Sunday, March 9, 2008

From modern Barcelona to an ancient Iberian village (Pueblo Iberico) Part 2


Walking uphill on Puig Castellar Ave. soon brings you to the neighborhood public market, Singuerlin, which takes it's name from the barrio. Although it is in a rather uninteresting modern building, it still boasts the usual vendors of fresh fish, meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables, nuts, bread, etc. Indeed, it's a good place to pick up items for a picnic in the wooded hills of the Serralada de Marina park above.
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Turn left at the market on Singuerlin Street and then take a right on Catalunya Ave. to continue the steep walk through the neighborhood of apartment buildings and single family dwellings -- some ugly, some attractive, some plain. When you reach the end of Catalunya Ave. at Primavera Ave, take a left and walk until it ends at Ausias Marc Street, where you take a right until this little street ends at the intersection of Dante and Roger de Flors. Look to the left for the stairway built into hillside, which goes up to Garcilaso de la Vega Street, where you turn right. Up ahead is a little circle with a city bus shelter, but take a right on the street right before the circle -- Marcelli Calvet street. Just a few meters ahead there is a water fountain and a bench that mark the end of this little street and the beginning of one of several nature trails in the park: Torrent de Les Bruixes. (Click here for a photo taken at last October's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the trail's restoration.)
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The path winds it's way up the hill, with markers pointing out the variety of flora and fauna native to the area. After about 30 minutes there is a wide dirt road that cuts across the trail. Here you have the choice of crossing and continuing directly up to the Iberian Village at the top of the hill, or of turning right and walking along the gradually rising road. The trail gets pretty steep from this point on, so unless you're prepared for a rather sturdy hike, take the road and follow the signs to Poblat Iberic Puig Castellar. (Although, you may want to take a short side trip to the medieval Ermita de Sant Climent that is about a 2o minute walk to the east. If so, just follow the signs there.)
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After about another 15 minutes, you reach the entrance to the little park that holds the archaeological excavation of the Iberian Village of Puig Castellar. At the base of the excavation site a nice little area has been developed, including stone benches and a wooden deck that stretches out from the hill. This is an excellent spot for taking in the magnificent views of the Besos river, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Badalona, Barcelona, and, of course the Mediterranean.
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Once you walk through the gate and onto the grounds, there are several signs in Catalan, Spanish and English that cover the history of the indigenous Iberian people, outline the fortified village that was located here some 2,500 years ago, mention the archaeological discoveries made at the beginning of the 20th century and describe the preservation of the site. For example, the signs let visitors know that the remains of the village were discovered by Ferran de Segarra in 1902 and that relics from the bed are preserved in the Museum of Archeology of Catalonia in Barcelona and at the Torre Balldovina Museum in Santa Coloma de Gramenet.
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After reading about the site, head up to the crest of the hill for a walk through the ruins. Signs in Catalan point out the remains of defensive constructions, a water system and the grid of streets, among other things. Structurally the village had an elliptical form, consisting of three longitudinal streets with lined with several structures. It is estimated that more than 200 people lived there. The village economy was based on agriculture, animal husbandry, metallurgy, textiles and trade.
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The lower section of the town was defended by a wall of stone and clay, the remains of which are easy to spot. The dwellings, which date from the 4th and 2nd centuries BC, were small -- only one or two rooms -- and were built of granite and slate, with roofs believed to have been made of branches and mud. One has been re-built, so that visitors can look inside for a glimpse of what life around the hearth must have been like.
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At the very top of the hill is a very simple little belvedere-like shelter for sitting and absorbing the surroundings, from the ancient at your feet, to the modern kilometers below.
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Chao amig@s,
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Carloz
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P.S. The Serralada de Marina park website has a nice little walking itinerary laid out from the Balldovina Museum (which is near the center of Santa Caloma de Gramenet) to Puig Castellar.

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