Muralles i Portals

Walls and Gates

Map of the Ancient Walls and Gates of Balaguer. Click to enlarge.

To appreciate the walled enclosure you must arrive there from the Mercadal Square, through the "Portal del Gel" (Ice Gate), going through Carrer de la Muralla (Wall Street) or the Carrer de la Creu (Cross Street), that carries us or to St. Mary's Church or to the sector of the "Bombo". We can see wall stretches around "Castell Formós" (Beautiful Castle) Portal del Torrent (Torrent Gate) and in the neighborhood of the Firal, beside the cemetery. Now you can rise to them through an access tower in the "Portal del Gel" (Ice Gate) and reach St. Mary's Church through a gangplank. In the future is anticipated to build in them a passable circuit.

The origin of the current walled enclosure must be sought in the birth of the urban kernel during the Xth and XIth centuries, in the last centuries of the Arabic occupation of our city. In that era the enclosure was more reduced than the current one and it's limits were the Mercadal Square, to the south, the current neighborhood of the Firal to the west, the river to the East and the Castell Formós (Beautiful Castle) to the north.

In the year 1.333 the count-king Alfonso III, the Benign ordered the Jews to leave the city and establish in the place that today occupy the Teixidor's Street (Weaver's St.), Sant Josep (Saint Joseph St.) and Miracle Street, in this way was born the Jewish Neighborhood in the current south margin of the Mercadal Square. Naturally, because of that  the new population site was walled, to protect it from any foreign aggression.

Thereafter there are few references of the walls, but we know that fulfilled an important defensive role during the different struggles in what the city was immersed. The fact that they suffered damages in the different conflicts compelled to its restoration, that took place after the Catalan revolt against Juan II (1.462), once conquered the city.  Also they received the same care at the beginning of 1.706 and during the Succession War. From the Spanish Civil War, they are still preserved remains of an army's observatory in the part called "el Bombo".

Currently the sector of the wall of the Botera's ravine has been restored and that of sector of the cemetery has been consolidated. It has been built an access tower to a gangplank that permits to accomplish a feasible circuit from the "Portal del Gel" (Ice Gate) until Saint Mary's plain and in the future it will arrive to the "Bombo".

     The Gates.

Balaguer was closed all over the sides. According to the historians, communicating the walls there were three castles: the principal or "Suda" (Castell Formos) (Beautiful Castle), the Alcoraç one and the Gerundela one.

To enter and leave the city there were Gates, some of them with strong towers, open at the bottom of the walls. Before the walls were broadened in the XIVth century, the existing gates were the Sant Miquel one (San Michael, on the bridge of the same name), the Torrent one, the Gerb one, the Gerundela or Albesa one (Firal Neighbourhood) and the Mercadal Square ones (the old one and the new one). After the broadening were added the gates of Lleida (Lérida in the Barrinou) and the Gel one (of the Ice). In these gates there were guards known as "Burots", that were collecting "els consums" (entry rights of the commodities). Among the ancient gates the Gel one (of the Ice), at the bottom of the gangplank, is the one preserved in better state.

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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).

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