Laroque des Albères and Bagà share a common history of the De Castre Pinós, an important medieval Catalan family descended from the counts of Cerdagne..
Bagà, GATEWAY TO Cadí
Bagà is situated at 786m altitude on the edge of the River Bastareny, on the South side of a mountain chain which includes 4 high peaks : :
leCadí (2653 m) leMoixeró (2279 m) laTosa (2537 m) lePuigllançada (2408 m)
The whole chain forms an impressive limestone barrier of 30 kilometers along the boundary between the Cerdanya and the Berguedà regions.
On both sides, villages with a rich past nestle in the foothills: Josa de Cadí, Gósol, Saldes, Riu ...Much larger, Bagà, had established itself as the seat of the dukedom because of its strategic location which allowed it to control the main routes crossing through the passes of Pendís and del Pal.
Today, these are only used by hikers or skiers going to the resort of Col del Pal. Indeed, since 1984, the Tunnel of Cadí (toll), 5 km long, provides the route for motorists to cross the mountains.
A MEDIEVAL CITY LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
In the Middle Ages, Bagà's prosperity was due to its role as a crossroads between Urgell, Cerdanya and Berguedà.
Its market, based on the trade of wool and cloth, was one of the most popular in the region. It was held in the square of the "porxada" (today Place Galceran de Pinós), surrounded by porticoes with stone arches. Perfectly preserved, this square remains the heart of the old village from which steep streets climb towards the castle/palace of the Pinós.
Overlooking the city, this castle retains only a few vestiges of the medieval period: between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, attacks, revolts and wars have reduced it to ruins. The present building dates from its reconstruction in the eighteenth century and today it is undergoing an ambitious restoration by the municipality with the support of a European program. It now houses the Tourist Office and the Medieval and Cathar Centre.
Other medieval monuments can be seen along the visitors' itinerary: the remains of walls, the Portella tower, the bridge over the Bastareny, the church of Sant Esteve (1339) ...After the economic downturn of the Modern Era, Bagà regained a new lease of life from the end of the 19th century thanks to the textile industry and the exploitation of coalmines in its vicinity (Cerc, Figols, Saldes, Vallcebre). Its population rose from 1,021 in 1930 to 2,410 in 1960. But this improvement was abruptly halted, hard hit by the consequences of globalisation: mines were closing, the textile industry was collapsing, and agriculture was declining.
In order to revitalise their city, the councillors have turned towards tourist and service activitiesThe exploitation of the medieval past on the one hand and the exceptional beauty of the landscape on the other have become the spearheads of the development of a cultural tourism which has given rise to two centres:
- The Medieval and Cathar Center, which has become a museum and centre of research for the history of the city and of catharism
As well as these places to visit, there are also many events. For instance, each summer there is the great Festival of the Barony consisting of a medieval market, a theatrical production of the popular legend of the "Rescue of 100 maids ", as well as other festivals.