A visit to Escornalbou | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.


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A visit to Escornalbou

As part of Toda Year, you can participate in the various activities that are being held at the house-cum-monastery
In 1911, Eduard Toda, a native of Reus and a consul, historians, writer, Egyptologist and bibliophile, purchased the former monastery of Sant Miquel d’Escornalbou in order to refurbish it. Many of the leading figures of the Renaixença, or Catalan Renaissance, passed through its rooms where today you can see examples of the collections Toda made during his journeys and stays in such places as Macau, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Egypt.

Today a visit to Escornalbou offers a glimpse of what it must have been like to live in grand mansion during the early twentieth century. Additionally, Toda conserved some important elements of the former church and cloister, which command an impressive view over the districts of Tarragona.

While you are there you shouldn't miss:

A 10-minute walk from the house will take you to the Sarraí Spring. The Spring has now run dry but it was here that, according to legend, a Saracen, the son of a local emir, and a Christian, the wife of the governor of Escornalbou, fell in love. According to the legend the lovers escaped on horseback and the horse led them up a track to the place now known as Salt del Dimoni (Devil's Leap), where it stopped and jumped into the void. It is said that the devil dragged the bodies of the two lovers off to hell, along with that of the horse, because they were never found.

This pathway was opened up around 1818 with two purposes in mind: to provide stone for the extension of the convent, and to create a place of leisure for the friars. It has magnificent panoramic views that include Hospitalet to the mountains of Prades, and from El Garraf on the river Ebre, to the coast. There are days when you can even see Mallorca on the horizon. Halfway up you will find the Tres Verges hermitage.

Having seen the magnificent panoramic view that can be obtained from this, the highest peak of Escornalbou, it will come as no surprise to discover that this hill has been occupied since prehistoric times because it was a perfect location for dominating the entire area surrounding it. The hermitage, which dates from the 17th to 19th centuries, is dedicated to Santa Bàrbara, the protector against thunderbolts and storms, who protected those living in the monastery and the people living nearby.

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