Vallferosa Tower, the enigmas of a unique jewel in Europe


Are you passionate about those ancient constructions full of unsolved riddles and hypotheses of their supposed functions? Then start by closing all those pages that talk about the Vallferosa Tower as a military building of the S.X (which would be later) and feel privileged to have close to home a unique visit in Europe. Carbon 14 does not lie, this 33-meter-high tower located strangely at the passage of a canal (and not at the top of the mountain like other buildings in the area) dates from late seventh and eighth century in full Islamic occupation, thus rewriting an already fascinating history.

But what is known about her and what remains for the mystery? We visited her, we go inside and tell you everything you need to schedule your visit with the neighbors of Torah in the region of La Segarra (Lleida).

Vallferosa Tower, a unique visit in Europe

Rewriting history, a unique building of S.VIII

As you read this story you will realize that Vallferosa Tower deserves to plan a trip to Terres de Lleida. If we add the many attractions around (charming villages like Montfalcó Murallat or Guimerá, the privileged surroundings of La Segarra or the route of castles or monasteries), the proposal becomes more than attractive. And why Vallferosa? Carbon 14 does not lie in spite of the fact that there was a lot of skepticism in its first results since we are not facing a construction with a military function originating in S.X or S.XI but a much earlier treasure.

PUTTING IT DATE THROUGH CARBON14: Until 2009, the Torre de Vallferosa was still a more or less important tower of the X-XI century that was part of the defensive system of the Llobregós Valley. ERROR! And why not on top of the mountain? Perhaps all these doubts led the neighbors and institutions to the first studies:

2009 - Carbon Test14 to a piece of wood from the matacanes results in a date of 778 AD. Skeptics do not give credibility
2010 - Three new Carbon tests14 result in the dates of 730 AD (top ring wood), 1,220 AD (upper latrine) and 780 AD (wood floor of the inner ring chimney)

Finally, a complete study of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the City of Torà analyzed the beams and stone by stone structure. Without a doubt, the The construction of the Vallferosa tower dates back to the end of the 7th and 8th centuries in full Islamic occupation

And why unique? The great diameter and height of the tower reminds us, inevitably to those minarets visited by Central Asia as in Kunya Urgench in Turkmenistan, among other. It would be unthinkable that it could have been built with a vertical timber formwork. The conclusions drawn are that the Torre de Vallferosa contains 2 rings, one inside and one outside, but they do not correspond to different times but the first served as scaffolding of the second

We are facing a building with 4 meter walls, a spectacular height for your period and topped with lime mixed with stream sand, chicken egg protein and sugar polysaccharides from some nearby plant,an authentic jewel with more than 1,200 years that keeps its exterior finish almost intact

The 33 meter tower,declared Cultural Asset of National Interest (BCIN) and the highest in Catalonia, also houses inside a distribution of 4 floors, roof and battlement, still retaining a section of interior staircase and a latrine since S.VII

Hypothesis about its function in a privileged environment of La Segarra

The next question that comes to all of us is ... and then, What was its function really? Although if you go today you will find the tower and the so-called Church of San Pedro de Vallferosa from the mid-seventeenth century, it is convenient to imagine this immense circular tower with a truncated elevation Idyllic place between the Solsonès and the Segarra valleys, protected by the Quadros ravine but, IMPORTANT, in a flat valley and not on top of the surrounding hills or any elevated place

This leads us to think that its function had nothing to do with the majority of castellers towers in the Llobregós Valley and beyond. In fact, you get to think according to the latest studies that had no relationship with the other towers of the defensive system, neither acoustic nor visual form

Possibly the Torre de Vallferosa had a monitoring or control function. It is even thought that it could have been built with collection purposes along with the passage of a channel where some type of toll was required, which would also explain your cereal deposit. Be that as it may, there are many unknowns to solve

Visit inside, our experience

It's 9 in the morning when, accompanied by the mayor of the City of Torah, we walk the path that separates this population from an isolated natural environment and open the 3 fences that close the access of vehicles to the dirt road. The Vallferosa Tower still has that special charm of less crowded places and your visit, although it can be done walking free to see its exteriors, requires booking an appointment with the neighbors of the region who take turns, including the mayor, to show you their best treasure.

These same altruistic neighbors are those who began the work of clearing the ruins at the time that, devoured by the vegetation, fell in the most absolute abandonment after the Civil War in 1939. They and not others, are responsible for preserving it by the Time passed so many years later. However, the restoration works promoted by the City of Torà had the collaboration of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the temporary transfer of the whole by the Parish of Vallferosa and the Bishopric of Solsona to whom they belong. The descending path leaves one of the best panoramas before arriving at a parking enabled in front of the old town.

