2016 GW Spain Trip No.8: World Heritage Tour No.4 « Catalan Romanesque Churches in Bar de Boi

Spain Basque journey 2016 GW
Spain Basque journey 2016 GW

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A stunning collaboration of medieval and modern art!

Date and Time of Visit: April 26, 2016 at approximately 3:00 p.m.

3 hours to the Barre Valley, deep in the Pyrenees, on the French border.

After the tour of the beautiful village the day before, this day we will continue our tour of the World Heritage Sites. In the morning, we visited the Cistercian monastery of Pobleix in Catalonia. After the sightseeing, we headed to a small village called Taüll in the Vall de Boí (Boí Valley). It is around here on the map.

Although the road condition was better than I expected, we had to go through the mountains in the Pyrenees area. There was no place to take a rest on the way, so we ended up refueling near Poblei and then drove almost non-stop to Taur. It was past three in the afternoon when we arrived.

An area dotted with early Catalan Romanesque churches

Why did you visit this remote village? Because it’s a beautiful village? No, it’s not. It’s because this whole area is dotted with small early « Catalan Romanesque » churches, which have been recognized as a World Heritage Site for their unique Christian culture.

The best-preserved of these is the Church of Santo Climent in Taur, which is the most famous.

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There seemed to be several towns with Catalan Romanesque churches before we reached Taur, but we didn’t stop at them and went directly to Taur first. (The following photos were taken on the way back from Taur.

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By the way, I heard that Taur is also famous as a ski resort. Arriving at the village, it certainly has the atmosphere of a ski resort, and I wonder if these lodges are crowded with skiers in winter.

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Wait for the church to open.

I wanted to visit the church of Santo Climent, but it was after 3 p.m. and I had to wait until 4 p.m. for siesta.

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Fortunately, there was a cafe restaurant right in front of the church, so we relaxed there and waited for the time to pass.

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View from the small tower

And we waited in the cafe for less than an hour. Finally, it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The sightseeing of the church was resumed, so we decided to go inside. Right after we paid the admission fee, the lady at the desk said something about a video, but we climbed up to the top of the distinctive church tower that we could see from outside. No one had come yet, so I had the view all to myself!

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Projection mapping of frescoes!

After enjoying the tower to the fullest, we returned to the cathedral and admired the interior for a while. Especially the old frescoes.

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It is true that this type of fresco with such a touch is not often seen in medieval Catholic churches. It is called Greek Orthodox, but I feel the atmosphere of the early days.

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Just when I thought I’d had enough and was ready to go home, the church suddenly went completely dark and a video started playing. By the way, when we bought the ticket, the lady who was in charge of the ticket kept telling us to watch the video, which was about [highlight]projection mapping to recreate the frescoes from 1,000 years ago[/highlight]!

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A brilliant collaboration of medieval and modern art! It was like I was caught off guard by this kind of thinking. But still, it is beautiful.

And this is the completion of the fusion of 1,000-year-old frescoes and modern technology « projection mapping ».

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I was surprised by the unexpected performance, and I was very impressed and excited. I am wondering how they came up with the idea of recreating those days using this kind of technology deep in the mountains of the Pyrenees. I think it is a wonderful way to revitalize the village.

To be honest, I came all the way here with a conflicted feeling, wondering if it was worth spending more than three hours to come to such a remote village, even if it is a World Heritage Site. However, after seeing this projection mapping, I really felt that it was the right decision to overcome such a conflict and come here.