Puig Castellar: Archaeological Trekking at the origins of Barcelona
Available in: Italiano
Today I want to talk about Archeology, or rather, a nice trekking and photography in Barcelona. Well come on, let’s join all these elements in just one Archaeological and Photographic Trekking in Barcelona.
This city offers many alternatives to the usual tourist tours between Rambla, Sagrada Familia and Barceloneta.
Let’s say that every now and then I remember my degree in Archaeology, in fact, I’m nostalgic about the old days at the university between excavations and books. Joking aside, as you already know and if you do not know yet you can find out here, I always try to immerse myself in the culture and history of the places I see in my travels.
It’s not enough to see the main monuments, I want to go deeper and discover traditions, food, parties and much more. Many times this search passes from my beloved archaeology and also this time I found a little gem that takes us to the origins of the city of Barcelona.
Archaeological Trekking at the origins of Barcelona
In reality, this is an archaeological trek to the origins of Barcelona when Barcelona did not yet exist. Oh yes, because it will take you to the discovery of the prehistoric village of a population that lived in these areas before the arrival of the Romans and the actual foundation of the city.
Wanting to name the protagonists, they were called Laietani and were an Iberian people who settled here in the Bronze Age and the scene of their history was the village of Puig Castellar.
It is a village perched on a hill 303m high overlooking the entire plains of Barcelona from the mouth of the Besòs to that of Llobregat. From this height, its inhabitants could also control the valley that rises to the northwest.
The landscape was very different from what we see today. Where now stands the city, an immense succession of palaces and streets, was once mainly occupied by lagoons and estuaries much larger than the two rivers.
The Laietani, ancient inhabitants of Barcelona
Unfortunately, ancient historians have not left many details on these people. All that is known has been discovered by the archaeological excavations that took place in the different villages that stood in the Barcelona area.
The data tell us about a warlike, aristocratic and hierarchical society that was based mainly on agriculture but also livestock and hunting. Products that probably already exchanged with the Greek, Carthaginian and Roman merchants.
Climbing up the path that climbs the hill you are surrounded by the typical Mediterranean vegetation. Behind you, you can see the whole city while in front of you another green valley opens and at the top, on the hill, the village of Puig Castellar. From here you can see that it looks like a fortified village, you can already see the terracing.
And it is finally entering the village that you realize that the whole urban structure highlights the constructive capabilities of this people. The houses are arranged along a circular road in order to adapt to the shape of the land. The inhabited area is in fact developed in terraces in order to make the most of the space up to the top where probably a square opened.
From the objects found during the excavations, archaeologists have been able to find out more about their daily life. The remains tell us about metallurgy, weaving and milling of wheat.
But the most interesting discovery is the discovery of a large number of valuables. This made one think of a sudden abandonment of the village towards the end of the III century BC. or beginnings of the II century a.C. and therefore possibly linked to the Second Punic War (218 – 206 BC).
The Prehistoric Village of Puig Castellar: an archaeological trekking close to Barcelona
This trekking to the village is an experience that I recommend to those who, as a responsible traveller, want to go beyond the usual tourist routes. It ranges from the thrill of being immersed in nature a stone’s throw from the city to that of reaching the top of the hill and enjoy a breathtaking view of Barcelona.
It is a path that starts from the border of the city in the area of Santa Coloma Gramenet. From here a trail climbs up and runs along the crest of the hill, passes through the village and even goes as far as a natural dolmen used in the Bronze Age as a burial ground.
Dolmen de la Cova d’en Genis
To reach the Dolmen de la Cova d’en Genis, turn off the main path along a path with thick vegetation that descends towards the valley. Going up and continuing along the path we arrive at the small Ermita de Sant Climent built in 1673 by San Geronimo.
The monastery of Sant Jeroni de la Murtra
From here you can already see the monastery of Sant Jeroni de la Murtra. A Gothic monastery built by San Geronimo in the early fifteenth century. You can visit it according to set times but obviously, when I was there (Sunday) you can only enter two hours in the morning with guided tours. So I had to postpone it, as soon as possible I will come back to see it.
It is not over here, going down again to return to the city meets an old farmhouse of the fifteenth century. Despite the excessive state of abandonment, the cloister with arches running all around and in the background the chimneys of Badalona retain a certain charm.
Archaeological excavations had found a previous Roman villa, then turned into a farm and finally into the 15th-century farmhouse.