Arbolí is located in the south west of the mountains of Prades. Its cliffs are a splendid sight point to the Baix Camp and a challenge for many climbers. All around, the mountain offers large tracts of pine and oak forest.
It is believed that the name of Arbolí is Arabic. Before that, however, pottery and flint and other Iberian and Roman findings appeared in prehistoric caves of the Iron and Copper Ages. The name, written in 1263, it appeared asHerbulino,; in 1280 as Erbulio and in 1600, it would be written Arbolí.
In the thirteenth century, a Cathar community existed, and in 1262 three of its members were convicted. Since 1324 the county was part of Prades. In 1777 there were hazel orchards, and there were also cereals as the village had twenty threshing floors. It also had a strong presence of paper mills, one of which produced 2,200 reams of paper in 1777.
The village, being at more than 714m above sea level, closed in between Serret dels Colls and the Arbolí ravine, is surrounded by a vast expanse of pine and oak. Amongst its mountains is Gallicant, a peak of 1,008m, where today there is an uninhabited village.
The situation of the village and the stunning cliffs and mountains that surround it has developed the tertiary sector activities in the village. The particular topography of Arbolí makes it good for canyoning, for example in the ravine Gorguet or the Gorguina and, especially climbing. Arbolí has one of the most outstanding climbing areas in Spain.
The parish church of Sant Andreu, from the late eighteenth century, stands among the steep streets of the village.
It is said that Ca l'Arrel is the oldest house in town. Tradition says that the vault of the Font Volta and a medieval watchtower of the Moors or D'en Manuel, were built by the Arabs.
There is also the hermitage of Sant Pau, which existed already in the thirteenth century, and it was rebuilt in 1927 and 1974.
In 1950, the Castillejos military base was set up in the forests of Arbolí, and also occupied the lands of La Febró and La Mussara. It was used for the college militias and it held up to 4,000 men in summer. It is currently unused.
It is a former centre of population, a farm house at the north of the area of the municipality, just on the border with Cornudella, on a landing of the northern side of Mount Gallicant (1,008 m high) on the Siurana River valley. An important Cathar area in the thirteenth century, it is mentioned in inquisitorial statements "valle Porreira" and "montaneam de Siurana". The way of "good men" would go through its landscape until Morella. It was a way used to escape the persecution of the church in North Catalonia after the burning of Montsegur.
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