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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Castellfollit - A City On A Hill


 Castellfollit Catalonia Spain
Castellfollit de la Roca would be a minimal point according to planetary geographical patterns. Its exiguous area is of merely 0,67 km² and has a population of under 1.000 inhabitants. However, it is a real show that mixes hillsides and houses in an almost surreal harmony. The small town is sorrounded by the rivers Fluvià and Toronell and at the top of the basaltic wall that rise from the sea, 50 metres high, there is a heap of houses spread over about a kilometre long.


 Castellfollit Catalonia Spain
This geological formation has aquired its shape due to the erosive action of the rivers on the basalt. It was the effect of two layers of vulcanic lava from eruptions that took place at two distinct and distant times in history, the latest of which took place 192.000 years ago. Actually, in Castellfollit there's the only basalt active quarry in the whole state.
The "old" city of Castellfollit de la Roca is medieval and has squares and narrow and dark streets, which are, for the most part, built from vulcanic rock. At the end of the slope, from where the old cemetery was transfered in 1961, today there's a Josep Pla square. In it, the viewer is guaranteed an amazing view of the region. It's only then you understand the true and incredibly strategic position of the place and the natural safety given to the people of past times.

 Castellfollit Catalonia Spain
On one of the sides of the rock wall there's the São Salvador church. Built in the 13th century it has suffered with attacks and wars, so it has been rebuilt several times. After the Civil War, its deploring state caused a new church to be built in the new part of town. In the mid 1980s, however, a restoration project gave it a new life. The mixture of original rocks and modern elements like glass and iron guaranteed a beautiful final work.

Close to the old town center there is an area of small plots cultivated by the local inhabitants, separated by stone walls. Along these plots there's a trail that takes the tourists to the Natural Park where they can see, apart from the hill, a series of interventions, using natural elements, on the water tracks of the rivers for the production of hidroelectric energy to local factories.
The Catalonia Square, in the new part of town is, nowadays, a point of gathering for young and elderly people, with a public pool, open for the small population to have fun during summer.
Castellfollit catalunha cataluna espanha
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