The Priorat is located in the south of Catalonia, part of the province of New Catalonia, the territory occupied by the Moors until the twelfth century. Retains vestiges of past times that make us travel back in time, among the most distant Saracen stronghold of Siurana, capital of an extensive coundy with the same name, inside of which they found the remains of one of the oldest mosques in Catalonia. The Christian reconquest, initiated by King Ramon Berenguer IV, led to the construction of churches and monasteries in order to spread the new faith.
The church is a good example of Siurana, built in the twelfth century, is one of the few Romanesque churches that remain in southern Catalonia. Christianisation bequeathed us the most important monument of the region: the monastery of Santa Maria of Scala Dei. Founded in the late twelfth century, initially small, it was expanded and renovated over the centuries up to look like the neoclassical today we can discern.
The Priory of Scala was for centuries a powerful administration that often came into conflict with the house of Prades, gentlemen of most of the rest of the Priorat region. The counts of Prades erected the castle that dominates the town of Falset in the twelfth century, which went from family to family to get into the hands of the last gentlemen of the town, the Medinaceli. In the seventeenth century they builded his palace in the Quartera square (today’s Town Hall), one of the most beautiful places of Priorat, very close to where another noble family, the Azara, built his residence (current headquarters of the Regional Council of the Priorat). The beautiful fronts of those buildings are testominis of that splendor
The industrialization of the nineteenth century in Catalonia came modestly to Priorat. The mining basin Siurana, has left us a complex mining-metal metalworker, the most important country in the town of Bellmunt. The air of modernity and avant-garde trends of the early twentieth century, along with the cooperative movement, left the track as relevant architects Cesar Martinell, a disciple of Gaudí. Father of rural Modernism and architect of the wine cathedrals, specifically in Priorat, he designed the wine cellars of Falset and Cornudella de Montsant.