It was only ten years after this strange death that Bishop Ermengol was venerated as a Saint by the same inhabitants of La Seu who had admired him while he was alive. For many years, the Fira de la Seu d’Urgell was held on 3rd November, the feast day of this patron Saint.View place of interest
1. The historic centre
Itinerary: The historic centre
We can choose to visit the Cathedral both inside and out. A good option is to start the visit inside, which you can enter with a joint admission to the cloister complex and visit the Church of Sant Miquel and the Diocesan Museum. It is worth mentioning the extraordinary dimensions of the interior of the Church, with its three naves, around which the interior space is organised, the height of which seem to be the forerunner to a height verticality that would not become common in Catalan churches until a century later. Also important are the cloister and the Church of Sant Miquel. From the cloister we can also access the Museu Diocesà d’Urgell the Diocesan museum, which is the city’s most important museum facility and which has a collection consisting of pieces from all the parishes from the bishopric of Urgell. The visit to the Diocesan Museum provides access to special areas such as the Church of la Piedad, covered by a delicate plateresque-style coffered ceiling. Within the Diocesan Museum one has to mention the Beatus of La Seu d’Urgell, a 10th century illuminated manuscript, with commentary on the Apocalypse by Beatus of Liébana, an amazing piece. Once outside the Cathedral complex, we can continue this itinerary following the outer perimeter of the Cathedral. We pass by the great hexahedronal tower to the north and set ourselves in front of the central apse, which represents the culmination of the architectural art that guided the construction of the complex. Due to its uniqueness, this is a good point to talk about the people who instigated the building of the current cathedral, essentially Bishop Ot, who sponsored its building, and Ramon Lambard, one of its master craftsmen and the best known due to the existence of a unique document setting out his contract. Starting with these characters we gain an understanding of the issues involved in building in the Romanesque period, the aesthetic criteria, the carving of stone in the first and in the second Romanesque and the construction techniques. The building of a cathedral was a very costly and complex project, which could extend over several generations and was subject to the effects of circumstances outside its construction. In the case of the Cathedral of La Seu, for example, the construction effort experienced the effects of the sacking and the destruction caused in the attack orchestrated by Count Ramon Roger de Foix in 1196, which brought about a sudden stop to the work.
Before proceeding, it is worth taking a look at the Parc del Cadí, from where we can admire the magnificent fertile landscape of La Seu, blending in with the nearby Parc del Segre and crowned by the mountains that give the park its name and which is a true symbol of the Urgell capital. On the opposite side of the apse of the old church of Sant Miquel, stands the old Church of La Mare de Déu dels Dolors, a building of large dimensions and a modest style from the 18th century, which has been recently restored to house the new, very modern premises of the Diocesan Chapter and Archive of La Seu d’Urgell, one of the most important archives in Catalonia due to the quality of the documentation it holds, the antiquity of which go back to the early days of the Carolingian domination.
A little further south is the large area of the Pati Palau, or Palace courtyard, which owes its name to the huge building of the Episcopal Palace, symbol of the power of the prelates of Urgell, which forms the eastern side of the large square. And we also find here, nestled modestly in a corner of the impressive Episcopal residence, the old courts’ building, on the façade of which there are several coats of arms of Kings and bishops which tell us that the date of its construction was towards the end of the 18th century. To continue with the discovery of the old town centre we go on from Carrer de Sant Roc to Carrer dels Canonges.