Imatge capçalera

Solsona

Inici ca HISTORY AND TRADITIONS

Solsona today

 

With a population of over 9,000 people and an area of 182km2, Solsona still preserves its main strong points: the calm and the richness of its cultural and historic heritage. There is History in the remains of the walls that fortify the old town and embellish the capital of the Solsonès region, which was granted the title of city 400 years ago by king Philip II and is a bishopric also.

 

In the 10th century, Solsona grew around the castle. Eight centuries later a monumental bridge was built leading to the main gate, called Portal del Pont (Bridge Gateway) from then on.

 

La Catedral és el reflex de la història de Solsona
The cathedral reflects Solsona’s history

The cathedral, the Diocesan Museum, the originally medieval streets and squares in which we find buildings like the Llobera Palace, are some of the most emblematic art and architecture examples in Solsona.

claustregran.jpg
The virgin of the Cloister is the most significant stone sculptureof the Catalan Romanesque art

 

 

The building work of the cathedral lasted from the end of the 11th century until the 17th century, at present in Gothic style, preserving the apses and the bell tower in Romanesque style. One of the jewels it hosts is the virgin of Cloister (Mare de Déu el Claustre, in Catalan) patron virgin of the town. It is a stone sculpture considered as one of the most important of this Romanesque period in the world.

 

Next to the cathedral, there is the Bishop’s Palace which impresses the visitor with its majestic façade, considered one of the most typical examples of Catalan Neoclassic art. 

 

 

The Palace square in front of the Bishop's Palace

 

In the interior, a visit to the Diocesan museum takes us into the most remote past through the remains from the Neolithic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque periods. On the other hand, to find out more about economy and the more recent town’s history, we also have the Solsonès Interpretation Centre, located in the tourist office (Ctra. De Bassella, 1) which hosts a reproduction of a knife-making workshop. We can see that the knife industry in Solsona was particularly important.

 

Among the steep and shadowy streets and the welcoming corners of the historic centre, we must highlight Plaça Sant Joan (St John’s square), with a fountain from the 15th century and a little temple from the 18th century. One of the greatest writers of Catalan literature, Josep M. de Segarra, dedicated a poem to this beautiful spot of the town:

 

“(...) Aquesta plaça és tota recollida,

tan aquietadora i tan suau,

que sembla un replanet d'una altra vida

on s'anés a abeurar-hi un glop de pau (...)”.

 

“(...) This square is so cloistered,

so peaceful and so calm,

that it seems a landing of another life

where a sip of peace might come to drink (…)”.

 

www.solsonaturisme.com

 

In the surroundings of Solsona, it is also delightful to stroll around the forests. Only two km away, we find Mare de la Font Park, a very picturesque spot, ideal to unwind and have a picnic. A little bit further, only accessible on foot, there is Pont de l’Afrau, an aqueduct built in the 18th century in order to provide Solsona with water from the fountains in Lladurs. Also, to enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of Solsona and its surroundings, it is well worth going up to the Castellvell castle, which belongs to Olius municipality. These are only some examples of the walks that Solsona offers, among a wide array of walks suited also to families (for further information www.solsonaturisme.com).

   

Popular dance of the Eagle on the main square at Corpus and the main festival

However, the history and the culture of Solsona are not only reflected in the stones and the landscapes. We cannot talk about the capital of Solsonès, the town with the largest number of giants, dragons and similar beasts in Catalonia, without mentioning that its identity is bound up with its pageants of gigantic figures.

 

 

During the celebrations of Solsona’s Festa Major (main festival, in September) and the Corpus (in June), the town’s main square is the stage for these traditional dances of folkloric elements whose origins date back to the end of the 17th century. Also the “Trabucaires”, men shooting salutes in the air round the town walls, are the oldest and most prestigious of the country and are very important to the folklore of the town. The youngest giants are the family of the Crazy Giants, which are the main characters of Solsona’s Carnival, one of the most popular in the country because it has preserved the essence of the “Carnestoltes” Carnival previous to the Spanish civil war.

 

 

Panoràmica aèria web
Panoramic view of the city

 

Saint Anthony in January, Carnival in February, Saint Isidore’s fair in May; Corpus in June, accordionists’ gathering in September, etc. All throughout the year, the cult expressions are reiterated portraying the rich cultural and historic heritage of the town. It is precisely in this mixture of the rich heritage of the town, celebrations and popular activities where lies the idiosyncrasy of this place. This is a dynamic town which is steadily growing both in number of inhabitants and economic activities at every level. It maintains the balance between progress and the old traditions that give Solsona its magical uniqueness.

  

Further information: www.solsonaturisme.com

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