GERRI DE LA SAL MONASTERY OF SANTA MARIA
Some historians date the origin of Gerri back to Roman times, when the salt flats were already being exploited. However, the first documentary references that illustrate the existence of a salt exploitation date back to the 9th century, when the presbyter Espanell founded the monastery of Gerri on 20 June 807, originally dedicated to Sant Vicenç, and which over time, thanks to donations and purchases, became one of the main owners. In fact, several authors attribute the location of this Benedictine monastery in Gerri to the presence of the saltwater spring.
The current building of Santa Maria, consecrated on 25 September 1149, was built according to the usual outline of early medieval monastic buildings, although the foundational building would have been located in a small church of Visigothic origin not far from the current building, which is archaeologically documented. It was one of the richest monasteries in the Bisbat d'Urgell, and among its considerable and extensive heritage, the salt and salt mines, an essential element in medieval times, stand out.
During the modern age, the abbots of the monastery of Santa Maria continued to have their own salt mines among their possessions. With the decline of the monastery and the confiscations of the first half of the 19th century, the loss of its territorial domain also affected the salt possessions. Its history came to an end with the secularisation of 1835, which led to the disintegration of the resident community and its assets. Since 1970 the village of Gerri de la Sal and the monastery of Santa Maria de Gerri have been declared a picturesque spot, but it was not until 1995 that they were reclassified as a Cultural Asset of National Interest with the category of historical site and historical monument, respectively.
How to get there: On the N-260, just in front of the village of Gerri (free public car park) 25560 Gerri de la Sal (Baix Pallars).