Places of interest

  • Arc del Pono

    Arc del PonosThis is a small Gothic-style gate which was opened up in order to improve access to the town at a time when defence was decreasing in importance.

    Arc del Ponos

  • Camí Natural de Prades Route

    Camí Natural

    The Camí Natural de Prades runs around the edges of the municipality of Prades and enables one to see a number of interesting sites in the area, such as the sanctuaries, some wells, the “pous de gel” cold storage chambers, and viewpoints …. as well as making it possible to enjoy the rich biodiversity and range of different forest habitats: chestnuts, oaks, Pyrenean oak, etc.

    Access to the path is forbidden to all motor vehicles, except those belonging to owners of the farm and forest land. This makes the route ideal for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.

  • Font d'en Grau Well

    Font d'en GrauThe water from this well has always been much appreciated, so much so that medicinal properties have been attributed to it.

    Font d'en Grau

  • Former Town Hall and Schools

    Now the restored building is home to different municipal bodies: library, senior citizen day centre, medical centre.

  • Mossèn Josep Benet Square

    Plaça Mossen BenetMonsignor Benet was vicar of Prades from 1966 until his death in 1985. He is remembered as a vicar who was particularly close to his parishioners and who gave his parish a left-wing and Catalan nationalist feel. He opened up a space in the parish hall to be used by local youth. A great lover of music, he set up a children’s choir, revived the village choir and directed the Caramelles sung at Easter. He promoted the playback programme Escala in HiFi which was very successful for a number of years and he was the first town vicar not to wear a cassock.

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  • Municipal Cross and Town Gate

    There is no better place to start a visit of Prades than at this cross which since the 13th century has welcomed visitors arriving in the town. There are two similar crosses which are now situated in the more modern part of the town, moved from their original position near the town gates, the points where people arrived and entered Prades from the various roads which led to the town.

    Before entering the walled areas it is advisable to devote a few minutes to enjoying one of the most characteristic and attractive views of the town: the remains of the town walls, which with the passage of time have merged with the houses, and the impressive town gate. One enters the old town, a space declared a historic centre, through the arched gate framed by large square stones.

  • Natural Areas

    Almost all of the Prades municipal area is affected by the Prades Mountains PEIN (Plan for Spaces of Natural Interest) and the Natura 2000 network. There is also a part of the Barranc del Tillar i Tossal de la Baltasana Partial Natural Reserve in the municipality.

    Close by, though belonging to other municipalities, is the Montsant Natural Park, the PENIN of the Poblet Valley Monastery which borders Plans del Pagès and the Serra del Bosc in the north, and the Altiplà dels Motllats Partial Natural Reserve to the south-east.

    There are two long-distance footpaths running through the town, the GR171 which comes from Montblanc via the Molta d’Estat, and the GR 65-5 which is part of the Camino de Santiago and comes from L’Albiol via Motllats. Both of the routes leave the town to the west via the Segalassasos.

  • Plaça de la Pau (Peace Square)

    Plaça de la PauAlso known as the plaça de l’Ou (egg) or Plaça del Alls (garlic).

    Plaça de la Pau

  • Planet del Pont

    Planet del PontThis is another interesting way of entering Prades. It is a road which used to enter the town from Conca de Barberà in the north. The last building we can see from the bridge on the far right is the oldest house in the town. It dates back to around the 13th century and has taken advantage of the large stone blocks of the town walls for its foundations and outside walls.

  • Pous de gel (Coldstorage Chambers)

    Although the earliest knowledge we have of the trade in snow comes from the 17th century, it was already a way of earning a living in the 16th century. Pere Gil in his 1600 Geografia de Catalunya wrote that “the snow from the Pyrenees, in Montseny, and in the Mountains of Prades in Catalonia is used in the summer and on hot days to cool water and wine which can be drunk, not only cool, but cold, with no damage to health or life”.

    The ice was basically used for the luxury of cooling drinks and fruit during the hot time of year. It was also used to conserve food, for medicinal purposes, as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and to staunch bleeding, etc.

    The snow industry, as is logical, was located in places where climatic conditions in winter were harder, with abundant snowfall and very cold temperatures. For this reason there were numerous pous de gel or fridges in the Prades Mountains which were used to store snow or ice which was sold when the temperature increased.

