Barri Antic

Ancient Neighborhood

Old Neighborhood Map. Click to enlarge.

The Ancient Neighborhood is in the right margin of the Segre River, below the shade of the two topmost hills of the city, crowned by the St. María's church (St. Mary's) and the Sanctuary of the St. Crist (Holy Christ). All the set is protected by a series of walls that, with the river, were surrounding the city completely. The buildings give cause for a succession of close and coastal streets in the high part and a set of squares and streets practiced in the low part.

 Historical References.

The Ancient Balaguer Neighborhood has its origins in the primitive Islamic city that, after being seated provisionally in the Pla d'Almatà (Almatá Plain), it grew definitely around of the Zuda (Castell Formós, Beautiful Castle) and Avinomi's Mosque of  (in San Salvador square).

Once conquered the city by the counts of Urgel, in 1.105, the ancient neighborhood were maintained intact and there were only small changes consequence of the new cult buildings (Church of St. Salvador), of new open spaces and of the repair of the walls.

There were large changes in the XIVth.. century with the expulsion of the Jews: the configuration of the Mercadal Square and the amplification of the walls. A set of religious and civil works (bridge of St. Miquel, St. María's church (St. Mary's), convent of St. Domenec (St. Dominic)...) will influence the change of aspect of the city.

The Ancient Neighborhood will suffer important modifications again in the XVIth. And XVIIth. centuries and especially in the beginning of the XXth. century . The construction of the New Bridge  and broadening it to  the Davant Balaguer (Modern Neighborhood) in the 50's, provoked the movement of population to the other river bank and the progressive degradation of this historical neighborhood.
 

Commercial street, half porched, parallel to the river and to the Carrer Major (Main Street), with which it's communicated trough narrow and short passages. Under the porched part passes the ancient digs of the Cup.

It is  usualy quite boisterous, in winter as well as in summer, because there are, in most of  its low floors, trades or various article shops.

This square and street got their name because of Sant Jaume Chapel (St. James') founded in the XVIth. century.  Through this street we can arrive to the Reguereta where there is a watering place for cattle or washer, the only one that we can find in Balaguer and that takes the water from the digs of the Cup.

This square and the surrounding streets were during many time the low downtown area. In these last years the square has suffered an important remodeling with the construction of a block of housings and the urbanization of its environment. The square takes its name from the ancient Romanesque church of St. Salvador (St. Livingston's), destroyed during the Civil War (1.936). Of the many streets that surround it we must notice Torrent Street that finishes in one of the gates of the ancient walled city, before of arriving to the Castell Formós (Beautiful Castle) and to the Sanctuary of the Sant Crist (Holy Christ).

Called before the XVIth. century Tanners' Square and later known as Plaça del Pou (of the Well), because there was a water well that was providing a part of the old city.  In this square there was a market, above all of fowl, soap and hunt.

Called also street "of the Mig" (of the Center) because it went from the center of the Mercadal Square to the Pou Square (of the Well) and St. Salvador's Square (St. Livingston's). Currently it is a commercial street.

Take advantage of the tour through the Ancient Neighborhood to appreciate, in the glass-cases of its shops the variety and quality of their articles. Don't leave without buying something. In Balaguer you can buy very well.

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Church of "Sta. Maria" (St. Mary). Art at St. Mary's. Walls and Gates.
Ancient Neighborhood. "Mercadal" (Market) Square. Jewish Neighborhood.
"Castell Formós" ( Beautiful Castle). Sanctuary of the "Sant Crist" (Holy Christ).
Convent of  "Sant Domènec" (St. Dominic). "Davant Balaguer" ( Modern Neighborhood).
English Index. Home Page.