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The Formós Castle

The Formós Castle · Hotel Santuari · Balaguer

The Formós castle

Balaguer Castle has been known as Castell Formós since the late Middle Ages.

We know the date of foundation thanks to the historian Ibn Hayyan, who collects the story of Isa b. Ahmad al-Rasi regarding the events that take place in the Upper Mark of Al-Andalus in 284 of the Hegira (897-898 AD), in the month of Ramadan (October 897 AD), began Lubb b. Muhammad the construction of hisn Balagares (castle of Balaguer), in the districts of the distant Lleida.

In the middle of the 11th century, a palace was built inside which was decorated with refined atauriques made of plaster and polychrome. The main decorative program is based on plant and geometric motifs, but epigraphic friezes are also developed where fragments of the al-Qur'an are read and zoomorphic motifs such as a harpy with hands or a bird.

We know little about the distribution of the palace's rooms, unless a pool would irrigate a landscaped area near a gallery of polylobed and profusely decorated arches that would look toward the Segre River area.


With the conquest of the early twelfth century, the Counts of Urgell occupied the old palace and turned it into their residence. In the fourteenth century, major renovations were carried out that involved the conversion of the entire northern area into a large garden irrigated by ceramic water canals built from tiles and tiles made by Moorish artisans in Manises-Paterna, which gave the new spaces an air of stylistic continuity with the old Andalusian palace.

The castle of Balaguer was destroyed in 1413 following the war between the last count of Urgell Jaume II the Unfortunate and King Fernando I of Antequera.

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