Templar Castle of Gardeny
During the second half of the 12th century the Order of the Temple erected a monastery complex on the strategic hill of Gardeny. These heights, used prior to the modern era as the base for military operations, were visited by such brilliant strategists as Julius Caesar himself in his battle with Pompey's allies Afranius and Petreus, who were based in Ilerda in 49 BC.
During the 17th and 18th centuries the former mediaeval complex was expanded and transformed into a new military fortress, the design of which fulfilled the defensive requirements imposed by the introduction of artillery: curtain walls flanked by bastions and surrounded by open spaces, moats and containing ramparts. The current appearance of this monumental complex represents the remains of what was once an imposing fortification.
The Castle of Gardeny - together with those of Miravet, Montsó, Penyíscola and the city of Tortosa - forms a part of the Templar route 'Domus Templi'. This journey through time reveals much of the Templar heritage and legacy of the former Crown of Aragon.
The Templar House of de Gardeny (C. 12th-14th)
With the conquest of the city of Lleida in 1149, the Templars received various properties in compensation for their assistance during the siege, including Gardeny Hill. The earliest reference to the Gardeny Command dates from 1156, the first commander being listed as Brother Pere de Cartellà, a figure who had been actively involved in the city siege.
Thanks to the numerous contributions made in the main by petty noblemen, the House of Gardeny ultimately built up extensive properties.
In order to administer the various sectors which had been built, it soon became necessary to establish new administrative positions and found new commands, including Corbins and Barbens.
As a result of this growth, towards the 13th century the House of Gardeny became one of the key decision-making centres of the Crown of Aragon.
The Gardeny monumental complex
The Gardeny monumental complex is one of the key examples of Templar architecture erected in Catalonia during the second half of the 12th century. Although substantial modifications were made between the 17th and 18th centuries, altering the former appearance of the mediaeval complex, numerous traces of the sovereign compound still remain. An area marked off by a perimeter wall and flanked by towers, inside which there was an arrangement of different buildings structured around a central courtyard.
These buildings included in particular the residential tower, a solid two-storey construction which housed a number of different premises: storage areas, residential areas and the tower of homage.
Other key features included the Romanesque church of Santa Maria de Gardeny, a landmark building inspiring considerable devotion at the time.
Order of the Temple Visitor Centre
When, in spring 1149, the Count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer IV, began his siege of the Moslem city of Lleida from Gardeny Hill itself, he enjoyed the support of the Templar militia, who provided military detachments. Once the city had been conquered, in thanks for their involvement the Count himself granted the militia various properties, including Gardeny Hill itself.
Now, more than 800 years later, we can discover what the Templar House of Gardeny was like. We have the chance to explore and relive the ideals of the Order of the Temple, and how the monastic militia lived.
Thanks to this new centre, the Lleida Tourist Board provides local residents and visitors alike with a sample of the history of the city, in an educational and accessible format. Information panels, audiovisuals and explanatory exhibits recreate the life of the military and religious order.
The centre also features an information office and tourist services.
Domus Templi (The houses of the Temple) wants to offer the visitor the possibility of knowing in situ the Templars' footprint in the Crown of Aragon.
Templar by day
Address: Turó de Gardeny, s/n - Lleida
Tel. 973 271 942
December, January and February: Closed
12 September to 30 November and 1 March to 23 June
- Monday to Friday: Closed
- Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 10.00 to 13.30h
24 June to 11 September
- Tuesday to Sunday and publid holidays from 10.00 to 14.00h
Closed on Mondays.
*** ticket office closes 30’ before closing time of the Castle
Standard entry fee: €2.60
Reduced rate: €1.60. Groups (from 10 to 30 people), pensioners (pension card), young people aged 7 to 21, youth cardholders, student cardholders, large family cardholders, tour operators (blocks of 150 tickets), Lleida Puppet Centre Audience Association cardholders, Friends of the Old Cathedral, Ateneu Popular de Ponent members, APTALC members
Free for: Children aged 0 to 6, over 65s, people with physical or mental disability, school and university groups during school time accompanied by a teacher, Lleida Tourist Board promotional and marketing initiatives, Emocity, 'Aprofita els 18' ticket - city council youth department, official tourist guides, teaching cardholders, tourist bus users, Tr3sC cardholders, language pairings, Club Súper3, cardholders Lleida Public Library.
Groups and parties can visit the Templar Castle during the week, but must book in advance with the Lleida Tourist Board.