|Information and location of churches
SANT ANDREU DE PORRERES
It is located at about the height of 818m, on the south side or shadow of Puig Ou, in the Vall del Bac. There is easy access by following the track that goes through the valley, towards Sant Pau de Segúries; near where Sant Andreu's brook and the Vall del Bac river meet, you take a right turn, which takes you to the church.
Sant Andreu de Porreres was once the main place of worship in the parish of the Vall del Bac. Its first documented reference dates back to 946. Nowadays, it is to be found in rather bad condition, practically in ruins.
Gravely affected by earthquakes in the 15th century, the Romanesque edifice was extended afterwards by a series of complimentary additions, such as the rectory and the vestry, having been completely demolished. Other parts were modified at a later date in the same fashion as the original building.
The semi-circular apse to the east, adorned with a frieze supported by buttresses, is the part which retains most interest. It had to be reinforced, seemingly after the earthquakes, by two thick inclined counter-walls, one of which obstructs the central double-paned window. Another double-paned window is open to the extreme south in the same chancel. The entrance door is also at the south, beneath a porch. It has a primitive "chair" belfry, which was converted into a tower with a two sided, slanted roof.
SANT ANDREU DE SOCARRATS
Located in the sector of Socarrats, right next to the manor house of the Socarrats family. The church stands at the foot of the shaded slopes of the sierra of Sant Miquel del Mont.
Less than a kilometre from the hamlet of Llocalou, in the direction of Hostalnou, there is a crossroads; the short concrete track to the left leads straight to the church itself.
In January 1117 the consecration of the church of Sant Andreu de Socarrats came into effect. It was modified at later periods, with the extensions of lateral chapels. It still conserves a large part of the original floor at the extreme western end, and the chancel is formed by a semicircular apse that has a double-paned window, with a half pointed arch as a centre point.
In the year 1983 restoration work was done, during which the vestry was finished, being added on to the south side of the semi-circular apse. Inside, the rear of the apse was decorated with paintings by the artist J. Casas from Olot in 1948.
The belfry, originally one walled, was converted into a tower with four slanting roofs. On one of its walls the year 1688 is engraved. The present rectangular entrance door, marked 1769, and sheltered by a porch, is to be found on the west facade.
SANT FELIU DEL BAC
Located in the Vall del Bac, on the north slope of the sierra of Malforat. The church stands on a small wooded hill. You have access from Vall dell Bac itself, following the track that goes past Llongarriu, or also on the track opened in 1991 running from the Pass of Capsacosta to C-153 road.
Athough mentioned in an article written in 946, it was in January 996 that the consecration of the church known as "Sancti Felices...in villa que nuncupant Bag" took place. It was considered, right from the beginning, as a parish church but ended up changing to being subject to Sant Andreu de Porreres.
These days the building corresponds to the architectural characteristics of the 12th century and was therefore based on the original construction. It consists of just one rectangular nave with a pointed vault, reinforced by a transverse arch. The chancel is to the east, to which a vestry has been added.
The simple half-pointed arched entrance door is next to noon, where a double sided arched window is also found. On the eastern wall there is a long narrow window, and a two-eyed belfry, behind which remainders of the construction that transformed it into a tower can be observed. You can go to the tower up stairs which are built into the north wall.
SANT MARTÍ DE CAPSEC
Situated on the southern slope of the eastern extreme of the sierra de Malforat, in the sector of Capsec. You can get there from the hamlet of Llocalou, following the Capsec road; after a few kilometres, take a turning to the right. The road is paved nearly right up to the parish church itself, except for the last little section.
The church of Sant Marti de Capsec, dating from the 12th century, is one of the most pleasant and attractive Romanesque buildings in the municipality of la Vall de Bianya. Its high belfry tower, built onto the west facade, was modified at later dates and is the feature which particularly stands out.
The plan of the church is of just one big nave, with a slightly pointed barrel vault. On the northern side of the chancel there is an apse, which seems to correspond more to the previous church than to the present one. On the opposite side there is a vestry. Earthquakes in the 15th century caused grave damage to the building, which had to be rebuilt.
