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Point of heritage interest

The sanctuary of La Mare de Déu de la Font de la Salut

  • The sanctuary of La Mare de Déu de la Font de la Salut
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Description

Located at the height of 1,028 metres, the sanctuary offers spectacular views to the Vall d'Hostoles, the Vall d'en Bas, the Canigó, the Roses harbour and the Alta Garrotxa. The first chapel dates back to 1642, when Joan Carbonés set an image of the Virgin Mary inside a shelter cave below the Claperols stone, right next to a font with curative properties. Two years later, the first Salut chapel or hermitage was built. Later, in 1669, the sculptor Jeroni Mons built the altarpiece and in 1670 the Obra de la Salut. As its devotion rose, the chapel was expanded, as well as the hermit's house, which sheltered the devotees and pilgrims passing by. Therefore, between 1731 and 1750 a larger bell tower was constructed and the first lodging house, called Casa Vella or Casa de la Capella, was expanded until the end of the 18th century. From 1862 until 1868, the present Neoclassic church was modified. The resulting building has a single nave and its main façade is made of stone. Moreover, the guesthouse surrounds the hermitage on its three sides, except for the Neoclassic façade. At the end of the century, the sanctuary was closed and bricked up because of the Third Carlist War. Meanwhile, the interior decoration was finished with the stunning Neoclassic altarpiece. As for the old Barroque altarpiece, it was cut into pieces and placed in the niche, with the old image. However, when the Spanish Civil War started in 1936, the Anti-Fascist Committee from Salt destroyed the inside of the church and only the old Virgin was saved. Once the war ended, in 1939, the restoration work started. In 1975 the sanctuary lost its last priest and progressively started to deteriote until, in 1984, it was closed down due to its deplorable state. The restoration work did not start until 1993, and the sanctuary finally opened again in 1994. Five years later, the altarpiece was also restored.