Ager
COR DEL MONTSEC

PHYSICAL FEATURES

   The Valley of └ger is a sub-comarca situated within the comarca of  la Noguera in Catalonia. It lies amid the mountain spurs immediately bellow the Montsec ridge, which is a typical pre-Pyrenean range running from east to west. The Noguera Pallaresa and Noguera Ribagorzana rivers have each eroded a way through the ridge at right-angles to it, thus forming the gorges of Terradets and Mont-rebei, wich divide the mountain into three distinct parts: Montsec de R˙bies in the east, Montsec d'Ares in the centre and Montsec de l'Estall in the west.
   Along the southern side of Montsec d'Ares the Valley of └ger runs parallel to it and at its very foot. It is characterized by lmond and olive groves, as well cultivated fields. Its privileged situation, protected from the chilly Pyrenean weather, results in a pleasant continental-meditterranean micro-climate.

LANDSCAPE AND GEOLOGY

   Montsec has been formed from layers of sediment laid down in the secondary era, wich overlap and intermingle with the sediments of the terciary and quartenary eras, which follow the valley. This is an ideal location for scientific study excursions; the unusual outcrops are visited regularly by geologists from far and wide, for their exceptional educational value. Special points of interest are at La RŔgola, La Baronia and the "Pedrera" (scree-slope) of R˙bies.
   Also of  great interest is the local landscape, which may be impressively majestic, such as the gorge of  Mont-rebei, or a peaceful solitude, such as the small valleys around Our Lady of Colobor.

  HISTORICAL VIEW
   The history of the valley is tied to the caracter of the region, with its ideal situation, which gave rise to a  feudal domain centred on the castle, and led to the development of an important town, with was the seat of viscounty within the larger county of Urgell (11th to 15th centuries). This importance in medieval times was a development of the work of  Arnau Mir de Tost, who had taken the valley from the Moors in the 11th century. And this cultural flowering is reflected in the urban development of the town itself, which still retains a quaint charm, not only for its architectural heritage, as indicated below, but also for its steep and winding streets of houses in a rural pre-Pyrenean style. As a sub-comanrca, it enjoyed a certain economic life, until quite recently holding spring and autumn fairs and a Sunday market, which brought together the people of the whole valley. During the 18th century it enjoyed a second period of economic growth, which is reflected in the urban development of that period. The street of Sa´nt MartÝ evokes this, with the noteworthy example of the Portolß family house. Here may have been born Gaspar de PortolÓ i Rovira (1717-1786), the founder and  first Governor of California.

ARTISTIC HERITAGE

   The valley of └ger has a rich artistic heritage, most of which is to be found in the town itself. Here one can visit the castle which has a series of important remains, including the remains of the possibly Moorish defence wall, the collegiate church of the 11th century, the cloister of the 14th, and the chapter house of the 16th century. There is also the parish church, which in its structure harmonizes the Romanesque with the Gothic and neoclassical styles, and treasures a baptismal font, adapted from a Roman sarcophagus of the 3rd century. The remains of the medieval town wall are also noteworthy. Within the municipality , but outside the town of └ger, there is a building group at Cas, with a watchtower and Romanesque church (11th and 12th centuries), the towers of Fontdepou and the Masos de MillÓ (10th and 11th centuries); the farmhouse "del Rei" in Vilamajor (13th century); the pinturesque hermitage of La Pertusa near CoršÓ (11th - 12th centuries),the splendid castle of Sant Llorenš del Montsec (11th century), as well as remains of lesser importance, but which are still of undeniable architectural interest, such as those at Montaspre, Claramunt, Mallabecs, Escumˇ and the surviving parts of the Roman roadway which went towards Balaguer.

More information about the Valley of Ager: Web del jovent d'└GER

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