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Beam heads – The wooden sentries of Solsona

We invite you to discover the history of beam heads, the wooden sentries that watch over from the roofs of the houses of Solsona.

Strolling through the solemn old town, we realize that splayed eyes spit on us from the heights, most of them are characters with grotesque faces. We propose you a route to locate them in less than an hour.

Beam heads are carved, large-sized faces, which are part of the structural beams that support the roofs and decorate the lateral end of the beam in some historic Solonin houses. In some cases, the ceiling beams of balconies or tribunes culminate. The façade of the houses has been a rejection of the idiosyncrasy of its inhabitants.

The appearance of the balcony as a substitute for the orchestra showed the desire to occupy the urban space and reflects the social position in a population of estates. Thus, the appearance of sculpted beam heads can be attributed to a desire to ostentate families. The oldest ones are found on the porches of Ca l’Aguilar, in the Plaza Mayor (dating from the 15th century). Later (1756) are the baroque elements of the house of the Morató sculptor’s estate (where the library is currently located).

Citizens’ sensitivity to the preservation of heritage led to the twentieth century the beautification of facades, adapting beam heads as a constructive visual solution to the houses that were reformed. Most of it is the work of the sculptor Manel Casserras i Boix (1929-1996), best known as a giant artist and author of a large part of the giants of Catalonia. Beam heads have been a distinctive element of the popular Solonin architecture, of uncertain origins.

Popular rumorology says that they aimed to scare evil spirits. Why, if not, would these faces be scary? This itinerary through the historic center makes up about twenty points.

On the right, you can see the beam head we have at Hotel la Freixera. We invite you to come and see him personally!

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Below we show you the itinerary you can do to find all beam heads, will you be able to find them all?

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Itinerary:

  1. Start of the route. Just before entering the bridge portal we can see it again.
  2. We find a trio of guardians.
  3. We enter the Museum D.C., where at the entrance there is an 18th century head, formerly located on the roof of the cathedral.
  4. In the Plaza Mayor, under the arcades of Ca l’Aguilar, there are the oldest ones in Solsona (15th century).
  5. Here we can see five.
  6. In the house of August Font, a native architect of Solsona and the author of the chamber of the Cloister and the dome of the cathedral of Barcelona, there is a noble and serene look, carved in accordance with classical canons.
  7. You have to leave the portal and look up: will it be a king?
  8. One of the three heads reminds us of one of the crazy giants of Carnival. Do you know what?
  9. We face some jewels of the Baroque, surely built by the same sculptor Carles Morató in 1756 – author of the colossal altarpiece of the sanctuary of the Miracle -, which denote a great sculptural mastery. Restored in 2011, they have markedly baroque formal features: caricatured shapes and with a tendency to grotesque, realistic details, such as the curls of beards or whiskers, the teeth, the neck of the time …
  10. Below the bell tower there are three small dimensions.

11. We stop at the studio where the artist Mayra D’Amore has painted some of the solomon beam heads. Open Saturdays in the afternoon and Sundays in the morning (for more information: 617 443 330).

12 and 13. Tremendously grotesque, with mouth, nose and disproportionate ears, there are beam heads that guard the most emblematic place of Solsona. In the center, there is the Major, gothic fountain, with gargoyles and stone lions.

14. Before leaving the square, we find another baroque, probably from the time of construction of the house, but it is from 1876 or 1860? how slow are we doing?

15. These are the most recent, of the 21st century. Curiously, one of them is the only polychrome specimen in Solsona.

16. Now we have the opportunity to see them closely and appreciate the details.

17. Here we look at it behind the glass of the hotel La Freixera, taken from the cover of the house located on Carrer de la Regata, no. 3. Its appearance is attributed to the Baroque.

18. Next to the other we observe three more.

19. About to complete the route, we appreciate here four more.

20. And finally, animal forms that honor the name of the street.

We hope you like the route.

For more information, go through the Tourist Office or visit its website: www.solsonaturisme.com