Siurana is a town in the Priorat region, in the province of Tarragona, whose location is a marvel for the senses. It is located on a huge rock on the Siurana riverwhich made it an impregnable place and one of the last Muslim strongholds in Catalonia.
This beautiful town is surrounded by a dreamlike natural environment and is the starting point for many excursions to enjoy the magnificent views of the Serra de Montsant, La Gritella and the Prades mountains. Also, Siurana has become a point of reference for climbers. Do you want to know more about this town?
A little history
The site of the town of Siurana has been occupied since prehistoryProof of this are the remains of a flint workshop that could date back to the Bronze Age. However, the time when the place was in the hands of the Muslims stands out.
In the year 711, the Arabs crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and quickly expanded to control almost the entire Iberian Peninsula. In the year 714 they had already settled in the territory that is now Catalonia. From the eleventh century, Siurana began to gain importance, since it became the defensive line of Islam against the attacks of the Count of Barcelona, who wanted to control the city of Tarragona.
This military advance caused the withdrawal of the Muslim forces, who were entrenching themselves in safer mountain fortifications. Siurana was one of these fortifications and, Due to its strategic position, it was decisive in stopping the advance of the Christian forces.
It is estimated that Siurana was raised by the Saracens in the year 869 and its castle was the administrative and political center of an extensive territory that, approximately, included the current regions of Priorat, Baix Camp, Alt Camp, Conca de Barberà and les Garrigues.
The difficult conquest of Siurana
Siurana’s position made it a practically impregnable fortress, so the Christian forces chose to advance towards other territories with more political importance and easier to conquer: Tarragona, Lérida and Tortosa. Once they had those territories under their control, it would be a matter of time before Siurana, the last Muslim stronghold, would fall.
That’s how it went, after a siege that began in the year 1153, it was conquered. Legend has it that Abdelazia, the Moorish queen, before being subjected to the Christians, who were going to spare her life in exchange for changing her faith for the Christian, preferred to launch her horse off one of the enormous precipices that surround the village.
It is said that the horse, faced with imminent danger, tried with all its might to stop before rushing off, leaving its horseshoe marked on the rock. This trace remained for posterity as the symbol of the disappearance of the last Saracen redoubt in Catalonia. Today we can still see that footprint in the place called Salto de la Reina Mora.
Walking through Siurana and its surroundings
Those who visit Siurana and know the legend, the first thing they look for is that jump. Once this is done, the place offers you a wide variety of activities: hiking, mountain bike routes or guided tours of the town. But that’s not all, there are also bathing areas in the Siurana reservoir and climbing areas.
There are up to eight routes of different levels of difficulty and varied lengths in the area to do on foot. Some will take you to ancient hermitages, others will make you walk old paths full of history and others will simply plunge you into wonderful natural settings. On the Siurana tourism website you will find all the options available according to your interests.
Mountain biking lovers will find a unique opportunity to enjoy themselves in the mountains that surround Siurana. The routes are much longer than those made on foot. These cover a wide territory of the region from Ulldemolins, Escaladei to the beautiful town of Prades.
Meanwhile, history lovers you can admire the remains of the Muslim fortress and the Romanesque church of Santa María. There is the possibility of hiring guided and thematic tours to enjoy the town’s fantastic historical and cultural heritage.
Taking advantage of the fact that you are in this Catalan region famous for its wines, why not visit one of its wineries? You can choose between Montsant denomination of origin wines by going, for example, to Cornudella del Montsant, or Priorat denomination of origin wines in Escaladei, although there are many other options.