At the foot of the Canigó we find the monastery of Sant Miquel de Cuixà
that was, along with Ripoll
, a powerful religious, political and cultural centre
during the Middle Ages.
The birth of the monastery dates to the year 879 and is the result of a disgrace. After a flood destroyed the abbey of Sant Andreu d’Eixalada
, the surviving monks resided in a small monastery dedicated to Sant Germà and directed by Father Protasi. As a result of these facts and thanks to the protection of the counts of Cerdanya
, this small cell became the Monastery of Sant Miquel i Sant Germà de Cuixà
, one of the most powerful of the era.
The tenth century marked the consolidation
of the monastery: the lands, domains and churches that it depended on grew in a spectacular manner. In the year 956, Garí rebuilt the church of Sant Miquel erected only a few years earlier by Count Sunifred
The arrival of the abbot Oliba
, introducer of Romanesque Lombard style in Catalonia, was an architectural revolution of the monastery. Oliba erected two corridors, three small apses and erected a dome that was supported by pink marble columns and white marble capitals. He also built the circular Nativity Crypt
or the Nativity Scene, the chapel of the Trinity
and two Lombard bell towers at either side of the crossing (nowadays only one remains).
was constructed in the 12th century under the order of the abbot Gregori
. Made with pink marble and a spectacular sculptural decoration, is one of the largest of the Catalan counties. Nowadays, to follow the tracks of some of these capitals, we have to travel to New York
, to the museum called The Cloisters
Sant Miquel de Cuixà has the honour of being considered the birthplace of the Catalan language
. Possibly, the workshop in Cuixà released the celebrated Cançó de Santa Fe (Song of Santa Fe)
, a hagiographic poem that is considered one of the oldest literary examples in a Romance language
, although it is discussed whether it deals with the Occitan or Catalan language.
Amongst the many illustrious names linked to Sant Miquel de Cuixà we find the architect and archaeologist Josep Puig i Cadafalch, in charge of the restoration
campaigns for the monastery made in 1938. Additionally, there is the musician Pau Casals
who started the Festival de Música Clàssica de Prada (Prada Classical Music Festival)
The Monastery of Sant Miquel de Cuixà is part of the ‘Romanesque weekend: from the Ripollès to Northern Catalonia
Author of the photographs: Josep Renalias.