The altar table in the center of the chancel, retained lipsanoteca guardapa in which the deed of consecration.

The gateway to the interior is at the foot of the temple. Although reforms are not decorated with sawtooth original. Decoration also find in the church of Santa Coloma.

On the gable of the foot of the temple stands a belfry with two powerful semicircular openings for the bells. It seems that on the triumphal arch of the chancel is a small belfry find help. Outwardly focused architectural decoration in the apse, with, in addition to blind arcades and pilaster strips, two double windows spill.

Taken together and considering all the elements described above, we believe that the temple construction date corresponds to the act of consecration (we note that its construction would be just before the consecration, because it is not held until the temple was completely finished or shortly after).

2.4. – San Marti Cortinada

Romanesque church with deep amended and supplemented. Currently has a single nave, almost square, with side chapels and apse run. It should be noted that by enlarging the temple, he guided the head being the original Romanesque to the right of the current entry.
in 1968 when it came to restoring tempolo met the Romanesque wall paintings that decorated part of the old Romanesque chancel. It is also a reconstruction of the old Romanesque semicircular apse, which retained only the foundation.

2.5. – Sant Pal Climetn

The first news documentary on the people of Pal, the Cortinada contemplate in 1162. The temple has been renovated over the centuries, but retains many elements of the original Romanesque building. From this period are the body of the nave and the belfry.

In 1312 appears the first news about the church of Sant Climent. This was a suffragan of the Massana, though his own chaplain. It was the only church that visited the Archbishop of Tarragona, Galcerà Sacosta apart from the traditional six parishes of Andorra.

Presents the typical nave temple faces east. The north side is extended with a number of offices and chapels. This is where we find the bell tower with a square mullioned windows and floors decorated with Lombard blind arcades. Consruido was probably between the eleventh and twelfth centuries, although it seems more correct date it in the twelfth century. The present apse, quad, is the seventeenth century and the original Romanesque sustituy. You enter the interior of the church throu a door located on the south wall of the ship, protected by a porch. Keep a twelfth century font and another from the same period in the sacristy which should help to save oil, an iron fence from the cemetery (XI-XII centuries), two polychrome wooden processional crosses the twelfth century, and a figure Our Lady of Remedies in response to the usual type of the twelfth century.

2.6. – Santa Coloma

It is one of the oldest churches in Andorra, as is mentioned in the deed of consecration of the cathedral of La Seu d’Urgell (1040).
The structure of the church has one nave floor lounge rectangular, square apse facing east, cover and porch on the south wall of nave and bell tower circular.

In the panels of the vessel wall can be seen a wooden cross placed horizontally serving to level the rows of irregular blocks and provide more resistance to the construction. The cover, made of wooden frame and slate roofs. Access to the temple is through a door semicircular archivolt decorated with a simple sawtooth and a stone cross on the key.

On the south side of the spacecraft is the porch, simple, and the circular tower is probably imitation of that was in the nearby monastery of Sant Serni of Tavèrnoles. Present windows with decorative cabbage sprouts. Its construction can be set in the twelfth century, following models XI, probably inspired by the campanilli of Ravenna.

Inside, the triumphal arch of half point is surpassed, much smaller than the wall on which is inscribed. He had an important cycle of Romanesque murals. Currently only conserved in situ the Agnus Dei, on the triumphal arch. The most important part of this cycle of mural painting in the museum Prussian State for Culture in Berlin. The subjects represented, who were in the apse is the Virgin, the Apostles, The Maisetas Domini and a dove

Inside the temple is to highlight the polychrome wood carving of Our Lady of the Remedies, the thirteenth century.

2.7. – The Roc d’Enclar

Although there is a strictly Romanesque work, we introduce this fortified church and why until recently considered to belong to this style.
Located on the town of Santa Coloma, in the parish of Andorra la Vella. It seems that when Sunifred I took over Andorra in 843, the castle was already part of the network of fortresses and castles that protected the valleys of Andorra.

In 952, in the act of consecration of the church of Sant Martí Sant Feliu i Castellciutat, Count Borrell donated the castle and the church of San Vincente to that church.
In 1099 was transferred to the monastery of Sant Serni of Tavèrnoles, though the castle still held by the Count of Urgell.

At this time there were many clashes between the counts of Urgell, Castellbó lords, the Counts of Foix and the diocese of Urgell. It all culminated with the signature of the Pareajes of 1278 and 1288, which was agreed in the destruction of the castle. Left standing only the church remained active until the seventeenth century.

In 1852 Colonel Ulrich made a report at the behest of Queen Isabel II of Spain in which he comments that the church of San Vincente is abandoned.

There are other buildings much easier with bad blocks carved and erected stone walls without mortar and covered with wood. Worthy of mention is the construction which is north of the church, at the location of a reservoir for the fermentation of wine.

2.7.1-San Vincente d’Enclar

It is the most important building of the whole. He was in ruins and was built almost entirely in 1979. There was only standing part of the walls and most of the tower. Most materials used in its reconstruction of the temple were the originals that were scattered on the floor.

This is a small single nave church with a rectangular apse, covered with wooden frame and door open on the south wall of the nave. Inside, around the perimeter of the ship is run by a podium or bench work.