In 1994 restoration was undertaken which allowed for the removal of a series of objects which concealed original murals. The entrance door is near noon. The baptismal font, decorated in a very simple fashion, is of great interest.
SANT MARTÍ DEL CLOT
Located in the neighbourhood of Clot, on the sunny side of the sierra de Malforat. It is on the top of a small hill of one of the spurs of the mountain. Take the C-153, in the direction of Sant Salvador de Bianya. Once past the Coromina bridge, you will find the turning for the paved track that passes just below the cemetery, the church and the old rectory.
The old name for this parish church is Sant Marti de Tornadissa, it has also been known throughout history as Sant Marti de Clot. We have knowledge of its existence since the 13th century and we also know that it was badly damaged in the earthquakes in the 15th century. At the entrance door, at noon, there is an inscription on the keystone, which refers to the reconstruction that had to be done on the building.
The oldest part, dating from the 12th century, was modified with the addition of lateral chapels and vestry. The church was also heightened. At the front there is a semi-circular apse with a central arched window, which at present is blocked.
In 1936 the church caught fire. After 1939, to conceal the blackened stone, the whole interior of the church was plastered. The rectangular belfry tower is found at the extreme south-east of the building. The temple still retains its status as parish church.
SANT MARTÍ DE SOLAMAL
Located to the left of the stream of Santa Llúcia de Puigmal, quite near the parish church of Sant Pere del Puig or Despuig, of which it is a subject church. You can get there by turning off the C-153 at the bridge at can Grevol, near to the ca l'Enric restaurant. The small road takes you through the Sant Pere Despuig sector, where you will find both churches, and leads you back onto the C-153, near to Hostalnou.
Sant Martí de Solamal was once an independent parish up until the end of the 16th century. In the year 979, the Bishop-Count Miró of Besalu handed the church over to the monastery of Camprodon, this possession to be later confirmed in 1169.
The church stands upon a small area of raised land. It consists of one single nave, with a semi-circular apse at the chancel that contains a frieze held by buttresses decorated with figures, some of which are rather deteriorated.
At later periods constructions were added to the original building, such as, the house destined to be the belfry, on the south side, and the vestry, to the north. The main facade, with a lintelled entrance door and half-pointed arch, is found to the west. In this part of the building you will find the belfry tower, rebuilt on various occasions, with openings on each side and a four sided, slanted roof. The baptismal font is of particular interest, in the form of a cup and decorated on the underside with cable moulding.
SANT MIQUEL DEL MONT
Located at the height of 793m., at the summit of the ridge of mountains also known as Sant Miquel del Mont, which separates the Valleys of Olot and Bianya. It can be reached on foot from both sides of the ridge. You can also take the track that turns off the N-260. The chapel is subject to the parish church of Santa Margarida de Bianya and is built on the spot where three municipalities converge.
The chapel of Sant Miquel del Mont corresponds to Romanesque architectural characteristics of the 12th century. It consists of one single nave with a slightly pointed barrel vault. The chancel, to the east, is formed by a semicircular apse that has a one-paned window at the centre, which has been blocked on the outside. The front door, at noon, has a rectangular form, plain lintel and frontispiece, along with three graded half pointed arches. At its side there is a double sided window, with a half-pointed arch.
Restored on different occasions, in 1933 important building work was undertaken, such as is shown in the "goigs" dedicated to the archangel. The bell gable, with two openings, forms part of the west wall, reinforced on the inside. The chapel is considered to have been built where there had previously been a Roman watchtower.
The first dated historical reference, in the year 958, corresponds to the previous chapel to the present one.
SANT MIQUEL DE LA TORRE
The church of Sant Miquel de la Torre, in the Vall de Bac, is found on the southern slopes of Puig Ou, near the hall and stronghold known as la Torre. There is a track that leads from the hostel de la Vall del Bac across the stream and to cal Ferrer, where you have to continue west until you reach the church, situated on a slope covered with grass meadows. A short distance away there is a cemetery.
