THE NEW WATER PARADISE
Visitors will come upon El Pla d’Urgell as a thirsty traveller might stumble upon an oasis. The comarca (local district) has eighteen villages spread across a vast plain which, thanks to the water from the Canals d’Urgell, have seen their lives changed considerably. In this land of infinite horizons, and sunsets over fruit orchards, the inhabitants have developed a character all of their own. Those living here know the effort needed to bring in a successful harvest and, as they live in a local district that is a crossroads to everywhere else, they also understand the importance of welcoming newcomers.
The people of this comarca adore their area and this is most evident when they celebrate their local festivals. The events at the Festa de la poma i els templers (Apple and Knights Templar Festival) of Barbens bring together a passion for local produce and local history. Visitors really must not miss the esmorzar popular (people’s breakfast) on Saturday, the Sopar de Germanor (fraternity supper), the dancing and market stalls in the old part of the village, or the Knights Templar castle, all of which combine to help conjure up an image of the village’s past. Everything seems very real
Not to be missed
Festa de la Poma i els Templers de Barbens.
The journey of discovery through El Pla d’Urgell will continue at the Firals de Bellvís: a festival where the village recreates the arrival of Spanish King Phillip IV’s troops, in the 17th century. While discovering the village, visitors will also get a sense of its history and culture from a play based on the popular local legend of the ring of Cal Bufalà. This festival includes three days of music, dancing, theatre and festivities, which only end when all the Spanish troops have been expelled.
Firals de Bellvís and La llegenda de l’anella de Cal Bufalà.
Trobada gegantera del Pla d’Urgell (Gathering of the Giants).
At various different locations.
A passion for farming is alive and well in El Pla d’Urgell, and this is evident throughout the comarca. The padrins (older citizens) have handed down to younger generations an awareness of how important it is to take care of the land and its livestock. On St Anthony’s Day, in Linyola, visitors will be invited to experience, at first-hand, just how cherished farm animals are here. This is made evident during the Festa dels Tres Tombs (Three Circuits), which ends with a breakfast of pork ribs. Tourists will find themselves laughing along with the new friends that they will make very quickly and easily in this comarca. Sharing food is often the best way to cement a friendship and it is here that the people of the comarca get to proudly show exhibit the Cassola de Tros (Rural Casserole). This is a heritage dish, which was originally born out of necessity, and one whose recipe has been handed down from generation to generation by the padrins. It typically contains rabbit, snails and spinach, although the essence of the whole comarca can be found in its recipe. Each household also has its own secret ingredient or special way of preparing it. This taste of El Pla will whet the palates of visitors, filling them with emotion and making them feel part of El Pla d’Urgell.
Tres Tombs de Linyola per Sant Antoni.
Cassola de Tros.
Nothing on this rich plain would be what it is today were it not for the Canals d’Urgell: a public works project of movie-like portions which brought water from the River Segre and converted the area once known as the Clot del Dimoni (Devil’s Gully) into a fertile paradise, proud of its rich harvests. Where there was once only dry, sandy soil and dust, the land now sparkles with bright pastures, golden fields of wheat and barley, and acres of fruit trees. What visitors will discover with wonder is a veritable religion in this comarca. The people here will take them to their favourite places, which are close to the water. They will walk along paths carved out by the canals, which run through the gentle terrain of this remarkable territory. These pass endless fields of crops, which stretch for as far as the eye can see, and lead to the Estany d’Ivars i Vila-Sana pool. This is all part of the lush green carpet that is El Pla d’Urgell.