The other day, we told you about how Picasso stayed for a while in Gósol, leaving us hundreds of works inspired by this village. Another artist of international significance who left his stamp on Berguedà was no other than Gaudí. However, he orbited around another Bergadan village, La Pobla de Lillet. There, he left us samples of his unmistakable architecture such as the Catllaràs Chalet and, specially, the Artigas Gardens.
Today, from Pedratour, we tell you about these magnificent gardens and the Asland cement factory. Two crumbs of history and culture from Berguedà, in a stunning location, connected by the lovely Train of Cement.
From the Artigas Gardens to the Cement Museum, aboard the Train of Cement
Our journey starts in the old train station of La Pobla de Lillet, in the village’s outskirts. There we’ll take the Train of Cement and, while waiting, we can admire a little exhibition on historical trains. The Train of Cement (Tren del Ciment, in Catalan) is the touristic train of La Pobla de Lillet. It recovers part of the old railway that used to connect the Asland cement factory and Guardiola de Berguedà, where it used to meet the line to Berga and Manresa.
Today, this lovely little train which delights children and adults equally leaves the station towards the factory, stopping at the centre of La Pobla de Lillet and at the Artigas Gardens. Thus, with a nice 3.5 km route, it shows us the amazing landscape of Alt Llobregat on one hand and, on the other, the two main cultural attractions of the area: the Artigas Gardens and the Cement Museum.
The Artigas Gardens: Gaudí’s wildest and less known work
To me, the Artigas Gardens are the wildest and most naturalistic of Gaudí’s creations. If Antoni Gaudí’s art is already known worldwide for fusing nature with architecture, the Artigas Gardens are, in my opinion, the ultimate expression of this tendency. And it’s surprising, since they’re the result of coincidence and spontaneity.
You see, in 1901, Eusebi Güell –yes, the one who paid for the Park Güell in Barcelona– founded the Asland Portland Cement & Asphalt Company and started to build the cement factory in Castellar de n’Hug. In this context, Güell commissioned Gaudí to design the Catllaràs Chalet to house the senior officers and engineers of the coal mines that nourished the factory.
During his stay in the Lillet Valley, Gaudí stayed in the home of the Artigas family. Out of gratitude for their hospitality, he gave them the design for a garden for a piece of land the family had: the Artigas Gardens. Spontaneously, Gaudí gave them an architectural masterpiece. Wild, as the gorge the Llobregat has excavated in the landscape. Romantic, as the song of the river and the sunlight shining through the riparian forest. Amazing, as the savage nature of the Pyrenees.
Built with the same stone that covers the gorge walls and with the same wood of the forest around, in the Artigas Gardens it’s hard to tell where the work of nature gives way to that of man. Is it the crag, embracing the arbour? Are the roots emerging and intertwining to build the bridge?
Nature and architecture fused in one in perfect harmony. A place of peaceful and captivating beauty. Gaudí’s less known work, and one of the musts in Alt Berguedà.
The Asland cement factory and the Cement Museum
From the Artigas Gardens, the Train of Cement takes us to the origin of the whole thing, the Asland cement factory. The old factory, climbing the hillside of Clot del Moro in the municipality of Castellar de n’Hug, houses the Cement Museum.
By itself, the factory is a significant, singular architectural work. It’s an imposing Modernist building with a spectacular structure since it’s built on terraces on the hillside, adapting to the slope. This allowed to take advantage of gravity for the cement production process.
Acknowledged as a historical monument of national interest, the factory complex is stunning. And the fact that it’s been turned into a museum allows us to visit its inside and to learn about the cement manufacturing process, as well as to discover the history of this fascinating industrial complex. It’s really worth it!
Book this fantastic experience for your organised group with Pedratour!
Choose your activities and take your group for a morning of leisure, nature, and culture in La Pobla de Lillet!