There is an amazing town in Catalonia, where no tourist has yet gotten lost in the endless maze of streets, squares and alleys. And this is not because this settlement has an ideal layout, but because it has only one street with two rows of houses that literally hang from the ridge of a cliff. So what had to happen for people to climb the steep cliffs, and even managed to build a full-fledged town?
Looking at pictures of a small Catalan town with a rather complicated and long name Castellfollit de la RocaI can't even believe that these pictures are real. A strange image of a narrow rocky "tongue", on which massive houses are pressed close to each other, seem to be just an illustration of some fairy tale, because this cannot be imagined in real life. But this is not a props or a photomontage, this is the most that neither is a real town, in which about 1 thousand inhabitants live to this day.
The history of this unusual in all respects place, located in the foothills of the Pyrenees, in the north-east of Catalonia (Spain), began more than 200 thousand years ago. This part of modern Spain is a fairly active natural area belonging to the volcanic region of La Garrocha. In this area, volcanic eruptions were quite common.
It was during this period that a powerful ejection of lava occurred, which with two incandescent streams made its way through the basalt rock, forming a narrow and long ridge with a length of a kilometer. Since then, at an altitude of 50 m, a small island of life has formed, and in the lower reaches, on both sides, the waters of the rivers Turunel and Fluvia have found themselves, which are washed by the steep walls of a small plateau.
Interesting fact: The region of La Garoccia is the territory of a natural park with 70 volcanoes. More than half of them are still in operation, from time to time spewing streams of hot mud.
Considering that at the beginning of our millennium the seizure of foreign territories was a fairly common thing, it was not surprising that this impregnable plateau was chosen for the foundation of a settlement. According to the authors of Novate.ru, historians found the first documentary mention of this amazing town in manuscripts dating back to 1193. Then Castellfollit de la Roca was already described as an impregnable fortress called Castellfollit, in which people lived, despite the rather limited space and the inability to have fields, land and pastures in close proximity to a dwelling.
As a rule, the peasants living at the foot hid in the fortress during the raids in order to protect their families from the warring neighbors. But over time, many have built houses there that seem to be "fused" with the rock, increasing its height by at least two floors. This is due to the fact that all houses are built of the same rock (basalt) as the rock itself. And on top of that, the backs of the houses are flush with the cliff edge, and sometimes slightly overhanging.
Since the width of the plateau on average reaches only 45 m, it was possible to place 2 rows of houses in the town with a narrow street in the middle, repeating the bends of the rock. The main "highway" of the city on the narrow edge of the cliff rests on the old church of St. Salvador, erected in the XIII century. This shrine was rebuilt several times, and not so much because of fires or military operations. So, for example, in 1428 a strong earthquake occurred in these places, as a result of which almost all houses and the church were destroyed as a result.And this was not the last fatal incident in her history.
Due to the constant rebuilding, we can see the temple with a square bell tower and a roof decorated with small pilasters, which is typical of the late Renaissance. Since 1657, the church has the appearance that we can observe now. This is perhaps the only significant attraction of Castellfollit de la Roca, not counting the fact that itself, as such, is a unique architectural monument.
Few cities have such extreme layout and planning. As local residents note, it also has a special climate that is not inherent in Spain itself. This is due to the landscape, the presence of a large amount of greenery and high humidity. Due to constant vapors, the cliff and the town are in a haze, but in very hot and dry weather it can be seen in all its glory. Although life itself in it is not as beautiful as nature and climate. It goes without saying that getting to this settlement is very difficult, because there is no public transport here, you need to have your own car.
The situation is no better for gardeners or amateur gardeners. In order to grow and harvest crops, they have to make a huge detour to cross the large bridge, which is located at the beginning of the plateau. This is the only thread with the outside world that allows you to cross the river and find yourself in a fertile valley. It was there that people laid out gardens, vineyards and orchards.
Since Castellfollit de la Roca is considered the most beautiful and unusual settlement in Spain, tourists flock to it. Although, as it turned out, enjoying the picturesque town is not so easy. But the ubiquitous travelers, despite the difficulties, still get to this unique town, although for this they have to use the services of a taxi or rent a car. But these costs are easily offset by the cost of staying in a hotel located at the foot of the cliff and food in local cafes and bars. Some have outdoor areas with stunning views of the valley, so visitors can enjoy a double experience.
Interesting fact: Despite the fact that the city is home to only about 1,000 people, there are many cafes, restaurants and bars on its territory. The oldest of them was discovered back in 1870.