2700 years ago a tribe of the ilergetes created a settlement on a plain near the current Arbeca (Les Garrigues). It was a good place to cultivate the land. But despite the serenity of the place, the ilergetes feared enemy attacks and therefore raised an imposing fortification which was almost impregnable. This makes Els Vilars a unique construction in the Iberian, Catalan and European worlds and one of the essential stops on the Iberian Route.
In an oval shape, the fortress was completely walled and had watchtowers. To access it there were only two, small doors. If entering the settlement was difficult, approaching it wasn’t an easy task either: in front of the walls, a barrier of stones stuck in the ground (chevaux-de-frise) prevented the passage of outsiders on foot or on horseback. A large moat completed the defensive works. Inside, the homes were arranged around a square dominated by a huge pit.
All these structures are visible today, thanks to the restoration and conservation of the site. Seen from the air, its perfectly oval plan can be appreciated and the edges of the rectangular homes that housed the hundred or so inhabitants that lived in Els Vilars.
The ilergetes lived there for 400 years and then left the site abruptly. Why they did is still a mystery. Its strength was so unique it became a model for the Iberians of the Peninsula.
Guided tours, conferences, courses, historical recreation shows, concerts... The ancient fortress of the Iberians is home to all kinds of activities aimed at the general and professional public.