In this small valley in the Pyrenees there are a group of exceptional churches and chapels which stand as both the cradle and the ultimate expression of Catalan Romanesque art. Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2000, the Vall de Boí group comprise Sant Climent and Santa Maria in Taüll, Sant Joan in Boí, Santa Eulàlia in Erill la Vall, Sant Feliu in Barruera, Sant Quirc and Church of the Nativity in Durro, Santa Maria in Cardet and the Church of the Assumption in Coll. All the churches can be visited except for Sant Quirc in Durro, and the Church of the Assumption in Coll.
In the Lombard Romanesque style, the churches of the Vall de Boí are functional, simple temples with one or three naves, built with small granite ashlars. The roofs are wooden-beamed or barrel-vaulted. And these churches are the artistic reflection of an austere society, tied to the natural environment and strongly hierarchical.
The interiors of the churches were decorated with mural paintings and carvings. The hieratic figures (with images of the Virgin and the Saints and the dominant figure of the Pantocrator) and the play of colours characterise symbolic paintings of great creativity which represent one of the highest achievements of Romanesque art at an international level.
Since the late 19th century and into the early 20th century, this Romanesque group fascinated the intellectuals of the Catalan Renaixença. Josep Puig i Cadafalch, among others, and institutions such as the Institute of Catalan Studies contributed to the appreciation and preservation of the art of the Pyrenees.
Today, a good many of the paintings, carvings and furniture are kept in different museums, particularly in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). Even so, many of the churches have important fragments of mural paintings and original Romanesque sculptures, as well as reproductions of those which are preserved in museums. In the case of Sant Climent de Taüll, a modern mapping recreates the original frescoes of the apse and offers an immersive experience of what it was like at the time of its creation. At the same time, a visit to this group of churches can be complemented with a visit to the Romanesque Centre of the Vall de Boí.
We invite you to visit the Romanesque churches of the Vall de Boí and enjoy the cradle of the Catalan Romanesque art. History and art in a privileged environment that you cannot miss!