The small village of Beget, in Girona, is located in the municipality of Camprodón del Ripollés; although geographically it is in the Alta Garrocha region. Until 1969 it was its own municipality. The beautiful village of Beget in Catalonia is located at the beginning of the river Llierca, constituting a postcard image.
As if it were still in the Middle Ages, the village of Beget retains much of this charm. Although it is practically a tourist town, it is not overcrowded, as its access entails some knowledge of the place. Beget lived its great splendour in 1860, when it reached 1,360 inhabitants. Nowadays, a little more than 20 people live in Beget all year round; the rest of them have it as their holiday home. However, the medieval stone buildings remain frozen in time, giving visitors the opportunity to discover the town’s history.
Walking around Beget is not only enjoying its beautiful houses; but also the centenary squares, the narrow streets that seem to narrow at every step, the Romanesque church or its medieval bridges.
Beget’s evolution in time
The origins of Beget go back to the Middle Ages; with evidences of its presence as a parish since 1168. From the 10th to the 13th century the life of the town evolved around the Church of San Cristóbal. In the past, the municipality of Beget included the towns of Bestracà, Rocabruna and Salarsa.
At the end of the 19th century it had more than 1,300 inhabitants, which is remarkable with the little more than 20 people of today. Although administratively it belongs to Camprodón, it is located between the first slopes of the Pyrenees and the Alta Garrotxa, recognized as an Area of Natural Interest.
Architecture of the houses
The centre of interest in Beget is made up of three districts separated from each other by two streams and linked by two bridges. The most characteristic building of the village is the church of San Cristóbal, in whose surroundings is the oldest area of Beget. Through the bridge of Beget, of the XIV century, you reach a second zone in which the way of France and the one of the Fountain merge in a small square. From here you can see the clock tower and the new bridge built over the Trull stream in 1940, after the previous one was destroyed in a flood. Passing this bridge you will reach the newest area of Beget, with buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.
As for the architecture of the houses in Beget, its stone masonry walls should be highlighted. The oldest ones are made with lime and mud mortar and the newest ones with hydraulic agglomerate mortar. Lintels and jambs of windows and doors are made of chopped stone or wood. The roofs of the houses are made of Arabic tiles.
With the course of time, some modifications and reforms became necessary, although they did not alter the traditional layout of the buildings until the 18th century. However, between the end of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th century some changes were introduced; such as the wooden eaves and the balconies.
The latest buildings followed more eclectic designs, with iron railings and balconies, decorated facades and flat roofs.
Church of San Cristóbal de Beget
The church of San Cristóbal de Beget has a very characteristic Catalan Romanesque style. It has been declared an Asset of National Interest and is in the Inventory of Architectural Heritage of Catalonia. The construction of the church was carried out between the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century. From the outside of the church, the access portal, which is topped by five archivolts, and the bell tower, which is over 20 metres high, are striking.
As for the interior, it should be noted that the church of San Cristóbal de Beget is a temple with a single nave, covered by a barrel vault. The walls are decorated with rich paintings: the transverse arches and the vaults emulate Romanesque paintings and those of the triumphal arch and the nave were made at the end of the 19th century.
These are three of the most valued elements of the church. On the one hand, the carving of Christ in Majesty, from the 12th century and more than two metres high. On the other hand, the large Romanesque baptismal font, 120 cm in diameter, also from the 12th century. Finally, the image of the Virgen de la Salud, from the 14th century.
Attached to the south side is the bell tower, with four floors separated by friezes. It has a height of 22 metres. It is a good example of Lombard Romanesque. Some historians point out that both the ground floor and the first floor belong to a previous temple from the 10th century.
The first floor has two levels of superimposed windows and the two upper bodies are larger, with a more regular construction. Lombard arches adorn the third floor.
In the village there are two medieval bridges that cross the river at different points. First, the bridge from the 14th century and which leads to the main part of Beget, where the church is located.
Secondly, the new bridge that is located above the stream of the Trull. It is considered as a new bridge because it replaces the old one that was knocked down in a flood. It was built in the 40’s. Through it you can reach the newest part of the village.
In addition to its cobbled streets and charming church, Beget’s surroundings are another of its strengths. Lovers of mountain biking and hikers visit the town when they go on a tour. Moreover, it is the starting and finishing point of trips and routes, such as those that end in Setcases, Prats de Molló or Olot.
In the hottest months the weather invites you to take a dip in the surrounding gorges, surrounded by nature, like the Salarsa stream. Meanwhile, during the autumn and winter seasons it is common to go through its forests to capture the best mushrooms.