he Alt Urgell area covers 1,446.9 sq km -4.5% of Catalonia- and has more than 22,000 inhabitants, of whom 15% work in the agricultural sector, 23% in the industrial sector, 11% in the building construction sector, and the remaining 51% in the service sector.
L’Alt Urgell is situated to the northwestern side of Catalonia. In the North, presided over by the Pyrenean mountains, it is bordered by Andorra; in the East, by the lands of La Cerdanya, El Berguedà and El Solsonès; in the West, by El Pallars Sobirà, El Pallars Jussà, and in the South by La Noguera. The River Segre, coming from La Cerdanya, crosses the county lands in a long 46-km trajectory.
Taking advantage of the valley features, from Coll de Nargó to Oliana water is dammed in the Oliana reservoir. There is also the Rialb reservoir, situated in the southern edge of the county, between L’Alt Urgell and La Noguera. The southern part of L’Alt Urgell, between the two reservoirs, is the area on which CAN BOIX Hotel stands.
L’Alt Urgell’s location, surrounded by other counties, allows an easy access through a wide range of touristically interesting routes, today in perfect condition.
Hannibal stepped on the Segre Valley with his elephants on his way to Italy. Also Sertorius used the Segre route to enter Hispania from 83 to 82 BC, Julius Caesar also did this in the year 49 BC, on his way to Ilerda. Shortly before 789, these lands were part of the Urgell County. The first count of Urgell was Borrell. Then, after Ermengol X died without issue in 1314, the County was conferred to his niece Teresa d’Entença, a member of the Barcelona dynasty. The Urgell dynasty came to an end in 1413, when the county incorporated into the kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon.
This country has been inhabited from prehistoric times and crossed by numerous civilizations that have made of it an important migration route, an active place full of history. It has a rich archaeological and artistic heritage. Megalithic monuments are abundant, but a sparse presence of Roman and Visigothic art. Nevertheless, L’Alt Urgell and surrounding Pyrenean counties are one of the most significant Romanesque art areas in the world.
L’Alt Urgell offers a typical high mountain cuisine. It is a cooking style based on local products, where game, river trout, mushrooms, pork products and many other ingredients are used to cook escudella (Catalan thick soup), game stews, mushroom omelettes, pork products, agredolç (ham with honey and vinegar) or quince alioli sauce, amongst many other specialties. Modern recipes coexist with the most traditional ones. At present, the most typical products of the area are dairy products -cheese, butter and cream. Local craftsmen produce goat cheese and quality pork products including a wide range of traditional sausages, such as fuet, bulls, etc.
The county’s geographical situation and recently created facilities, due to a high demand of activities of this kind, make it a very popular area for the practice of adventure sports. Excursions by 4×4 vehicles or mountain bike, hiking, climbing, paragliding, bungee jumping or flights by hot-air balloon, for instance, are just a few of the different attractions of L’Alt Urgell, not to mention activities such as skiing or horse riding. Fishing and hunting are also very popular.
Cadí-Moixeró Nature Park
The Cadí-Moixeró Nature Park was founded in 1983. It comprises the Cadí and Moixeró mountain ranges, the Pedraforca massif and part of the Tosa d’Alp and Puigllançada ranges. It extends into three different areas: Berguedà, Alt Urgell and Cerdanya. The park’s total area is 41,342 ha, of which 12,592 are in the Alt Urgell area. The Cadí-Moixeró Nature Park’s vegetation is considered to be of great interest -and so is its fauna-, as its climatic conditions (low-temperature, high altitude and high-level of humidity) provide a habitat for species that are not typical in the Mediterranean.