The old name for this church is Sant Miquel d'Avellaneda, which was maintained up until the beginning of the 20th century. It is mentioned in a document from 998, where there is talk of the donation of tithes from the parish to the Abbot at the monastery of Besalú.
In the 18th century it was subject to the parish of la Vall del Bac. At the moment it is the best conserved church of the area and the one which is used for the reduced number of services which are held there. It is a rectangular building, with no differentiation between apse and chancel. In this part of the building the vestry was added but it was dispensed with in 1989. The portal opening has a half-pointed arch, it is next to noon, where there are two double-sided half-rounded windows.
The western wall, which has a long narrow window, ends in a bell gable with two openings. This church dates from the end of the 12th century or beginning of the 13th century.
SANT PERE DESPUIG
As the name place indicates, the church is encountered placed on the top of a hill in the small range of hills named Cademunt, in the centre of the Bianya plane.
You can reach it from the C-153, by going along the road that also leads to Sant Marti de Solamal. There is a turning at a crossroads that takes you up to the top of the hill, where the church is easy to locate.
In the year 964 the church of Sancti Petri, constructam in territorio de Bianya... in loco qui dicitur Puig was consecrated. This is one of the first accounts that is found of the temple. Centuries later it became to be known as Sant Pere Espuig or Sant Pere Despuig, with the article inserted into the original name.
In the 18th century the original orientation of the church was turned, giving it a north-south orientation. This suggests that there is little of the 12th century Romanesque edifice, built after the 10th century disputes. These relics are encountered at the extreme south-west of the building, where there is a belfry tower constructed, modified at later dates.
The present entrance door, at noon, has a lintel with the date 1782 inscribed. This parish church contained a seated, Romanesque, statue of the Virgin Mary, worshiped under the name Mara de Deú de Grácia.
SANT PONÇ D'AULINA
Located on the southern side of the sierra of Capsacosta, right at the head of the valley also know as Sant Ponç d'Aulina.
Following the turning from the C153, just before arriving at the tunnel of Capsacosta, on the right there is a forest track that leads to the hermitage. It is recommended to make the last part of the journey on foot.
This has a Romanesque origin, its initial structure has been much changed over the centuries, especially, in the 18th century, when there were important building works undertaken due to fact that the church was almost in ruins. Because of this services were suspended.
It has just one rectangular nave, without a protruding apse. The chancel or presbytery, in keeping with Romanesque orientation of buildings, is found on the east. The tower belfry with a four sided slanted roof and is found at north-east of the building. The entrance door, to the west, is of simple design, with a plain frontispiece and a lintel decorated with a cross sculpted within a circle.
The church was restored in 1994. The remains of Romanesque painting, of particular interest, are on the half-pointed arched window, open to the wall at noon. The parallelopedic baptism font is decorated with a cable moulding border, an exceptional, unique piece..
SANT SALVADOR DE BIANYA
Located at the head of the Bianya plane, is the small hamlet of Sant Salvador de Bianya; the old municipality was incorporated within Vall de Bianya in 1969. The church maintains the status of parish church. Turning right off the C-153, just before the tunnels, takes you directly through the quaint little village, before going up to the Coll de Capsacosta and continuing on to Sant Pau de Segúries.
The church of Sant Salvador de Bianya was consecrated in the year 1170. For many years it formed part of the property of the monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses.
The church has one single nave, with a slightly pointed barrel vault. The chancel is to the east, formed by a semi-circular apse with a double-sided central window. The columns, capitols and arches that adorn the exterior part of this window are of particular interest, as are the buttresses that decorate the upper part of the apse. The church has had some extensions. The tower belfry is on top of the west facade.
In the year 1911, some restoration work was inaugurated, which included the columns and capitols of the entrance door and the outer side of the window in the apse.
The immersed baptism font is decorated in high relief. The holy water stoup is of great interest, as it is intricately decorated.
SANTA MAGDALENA DEL COLL
The church of Santa Magdalena del Coll, next to the Coll farmhouse, is near the church of Sant Feliu del Bac. You can get there easily on the track that goes down from the pass of Capsacosta. You can also reach it from the Vall del Bac, passing Llongarriu and continuing along the shaded side of the sierra of Malforat.
