Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000, the Romanesque collection of the Vall de Boí consists of the Sant Quirc de Durro chapel and the churches of Sant Climent and Santa Maria de Taüll, Sant Joan de Boí, Santa Eulalia de Erill la Vall, Sant Feliu de Barruera, La Nativitat de Durro, Santa Maria de Cardet, and L’Assumpció de Cóll. This Romanesque complex was built during the 11th and 12th centuries following the Lombard Romanesque architectural models of northern Italy. One of its main characteristics is the unified architectural style. These temples were erected in an austere medieval period which was ruled by the Church from the Roda de Isábena bishopric together with the feudal lords, the Counts of Erill. These temples had a religious function but were also places of social gathering, shelter and defense. From the high towers, they watched over the movements of people and animals. The church interiors were decorated with wall paintings and carvings. It is worth mentioning the sets of murals that were once housed in the churches of Sant Climent and Santa Maria de Taüll and Sant Joan de Boí, currently preserved in the National Art Museum of Catalonia, as well as all the carvings produced by the Erill workshop, notably the Descent from the Cross in Santa Eulalia de Erill.
Light the Bonfire!
Magical nights filled with torches known as falles, teas, haros, and brandons.
More than 60 villages in Aragon, Catalonia, Andorra, and the south of France perform fire rituals with the arrival of a date filled with magic: the summer solstice. A time of natural change, a time to honor the sun, which Christianity recycled around the feast of Saint John.
And this is the date when the inhabitants of the Vall de Boí light the FALLES (torches) on the FARO (an area of the hillside with views over the surrounding area) and run down the paths until they reach the main village square where the fallaires pass through the streets again and again carrying their torches, eventually throwing them onto a bonfire in the main square.
The Falles festival has been held since time immemorial, coinciding with the summer solstice. Lighting the fire to celebrate the summer solstice and bringing it down from the mountain to the village serves to purify the fields and forests and to attract good harvests for the rest of the year.
These fire festivals have been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The Aigüestortes National Park and the Vall de Boí is an area that, because of its beauty and characteristics, boasts an excellent quality of dark skies and practically non-existent light pollution. These conditions of the night sky are wonderful for star gazing, which can be done from several viewpoints that have been set up in different spaces. One of these spaces is the viewpoint of the Sant Quirc de Durro chapel, where there is a panel with information about the night sky.
The sky of the Vall de Boí is a STARLIGHT Reserve and Tourist Destination (as declared by UNESCO in September 2018).
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