Horta de Sant Joan, the village in the Terra Alta, which inspired a young Picasso
marking it forever, was founded on a rugged landscape in a wonderful position between the Serra dels Pesells mountains and the Parc Natural dels Ports
The origins of the town of Orta (as the town was known until the 19th century) date back many centuries. The archaeological evidence tells of a settlement of the Iberian people, the Ilercavones
, in the highest part of the village, while in the mountainous area of Roques de Benet there was the Roman settlement of Bene
. In the 8th century the Muslims conquered the area and it was reconquered by the Christians the 12th century. In this period, Horta de Sant Joan had a castle and a walled enclosure
, which gave rise to the medieval town that has survived to the present day.
Still preserved are the narrow concentric alleys that surrounded the castle, which has now disappeared. The route through the historic centre allows several Gothic
(the parish church of Sant Joan Baptista) and Renaissance
(the town hall, Casa Clúa, Casa Pitarch and the Casa del Delme) buildings to be seen and to enjoy magnificent views over the mountain of Santa Bàrbara.
In year 1898, when Pablo Picasso with just 16 years old, he was invited to Horta de Sant Joan by his fellow student Manuel Pallarès in order to complete his cure from scarlet fever. It was then that the artist’s relationship with the municipality began, one that lasted throughout his life.
11 years later, when Picasso was already an established artist, he returned to the village with his partner Fernanda Olivier. The results of this second stay were the Cubist works such as the La Fàbrica
and La Bassa
, which show the streets and surroundings of Horta. In 1992, the Centre Picasso
was founded, located in the former hospital of the village.