Historical data related with this church is very few and far between. In the 18th century it had a glorious period, which had a lot to do with the increase in popularity and devotion to the patron saint. According to parish tradition, in the mid 19th century, large festivals were held there at Easter and on the 22nd of July, it being the saint's day.
These days, the church is in very bad condition, practically in ruins, one side is destroyed and there are large cracks in the walls. It is a straightforward construction, dating back to the end of the 12th century, beginning of the 13th century, with some modifications undertaken at later periods.
It has one single, rectangular nave, with the chancel to the east, where there is a vestry. The keystoned entrance door with a half pointed arch, is in the western wall. Above it there is an original Romanesque window. The rebuilt steeple has just one opening.
SANTA MARGARIDA DE BIANYA
Located on the north slope of the sierra de Sant Miquell del Mont. To reach you have to leave the C-53 at Hostalnou, go through the square and follow the paved track which leads to the church. Santa Margarida de Bianya still has the status of parish church and services are held there quite often.
The church of Santa Margarida de Bianya was donated to the monastery of Riudaura in 858 and later in 953 it became under the jurisdiction of Santa Maria de la Grassa.
It was quite badly damaged by the earthquakes in the 15th century, but it preserves a great deal of its original architecture, which corresponds to the 12th century. There is just one nave but, at a later date, a chapel was added onto each side giving it the form of a cross. The chancel is formed by an apse, where there are three windows with half-pointed arches, a capitol and a frieze held by buttresses.
The existence of a small apse to the north gives room for thought that the church was initially a basilical plan or with a transverse nave. The vestry, added onto the south side, occupies the space where there is believed to have been another symmetrical apse.
The original entrance door, found next to noon, is blocked up. The tower belfry is built onto the west facade, where there is a neo-classical portal dating from the 19th century.
SANTA MARIA DE CASTELLAR DE LA MUNTANYA
It is located on the eastern side of the old rural village of Castellar de la Muntanya. The church is half way up the slope of the mountain. To reach it you have take a small road, at Sant Joan les Fonts, that crosses the Bianya river, goes up the sierra de Vivers and ends up near to the church of Santa Maria.
The initial structure of the church was modified, with extensions built on to it at different periods, above all in the 18th century. Orientated from east to west, the building corresponds to the architectural characteristics of the 12th century.
It has a single rectangular nave, with a barrel vault. The chancel is formed by a semi-circular apse at the centre there is a window which has had its arch modified. The keystoned entrance door with a half-pointed arch is next to noon. The belfry towers have two slanted roofs which have openings on each of the four sides. Inside the church there is a straightforward, undecorated, immersion baptismal font.
We have information on Santa Maria de Castellar de la Muntanya since 1079. It was subject to the monastery at Sant Joan les Fonts, which was given along with its subject churches to Sant Victor de Marsella.
SANTA MARIA DE SACOT
Located in the Vall del Bac, on the same side as the manor house of Llongarriu, on the north slope of the sierra de Malforat. You can reach it on foot along the path that leads from the hostel at la Vall de Bac, or you can take the track that crosses the valley to the Llongarriu bridge.
The old name for this church is Santa Maria de Sacot, which has remained right up to the present today. It is also known as Santa Maria de Llongarriu and la Mare de Déu dels Ángels de Llongarriu.
This 12th or beginning of the 13th century building, is made up of one single, rectangular nave, without a differentiated apse. The barrel vault is slightly pointed. The rectangular entrance door is placed in the western facade. There is a text inscribed into the lintel, dated 1672. The steepled belfry, which has two openings, rises up from this same facade or western wall.
There are two double-paned windows with half-pointed arches built into the wall at noon. It belonged to the monastery at Camprodon. It was quite badly damaged by the earthquakes in the 15th century, making it necessary for restoration work to be done that lasted for years. It was once a parish church, but in the mid 16th century it became subject to Sant Andreu de Porreres.