Nestled in the Vall de Boí in Spain’s Catalonian Pyrenees, the Hermitage of Sant Quirc is part of a remarkable group of Romanesque churches built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The churches are scattered throughout seven rural villages that have been continuously occupied since the Middle Ages. The Hermitage of Sant Quirc is located in the small village of Durro at a height of 1,500 meters, overlooking the Boi Valley. The twelfth-century chapel has a single nave and apse with a stone belfry; in its interior was originally decorated by a polychrome Romanesque altar depicting Sait Quirce and Saint Julita, now kept in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. The chapel’s isolated location exposes the structure to adverse environmental erosion. Rain and snow make for the con-tinuous degradation of the masonry walls and the roof.
How We Helped
World Monuments Fund became involved with Sant Quirc in 1997 and supported conservation work through the Robert W. Wilson Challenge for Conserving Our Heritage. The structure’s walls and roof were weakened from extreme weather patterns, and the church was in danger of collapsing. A team of experts carried out emergency stabilization and conservation work to successfully restore the chapel. To celebrate the completion of this work and the continuing appreciation for the site, a dedication ceremony was held at the Hermitage of Sant Quirc on June 16, 1998.
Why It Matters
The conservation of Sant Quirc proved particularly important for preserving the legacy of Romanesque churches in the area. The group of Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. These remarkable churches have survived over 800 years and continue to be used today.