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Cultural heritage and museums

Museum of the Val d'Aran (Musèu dera Val d'Aran)

  • Ecomuseum, laundry area and blast furnace (Ecomusèu çò de Joanchiquet), Vilamós
  • The Church of St. John (Glèsia de Sant Joan d'Arties), Artiès. Temporary exhibitions
  • Snow Museum (Musèu dera Nhèu), Unha
  • Ethnographic Museum (Museu eth Corrau), Bagergue
  • Museum of The Pyrenees (PyrenMuseu), Salardú
  • Old mill(Molá de Salardú), Salardú
  • Spinning Factory (Fábrica dera Lana), Vielha

Victòria Mines (Minas Victoria de Arés). The Val d´Aran was at one time strictly an area for mineral extraction. At the beginning of the 20th century the zinc exploitation began in the area of Arres and cuevaBossost.

Manor houses (La casa deth Senhors d'Arros). The magnificent houses with corner turrets and windows of Renaissance style, today give the possibility to learn more about traditional life in the Aranese village in the XVIII - XX centuries.
Many of the manor house and Aranese villages were brought to the ground during wars and battles. The oldest houses that survived in the valley date back to the XIV and XV centuries and represent the true treasures of the Aranese architecture. These include Ço de Portolà (today it houses the Parador in Artiès) and Ço de Perejoan, in Escunau, built in 1393.
The architectural charm of the valley is formed by old laundries, mills and wells. Fortified castles and ancient fortifications are always part of the particular interest of every visitor. All cultural heritage sites can be visited with a guided tour (using snowshoes during the winter).

Churches. An important architectural and artistic heritage is conserved in the valley of Aran. It is mainly represented by numerous Romanesque churches. There are 15 churches in the valley, built in Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque style. The sculptural decoration may seem rustic, but no less expressive, with a clear architectural language.

Museums. The museums express the culture of the Val d'Aran as it was a strategic border territory throughout its history. Within its rooms the visitor will find unique documents and objects which help to understand the Aranese lands.
Find out more about the culture of the Aran Valley, about the history and development of the Pyrenees on a visit to the Museum of 3D-images while viewing vintage instruments. The original documents and rare objects of everyday life will help to better understand the culture of the people.

Romanesque Art. Some of the most striking specimens of Romanesque architecture, art and sculpture remain in the valley. One of the best collections in Europe of Romanesque wall paintings (The renovations of rooms relating to the Romanesque period are well worth a visit to the MNAC. New lighting along with new treatment of the mural paintings has brought the colors to life: the bright reds and deep greens attract attention to the works that depict religious scenes. With an almost cinematographic aff ect, the light draws attention to the restored areas in these marvelous apses where Christ with arte-romanoalmond eyes, the apostles, and allegorical animals like the lamb of Sant Climent de Taüll are depicted. There are times when it's hard to forget that these works aren't in the small churches in the Pyrenees from which they were removed in the 20th century.
There's the perceived scent of candle wax and incense thanks to the semi-darkness so that in this elegant architectural recreation we sense, for a few moments, that we are in a lateral nave or in front of a minor apse.
Other novelties are the audiovisuals that use original images from the recovery of the fresco paintings and illustrations of the complicated extraction work known as the Strappo technique.
Those who love details will be delighted: textured backgrounds of stucco with vegetable motifs, three dimensional tunics with tonal applications, tiny patterns in geometric forms on cloth so
that there appears to be the lost gazes of saints or the threats of devils.
And not only the paintings but also the carvings. There are the static virgins that appear monochrome except during the day when they look much better with color and decorations
of golden bread to presided over processions and liturgical theater performances. Next to them is the Majestad Batlló, a Christ figure on the cross whose gaze with a simple outline transmits a mix of resignation and sadness.
Not only for the theme but also for the characters, which also can be found in Santa María de Taüll, where Christ appears accompanied by the thief Dima, one of the nearly fl at sculptures that appears to be suspended in the air floating. After passing by a 3D reproduction, we learn about the detail of the façade of Santa María de Ripoll. With a remote control and special glasses, we can amplify certain areas by altering the lights and shadows to represent the different season and hour of the day.
In the exposed capitals of columns we can appreciate the brushstrokes of the past more immediately. There is the utilization of the Corinthian order or the presence of acanthus leaves carried out with varying levels of skill. What's clear is the strength of the decorative elements to serve as a medium to monumentalize and demonstrate a hierarchical position.
If care for detail was important in decorative architectural elements, this is clearest in the liturgical objects that are well displayed at the MNAC: relics, cups and various forms of incense holders. All of them are richly decorated with embossed copper and tiny enamels that leave one breathless. For instance, the decoration we find in the top of the room of the accommodation.) is stored in the Museum of Catalan Art in Barcelona (MNAC), and one of the main treasures of the museum is the mural depicting St. Clement of Taulu. Many murals were taken there from the small Pyrenean churches. These measures allowed ensured many valuable Romanesque frescoes did not fall into the hands of thieves or to be sold to foreigners.

Travelling by ALPSARAN



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