The Pla d’Almatà The medina from which the current Balaguer was born
Pla d'Almatà. Departament de Cultura. CC BY-SA 2.0
This ancient Andalusian military encampment was the original centre of Balaguer and is an extraordinary archaeological site that allows us to learn about the Islamic past of the town.
Its origin dates back to the mid-8th century, during the occupation of the Iberian Peninsula by the Arabs and Berbers who had arrived in 711 AD. They built a military camp here which would be used as a "base of operations" for the expeditions of conquest that left along the Segre River towards Europe.
Over time, its military use gradually changed to civilian use until it became a town (medina), which experienced the height of its splendour in the 11th century thanks to the agricultural and livestock resources. Researchers have discovered the remains of the buildings characteristic of the Islamic cities of this era: Mosque, aljama or Jewish quarter, the stately castle (suda), residential area, squares, the potters’ district, etc. With the subsequent Christian conquest (1105 AD) and the expulsion of the Muslim population, Pla d’Almatà returned to the military and agricultural uses, being converted into fields of vineyards and olive groves.
Since 1983, excavations have been carried out which have uncovered the urban network of the old medina. Currently, in the area you can visit the Archaeological Park, where they have excavated and created a museum of four houses and a part of the street, and you can see the remains of the old wall from the 8th century and several storage silos.
Plan your visit
What can I do?
If you tour the Archaeological Park carefully, you’ll be able to understand the concept of the family prevalent in Andalusian society at that time.