The word megalithic is used to refer to monumental tombs (dolmens) made of tombstones, that were built in Western Europe between the 4th century and the second millennium before Christ.
The men and women of this culture, especially the shepherds, were dedicated to transhumance. For this reason, the upright stones or menhirs were used to mark the trails, as often they are found near groups of dolmens.
Of the different megalithic regions of Catalonia, Empordà is one of the most important of all. Between the sierra of Rodes and that of l'Albera, are concentrated more than a hundred dolmens and menhirs. The largest dolmen of Catalonia is Creu d'en Cobertella that is found in the municipality of Roses (Costa Brava north).
Alt Empordà classic
Our territory is a natural passing through area that has been installed since ancient times; the classic civilizations have defined the character between the men and women of the land: the Greek, Roman or Iberian culture itself.
These cultures have left their impression in several exceptional archaeological sites, like the Greek colonies of Empúries and Roses, or the Iberian town of mas Castellar in Pontós.
We are lucky to conserve sites that are the impression of the Roman Via that from the 1st century AC to the 4th century BC connected Rome with Cadiz: the Cluses and the Trophies of Pompeii, the latter located in the area that separated Gallia from Hispania.
Alt Emporda romanesque
The Romanesque art of this land has a distinct personality. There is a large amount of religious architecture. Additionally, Pre-Romanesque churches have been preserved, from the beginning of the Carolingian domain (9th-10th centuries) which are of great interest, as they are the foundation of the Romanesque autochthony, some truly unique and exceptional.
Of the many parish churches and Romanesque chapels, one in each of the towns could be commented on, which are safeguarded by their inhabitants as small sources of pride.
If for any reason the region is known as Romanesque, it is for its Benedictine monasteries, Augustine abbeys and raised castles.
The first Benedictine foundations contributed to the organization of the territory on behalf of the French power and of the local counts. After the second half of the 9th century, the Augustine canonries were added. In the monasteries, all types of medieval art flourished. The most elevated Romanesque expression in Empordà is found in the monasteries: synthesis of the late Roman local substratum, the post-Carolingian art and the Italic influences and of the caliphate of Córdoba.
The history of Alt Empordà as border territory has made it a constant stage for wars and invasions. This context has left us with an enormous amount of defense architecture, like raised castles and fortified towns. They have been found since the Visigoth era, and especially the medieval era. There are also forts from the modern era like The Castle of Sant Ferran in Figueres and ones that are more recent or medieval reconstructions from the end of the 19th century.
Atl Empordà, from gothic to modernism
In Alt Empordà, gothic art has its key center in Castelló d'Empúries, with the church of Santa María and samples of civil architecture. The Renaissance left us particularly interesting civil buildings.
Among the testimonies of Emporda baroque architecture we find the church of Sant Andreu de Borrassà and other more classic ones, like those of Sant Pere Pescador and Sant Pere de Navata, both with mural paintings of the same style (17th and 18th centuries). The large altar of Santa María in Cadaqués is especially interesting, which is the last work of Pau Costa, completed by Joan Torras of Empordá (beginning of the 18th century).
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, Modernism represents the abandonment of classic rules and liberty in com- position. In Alt Empordà, the work of architect Josep Azemar stands out, in both Figueres as well as Agullana. Other buildings of this style are found in Roses, Cadaqués, Portbou and other towns.
The “noucentista” sculpture is found on the Rambla of Figueres, with a monument to Narcís Monturiol, by Enric Casanovas (1882-1948).
At the beginning of the 20th century, Cadaqués became the artistic center of the vanguard. Cadaqués has attracted infinite artists of the country, from the 19th century until today. Dalí made reference to the surrealists: Magritte, Eluard, Breton, and Buñuel. Also Picasso and later, the Dadaists (Duchamp, Man Ray,...).
Alt Empordà surrealism
Likewise, it is not possible to discover the Empordà without knowing Dalí, and it would be difficult to understand Dalí without discovering the Empordà. The Empordà, a land touched by the north wind: honest, eclectic and at times crazy, like Dalí. They are said attributes that mark the life and work of Salvador Dalí, the Empordà painter of excellence that made the region the starting point of his surreal journey, a world of unreal shapes and impossible colors.
Born in Figueres, Salvador Dalí spend part of his life in Cadaqués. These two towns of the Alt Empordà are intimately linked to the life and work of the artist, to such a degree that their landscapes are a constant element of Dalí painting; reason for which the so-called Dalí Triangle has been converted in two vertex, formed by the following spaces:: The Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres and the house of Portlligat in Cadaqués. The Triangle is completed with the Castle of Gala a Púbol, la Pera, in Baix Empordà. To visit the latter two, previous reservations are required.