Exact 20 minutes after leaving Torah we reach our goal, the core of Vallferosa, where we still The remains of the temple of the mid-seventeenth century remain. This is the Church of San Pedro de Vallferosa Baroque style and formed by a rectangular nave with side chapels

However, we focus on the Torre de Vallferosa from which there begins to be written evidence in the eleventh century (hence the initial beliefs of its origin). In 1,052 the name of "Kastrum de Valle Frausa" appears in a sales document for an alodium to "Kastrum de Llanera" and from that moment it passes from hand to hand throughout the centuries, generally related to the canon of Santa Maria de Solsona. In the fourteenth century in the hands of the Brulls of Osona forming part of Cardona County. We enter?

First curiosity and more puzzles to solve ...the door is 10 meters high! It is believed to be an interior union of a later stately residence that disappeared. In the last reforms a wooden staircase and a new entrance have been enabled although it remains closed to the public without a concerted visit to preserve its interior.

On the first floor there is a kind of well or deep hole, renovated with Romanesque elements (clearly seen by the differences in mortars) that could have been the cereal deposit, a winery, a cistern or even a prison.

It seems that the upper remains belong to a latrine and a kitchen that evidence the existence of people's lives for a while inside but it is not known very well who. In fact, there is talk of Islamic occupation in its origins but these used to make their defensive constructions on piles of land, temporary trenches or palisades so it is believed that they could be native people with sufficient architectural knowledge or well-organized Carolingian. You will never know.

Rise to the upper floors is not an act for those who suffer from vertigo and / or claustrophobia. A small wooden staircase and small steps to crawl allow you to climb the 33 meters of the tower leaving rooms that allow you to see the successive reforms

Inside you can see the different plasters used later but here comes another of the great values ​​of the Torre de Vallferosa and there are few works that have survived since the pre-Romanesque and Romanesque without having been modified. Well, we are facing him possibly only Romanesque roof in its original state of all Europe on the fourth floor, before climbing to the upper roof built in the last reform

With the tongue out we see the light of day again and get a magnificent view of the valley, the adjacent church and what the toll crossing should have been From this place

They say that going down is usually more difficult than going up. In this case, we do not agree very much since the effort is much less. Beware of backpacks, there is little room for turning.

Practical data to plan your visit

How to get to the Torre de Vallferosa in Torah?

Go by free or by appointment with the neighbors, you will have to reach the town of Torah in the region of La Segarra, well connected from C25 and C14 with several regions. From there, taking the LV-3005 you will travel 8.9 km to the junction that takes you on a dirt road perfectly passable down the valley.

The end of the road has a parking lot enabled for about twenty cars without problems.

How to visit the Torre de Vallferosa and enter inside?

Although the Torre de Vallferosa is perfectly accessible on the outside (down the road from the first fence), we would recommend book on the website of the City of Torah for a complete visit with explanation and guide, having access to its interior

What price and schedules does the Torre de Vallferosa have?

He guided tour price It's more symbolic than anything else, just EUR 3 per adult (EUR 0 children under 12 years old) and a fixed price of 60 EUR for groups of more than 20 people.

The schedules of the visits are fixed at 11.00 and 12.30 from every Sunday in high season (May to September) and the first and third Sunday of the month in April, October and November. Best Check other possible flexible schedules on your website

Where to eat near here?

Some of the most recommended options that you should evaluate if you want to eat in the area are:

 Torah Gotic, in the same town with delicious and cheap menus of the day
 Masia Cal Gou, also in Torah, in a charming country house with mountains in the background and excellent food
Hostal-restaurant Cal Jaumet in Torah. There are still people who go astray on their trip to Andorra or the Aran Valley to eat the most traditional of the area. We tried thyme soup, trinxat, partridge (extraordinary) and l'ofegat de la Segarra and we would still wet

Where to sleep near here?

We would recommend eating in Torah after the visit and sleeping in Lleida, unless you arrive at night for the first visit in the morning. The best options would go through:

 Hostal-restaurant Cal Jaumet in Torahwhich is still a simple centenary hostel but where you can enjoy its extraordinary menu for dinner
Cal Fasi in Torah, ideal to spend a few days in the area with private bathroom and kitchen with oven
Lleida Hostel, located in the 17th-century Roser convent and with an excellent restaurant inside the same church

SOME EXTRA CURIOSITY: Have you ever wondered how to defend someone in a conical tower where throwing a stone towards its base would collide with the structure itself?

On the fourth floor you will intuit a defensive system called loopholes that is unpublished, covered with woods that joined the front with a hole in the base where to shoot. I find it as difficult to explain as to understand but it seems brilliant

Did you like this Unique and authentic visit in Europe that you surely didn't know? The Torre de Vallferosa in Torah has been the great surprise of the trip through Terres de Lleida but we still have much more to tell you in future articles

Isaac, from the Torre de Vallferosa in Torah, La Segarra (Lleida)