    The pous de gel are simple constructions in dry stone built by experts in construction with arches over the cupola, of a considerable size in some cases. A cold place with clean and abundant snow was sought out, or a place near a river or fountain which could provide water to produce sufficient ice.

    In the Prades municipality there are five pous de gel situated at a height of between 950 and 1130 metres above sea level. Amongst these five, there are three situated in the Plans (one of the coldest parts of the county, and with the highest snowfall). They are easy to locate as they are very close to the Camí Natural de Prades and the GR 171. These are the Roca del Gríngol or Mas del Pagès, which was a rectangular well. There were two arch supports which held up the roof, which was 9 metres wide at its widest point. The other is the Dineral well in the east of els Plans, not far from the road from Prades to Rojals. It is a circular well, some 10 to 12 metres in diameter where one can see remains of the walls and stone blocks making it up. The Celestino or Sabucar well, (an overgrown hollow which may have had a diameter of 8 to 10 metres but has no stones) is about 250 metres from the Dineral well.

    (Information taken from the book by Ramon Amigó entitled El tràfic amb el fred al Camp de Tarragona (s. XVI-XIX))

  • Remains of the castle and the military church of Sant Miquel

    CastellThe castle, of which there are few remains, was located at the north-west edge of the town. Its poor state has made it difficult to interpret what it may have been like. It was the seat of the counts of Prades until the treasury was moved to the Castle of Falset. The best conserved part of the military complex is the church of Sant Miquel. There are few traces of the former church, just the apse and a ruined vault, a piece of the nave, and an old side chapel on the east side of the north wall. Looking at the walls, built out of well-worked, very even, large stones, it must have been a relatively sizeable, solid construction. The chapel must have been built together with the castle at an unspecified date, probably some time in the second half of the 12th century.  The castle was already in a poor state in 1554, and two centuries later various parts were sold off. Once deconsecrated, the stones of the church were shared out amongst certain landowners for use in animal pens and houses. 

    Today, the east part of the church which is not affected by any other buildings has been declared municipal property and is being restored to save it from disappearing altogether.

    Castell

    Avui dia, la part de llevant de l'església, que no es troba afectada per cap habitatge, i per protegir-la de la total desaparició, s'ha convertit en propietat municipal i es troba en curs de restauració.

  • Santa Maria la Major Church

    Església de Sta. Maria

    The earliest document to speak of Santa Maria la Major church is a papal bull issued by Celestino III in 1194. The church building is an eclectic mix of Romanesque and Gothic elements, with a Renaissance façade.

    It is a square building formed by a large central nave strengthened by buttresses, with a barrel vault and a six-sided apse. There is a side chapel dedicated to Santa Florentina, patron saint of the town.

    The current side door, called the “false door”, is one of the most interesting remains from Romanesque times, as it was the main entrance to the church when the current Chapel of the Holy Sacrament was still the main altar. As the town began to grow and fear of attack diminished, the orientation of the church was moved from North-South to East-West and the church was built onto the town wall, taking advantage of the stone blocks. The church was badly damaged during the Civil War. It is currently undergoing restoration.

  • Sisteré Pear Tree (Pyrus Spinosa)

    Perelloner del Cisterer

    This is one of two listed trees in the Prades Mountains due to its size, age and appearance. It is recognized for its symbolic value and is part of the natural, cultural and historic heritage of Catalonia.

    A type of tree grown for its fruit, it is unusual to find a tree of this size as they are normally pruned down to be as productive as possible. It has a short trunk with a circumference of more than 3.17 metres and divides into two main branches which form a compact bright green crown which in spring produces pretty white blossoms and rises to a height of some twelve metres.

    It is located in the Cap del Pla in the south of the municipality near the T-704 from Prades to l’Aleixar and close to the Camí Natural de Prades Route.

  • The Plaça Major and the Renaissance Fountain

    Plaça Nevada

    The Plaça Major, the Church, the Castle and the Town walls are the main elements to determine the internal organization of the town since the middle Ages.

    When it came under Christian rule in the middle of the 12th Century Prades developed into a typical market town, a crossroads of intersecting commercial routes. The structure of the large, arcaded Plaça Major, demonstrates the importance the town acquired as a trading centre once the Count-Kings of the House of Barcelona had granted it the right to hold a weekly market (from the year 1200, according to documentary evidence) and various cattle markets a year, which include the Saint Bartholomew market on the 24 August, which was well-known throughout Catalonia Nova.

