L'Aleixar

L'Aleixar

Located at the foot of the Sierra de la Mussara, a little below Vilaplana, it is a town known for its hazelnut fields and forests. The core was walled and it has a beautiful square with porches to be visited. The county was part of Prades and is famous for the Mas de Borbó oak, the oldest and largest in Catalonia.

 

History

There are different theories as to where the name of the village came from. To some it means al-Aisar, the most fertile. A legend says that originally, the town was on the other side of the stream, in the area of Pouador, called Riudarenes until a flood destroyed it and changed the situation. Another legend says that the village would have been abandoned by a plague, and so it was named Lo Lleixat. This name was included in the letter of reinhabitation of Siurana from 1153 and it was mentioned in 1173 as Aleixarium. It belonged to Prades since its inception and it had several masters. In 1324, Jaume I gave the privilege to have market on Mondays to the village. The Jewish community in L'Aleixar was very large, and even had a synagogue. It it said that it had very active commercial relationship with other Jewish communities such as Falset, Valls, Castelló d'Empúries.

The only remains of the town walls are in Forn street. There is no trace left of the castle, documented in 1342.

In the Eighteenth century, cereal crops were given priority over vineyards - the town had eight flour mills. About halfway through the Nineteenth century, the industry was centred on oil and flourmills, a rum factory, a manganese mine and citrus growing. Subsequently, as in the rest of the Camp, hazel fields also developed. 
 

Joaquim Mir

The painter Joaquim Mir (Barcelona 1873-1940) lived in L'Aleixar between 1907-13, after having been in the Pere Mata hospital. He painted the people and the surroundings in a style that was similar to the Expressionist and Abstract styles of other European painters. During that time, the way he painted the nature and the volume of the landscape came close to abstraction, but it did not ever be. His paintings are populated with fields, with trees and crops, the pools, the churches, the gardens and flowers, that is, the rural environment that nurtured his pictorial language. L'Aleixar painted the Old Petaca, the arrival of spring in the village, various landscapes and the hermitage of Sant Blai.

 

Places to visit

The church

The parish church of Sant Martí was built between 1711 and 1728, probably on the site of the old one. The interior has three naves and the plant has a polygonal apse. The church retains Baroque altars such as the Sant Joan, by Lluís Boniflàs; the Roser from 1704, by Isidre Espinalt; and the Ànimes, by Lluís Bonifas, from 1745. The main altar piece was constructed between 1733 and 1737 by Peter Costa, and gilded in 1857. It still retains an important Baroque organ from 1735, built by Joan Baptista Ferrer. The art and musical value of the organ prompts summer concerts, organised by the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Catalan Association of the Organ. In a side chapel of the Epistle there is the chapel of Santa Fimbria. In it is a relic that is thought to be a piece of the edge of the robe of Jesus, brought by a Croat from the Holy Land, who fell ill in the village and promised that, if cured, he would give it to the village. The shrine that houses the clothing dates from 1786.

Eighteenth century buildings

The prime example is Cal Fernando, the large ancestral home of the Guardiola, located in the Placeta. Simó i Hortaneda Guardiola was the abbot of Montserrat and Bishop of La Seu d'Urgell, in the nineteenth century.

Hermitages

The hermitage of Sant Blai is very picturesque, located atop a hill on the outskirts of the town towards La Mussara, surrounded by cypress trees. It was built in medieval times, documented in 1501 and painted by Joaquim Mir, who lived in L'Aleixar between 1907 and 1913. It was restored in 1738. To the west of the village there are the ruins of the chapel of Sant Antoni.

The masías

The most important of all is that of Borbó, in the nearby mountains and surrounded by monumental oaks that bear its name. Other masías are that of Cercós, Torre Regina, Mas de Llaurador, Mas of Garrut, Moixí, and that of d'Anguera which has, like the Masía de Borbó, its own chapel. It is also worth mentioning that of Segimon, owned by the writers Mary and Albert Manent.

WHAT MORE TO VISIT

We suggest other interesting places to discover in this area

Historic ensemble of l'aleixar

L'Aleixar

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