BRANCHES OF THE ECOMUSEUM
Despite being a small geographical area, the Moianès region reflects all the economical activities and pre-industrial processes that the country went through in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and we can learn about it in a rounder and more comprehensive way through the Ecomuseum with its 300 km2:
– 10 radial spaces that can be museumized. Each of them will be located in a town within the Moianès region and will represent a different theme within the pre-industrial period of the area.
– More than 100 places open to visitors where one can see the different aspects of the social and economic history and of the pre-industrial activities of the area.
The main areas which form the thematic strand of the different branches and configure the Ecomuseum are:
For centuries, the forest has been the basis of traditional economy. More than sixty different trades have derived from this activity. In the branch museum of Castellcir, we can learn about some of these trades and in turn, we can discover the self-sufficiency of a very unique house: the Esplugues house: wood, coal, mushrooms, medicinal plants, preservation of food, etc. The aim of this branch is to show the different ways of exploiting the forest.
– Esplugues, located in the outskirts of Castellcir, can already be visited.
Water is still one of the main sources of power. Despite its small and irregular rivers, in Catalonia these resources have all been fully exploited. In the branch museum of Calders, located in the company town Jorba, one can see the transformation from the pre-industrial exploitation (mills, tanneries…) to the more modern world (electricity generation, company towns…).
One of the most original transformations of water in the pre-industrial period was turning it into ice. The Moianès region has historically been the most important region in the Mediterranean devoted to this activity, both for its volume and social impact. Castellterçol, in particular, was the town responsible for the sale and production of ice. And it is here where we still can see the greatest number of ice wells, pools, loaders, etc.
The ice production acquired a great importance in the Moianès region, due to its climate and its proximity to Barcelona. During the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, many ice wells were built. These wells, called “pou” or “poua de glaç” in Catalan, are generally cylindrical cavities topped by oval domes, made of stones or bricks. They were built beside the rivers and, during the cold season (from the end of December to mid February), they were filled with ice, alternating layers of ice and some insulating material such as hay, which also helped to keep the layers separated. The main customers were fishmonger’s shops, hospitals, chemist’s shops and ice cream manufacturers. The ice industry created around the well employed a large number of workers in the winter season, when agricultural work and ice well employment added up. In the region of Moianès there are about fifty ice wells and, despite not being currently in use, their restoration is of great archaeological interest. In this centre, we can visit the Poues de la Ginebreda, go into ice well number 3, recently restored and part of the Ecomuseum. We can also learn what it looked like, how people worked, sold the ice… or visit the chapel of Sant Gaietà, dedicated to the only Guild of ice well workers that has ever existed in Catalonia.
In this branch of Ecomuseum, located on the road from Moià to Castellterçol, you can visit ice well number 3.
Water and soil are the most usual and necessary elements in the pre-industrial society. Its mixture makes it possible to handle and transform soil into an essential material. In the branch of Sant Quirze Safaja, we can see the traditional manufacturing of tiles, roof tiles, clay bricks and the way a tile factory worked.
Another element intensively used in Catalonia before industrialization was the stone. In the branch museum of Monistrol, we can to learn about the technical and historical quarry exploitation, discover the cold stone traditional technique (huts, dry stone walling, wells, etc.) and get to know about its use according to its origins and features.
Mills were the basis of the pre-industrial industry because it was there where people had to make business deals and where most of the social and communication interaction occurred, and also bearing in mind that mills preserved the oldest technical traditions. In Moià we can learn about traditional water mills and their working order, along with the mill worker’s job, and the products manufactured. There is also information about the currently preserved mills which can be visited, as well as about the transition from water mills to modern industrial flour mills.
Catalonia has always been a country with a remarkable textile industry. In the past, farmers also used to carry out activities related to the pre-industrial textile manufacturing, mainly cultivation and spinning of flax and hemp. The Santa Maria d’Oló branch museum exhibits these household textile activities, and particularly the transition to modern cotton textile industry.
In any period of history, societies have had the need to travel and communicate. In the pre-industrial period, this need grew considerably with the establishment of economic and social relations which were essential for the ensuing development. In Collsuspina, the visitor will discover how the village itself developed around the highroad, what this kind of road was like, how important inns were, what the means of communication were, what jobs were generated by the vicinity of the highroad, which later became a main road.
In l’Estany, with its magnificent and unique Romanesque monastery, the visitor will be able to discover the connection between man and earth, by means of the intervention of the Church. The economic power relies on the control of the resources and means of production. The village, which takes its name after a lake, preserves important architectural remains which allow the visitor to find out and appreciate these conditions and, as a whole, what the force of the elements was and who was in control of them.
In L’Estany we can visit the monastery and the mines
In traditional economies, the full use of all the resources was essential in order to survive. While in other branches of the Ecomuseum we can learn about the use of resources from forest, soil, water, etc., in Granera we will discover about all the occupations and activities related to the exploitation of regional animal resources: from grazing animals, to game hunting, fishing and the use of leather and animal horn, bearing in mind the distinctive grazing, hunting and fishing methods that were used.
Més informació dels LLOCS VISITABLES DE L’ECOMUSEU
The Moianès Ecomuseum groups the 10 towns. The aim of this project is to offer, from the 10 museum branches or theme museums, more than 100 places to be visited related to the pre-industrial activities, all unique and typical of the Moianès: ice wells, lime kilns, wells, quarries, tile factories, vats, coal bunkers, paths, etc. and also their contribution towards modern industrialization. The central part of the Moianès Ecomuseum project is the diffusion and restoration of the heritage of the region.
The organisation of routes, exhibitions, meetings, research, museumized spaces, the publication of guidebooks and other written material make it possible to show the values on which this project is based. Likewise, the diffusion of the heritage also fosters a new choice of cultural tourist activities and increases and complements the assets for this ambitious territorial project. A project for a unique area with its own well-defined features.
As a whole, the Ecomuseum thematic strand is looking back at the past, on the 18th and 20th century Moianès, to observe and learn about their lifestyle, their ways and means of producing; in other words, their everyday way of life.