    Aside from agriculture, the economy of Prades was based on forestry (a privilege granted in a charter issued by Ramon Berenguer IV in May 1159, on stockbreeding, and a cloth industry. The town acquired its own system of weights and measures (mesuram de Pratis) and the right to mint coins.

    As the middle Ages gave way to the modern era, the Plaça Major gained a new element, which remains a key feature to this day, perhaps even a symbol of the town; this is the fountain, the most iconic fountain from the Renaissance period. Like other constructions in the town it is made of a red stone popularly known as “whetstone”. Its shape is reminiscent of a globe and it has four bronze outlets which indicate the four points of the compass.

    Font

  • The Sanctuary of the Virgin of Beehives (Verge de l’Abellera)

    Access: If coming from Febró, about 2 kilometres from the town and before arriving at the crossroads at the entrance of the town, you will see a sign on the right pointing the way to the sanctuary. One can also walk to the sanctuary on the old road which goes past the sanctuaries of Sant Antoni and Sant Roc. From Prades you have to take the T-704 towards Febró or Alcover, then look for the sign and keep left; it is very close to the town.

    Ermita de l'AbelleraThe Sanctuary of the Beehives possibly dates from 1570, though there have been many later modifications. It has a very strange layout as it is in a cave that was previously a refuge. The cave is set into a cliff face which rises to 1,020 metres above sea level. This location provides extraordinary views of the valley of the Brugent River, the villages of Capafonts and Farena, the town of Mont.ral atop a hill, and in the background the plains of Alt Camp and the mountains of Montmell. There are extensive woods throughout the landscape as well as (now deserted) chestnut plantations.

    The legend runs that the image of the Virgin of the Beehives was found in an oak tree by a shepherd out looking for honey. The shepherd, so goes the legend, brought the image home twice but each time the Virgin returned to the place she had been discovered. There is said to have been a hermitage here before the current one, which Queen Margarida de Prades used to withdraw to. Bernat Boïl, the first Apostolic Vicar to the Indies who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to America also lived there in 1484.

    The façade of the sanctuary is very simple: there is an arched door framed by a window on either side, topped by a bell, and embellished by the characteristic red stone walls of the district.  There is no evidence of the current building having existed before 1484; it may have been built in 1570 and the bell tower may have been raised in 1578. The bell tower may have belonged to the first sanctuary: the later building has acquired its current appearance from numerous changes and additions over the centuries.

    Ermita de l'Abellera

    The building has a single nave thirteen metres long and six metres wide with an alcove at the end. The image of the Virgin dates from 1940 and is a faithful copy of its predecessor. On 12 August 1956 the image was crowned by the Archbishop of Tarragona. The crown is by the goldsmith Jaume Mercadé Queralt and consists of fifty silver bees and a queen bee together with the Prades coast of arms. This refers to the beehives and the racks for honey believed to have been in the sanctuary. This explains why the Virgin is the patron saint of Catalan Apiculturists.

    On Easter Monday and on 8 September, the feast day of the Discovered Virgins, the sanctuary is visited by many devout visitors. In the past the inhabitants of Prades used to process to the sanctuary on the Sunday following Christmas.

  • Tossal de la Baltasana

    Also known locally as La Torre (The Tower) this is a geodesic peak of the first rank, which reaches 1,201 metres above sea level and is the highest summit in the Prades Mountains and even the highest in the Prelitoral Range between the rivers Llobregat and the Ebro. From the peak one can enjoy an extensive view which extends from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean, and from the Barcelona mountains down to the Ports, Maestrazgo and Aragon beyond. It is a popular destination for nature lovers and there are many routes for hikers.

  • Town Walls

    MurallaPrades is an excellent example of typical medieval town planning, with narrow, winding alleyways protected by a triangular town wall. Of the town fortifications there are a few fragments of interest and it is still possible to trace its complete perimeter. Despite this, the construction has suffered major damage throughout its history. In August 1651, the governor of Tarragona attacked, occupied and ordered it to be demolished; in 1718 the Barcelona High Court obliged the town to increase the size of the gates by several centimetres to prevent it being able to defend itself; and during the Carlist wars it was set on fire in order to occupy the town.