In one of the walls of the nave can be seen that some of the work was done in opus spicatum. The bell tower, circular, it was thought back to church, but archaeological excavations and analyzes have shown that it belongs to a constructive campaign. It predates the towers of Santa Coloma and Sant Serni of Tavèrnoles. Still referred to as a construction of the tenth century, a recent analysis conducted by C14 the “Service of Historical Research in Cultural Heritage d’Andorra” have confirmed that this is a building built between the late sixth and early VIII. This fact makes it probably the most ancient religious building of the Andorra preserved. The bell that so far, been linked, such as Santa Coloma, with Italian models, it seems that is more in touch with Irish continental models.

2.8. – Sant Serni of Nagol

In the National Archives of Andorra is kept the record of consecration of the church of Sant Serni of Nagol, dated 1055, by Bishop Guillem Guifré of Seu d’Urgell. The text was written by two characters called Isarnus and Bernardus.

This is a small rectangular nave church with semicircular apse, with two windows, and door and porch on the south wall of the nave. Most of the building rests directly on bedrock, without foundation. Its factory is made with a rig of blocks of considerable size and uncut, but sympathetic. On the gable of the foot is lifted to the belfry bells.

They are essentially interesentes the wall paintings discovered in 1976 under the layer of plaster. They are in the triumphal arch: unidentified figures of saints, angels worshiping the Agnus Dei, a character (San Miguel), fighting a dragon or serpent and an archangel dressed in the Byzantine manner.

2.9. – San Miguel d’Engolasters

Small rectangular nave church and semicircular apse with Lombard blind arcades. The bell tower is quadrangular and Lombard style. He thinks it could be a model designed before construction of the temple, which seems corroborated by the disproportion in the church, though this disparity may be caused by the temple site near a steep slope overlooking the valley and need to higher the tower for viewing the valley.

The building presents a chronology doubtful, probably of early twelfth century.

The Romanesque wall paintings that decorated the apse are kept in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona.

3. Other buildings and Romanesque buildings

3.1. Sant Roma de Vila

The population in the documentation escritoa first in 1176. It remains very little of the original building: the base of the apse semiricular on which the current is trapezoidal. In the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya are preserved tables that made up the front and sides of the altar.

3.2. Sant Roma d’Erts

The site Erts documented in 1312, with the name of Herc. The Romanesque church alone remains for us a part of the north wall of the nave and the apse, which are attached to the side of the mountain on which stands the church. From what little has survived, it could date from the late eleventh or early twelfth.

3.3. Bridge of Sant Antoni de la Grella

We do not have any news documentary on the bridge. This is a typical building is part of what we might call the “medieval tradition” that is being built in the manner established at the time, but the forms persist throughout the centuries and is very difficult to determine the time of construction. Construction is a simple batter, with one eye lowered arch, with voussoirs uncut. Almost certainly we can say that it is a medieval building, although it is very difficult to accurately date its construction.

3.4. Sant Cristòfol d’Anyós

Church retains little of its original walls. Apse and triumphal arch of the north wall. Without a foundation built directly on bedrock. Preserving important Gothic paintings that represent the sacrament and baroque in which we see the Judgement and a monumental figure of St. Christopher.
The remains of Romanesque murals that decorated the apse are missing (according to Professor Joan Sureda, in a private collection in Madrid). Represent the figures of St. Peter, the Virgin and St. Paul. They were made by the Master of Santa Coloma, dating from the third quarter of the twelfth century.

3.5. Sant Andreu d’Andorra la Vella

Temple simple rectangular nave and a semicircular apse. Fully restored a few years ago. We have no document to prove its Romanesque origin, though it could have been built in the late twelfth century.

3.6. Sant Esteve d’Andorra la Vella

We just reached the apse and the belfry. The first one is decorated with Lombard blind arcades. The top floor of the tower and the old door of the foot of the temple were constructed with two projects of the Catalan architect Josep Puig. Its interesting Romanesque-themed murals apocalyptic, are now preserved inthe Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. They are due to the hand of Master of Andorra, which performed in the second half of the twelfth century.

3.7. Margineda Bridge

It has always been said that this is the only Romanesque bridge that is conserved in Andorra. Because of San Antonio presents the structure of alardilla Graella on a recessed round arch with a lot of power. The rig used for its construction is irregular, but better done than in the other bridges in the Principality

3.8. Sant Julia de Loria i Sant Germà

Little is preserved in this church of Romanesque épcoa. The best, the bell tower, square and three floors of mullioned windows framed by Lombard blind arcades. dated its construction in the late eleventh century, the church is documented since the eleventh century, when cited in the act of consecration of the cathedral of La Seu d’Urgell.

3.9. Sant Esteve de Juverri

Small temple of rectangular and semicircular apse almost completely buried in the mound on which it stands. Rig little worked. His condition is very poor. Its construction dates back to the late eleventh or early twelfth.

3.10. Sant Marti Nagol

Church documented since 1048 when a certain Miró donated their possessions to the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Seu d’Urgell. Plant presents a simple rectangular nave and a semicircular apse. The entire north side of the temple is attached to the rock on which stands the building. Interestingly the orientation of the temple is reversed, ie, the apse is located west of the temple. Almost completely rebuilt since 1981. Only the lower retaining walls