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Santa Maria de l'Alba by Josep Giribet

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Josep Giribet Josep Giribet
Explore score
0.08 Gigapixels
Date added
Sep 06, 2011
Date taken
Sep 06, 2011

The Santa Maria de l'Alba (Saint Mary of the Dawn) parochial church is located near the center of the town of Tàrrega and can be seen in detail from our roof terrace. Nearly seven centuries ago a small romanic-gothic church occupied the same spot. Later, on the gothic period a whole new church was built, sporting a great bell tower. In 1672 though, the bell tower fell down, quite close to where the photo was taken. Thus along the eighteenth century a new building and bell tower were built, which remain to this day.

The church has the common cruciform ground plan. From this point of view the bell tower can be clearly seen and supporting it, the central octogonal structure that houses the dome with stained glass windows along the sides. The other smaller towers provide sunlight to tiny chapels around the sides of the nave. One of the towers though is quite singular and its original purpose not so well known. The slightly bigger tower with small windows that can be seen on the photo was called the 'conjuring tower' (in Catalan 'comunidor'), where exorcisms and rituals were performed to keep plagues, storms away and in general any ills that might strike the community. The priest used to stand inside the tower and read from the ritual book, actually an original from the Urgell region (where the church is located) can be read at google books:

books.google.es/books?id=lVzQgw8vadoC&dq=rituale%20ecclesiae&pg=PA340#v=onepage&q&f=false Will open in a new tab or window
So it is quite likely this book was used in this very tower. Quite remarkable the permanence of such medieval rituals that probably predate Christian times.

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