GR171, etapa 11: la Figuera - Ermita de Sant Jeroni
The coach will drop us off on the road coming from Mora d’Ebre, only 1 km away from the Sant Jeroni Sanctuary, the place where we finished the previous stage (256 m). At this point we meet the GR 171 which we follow gently down towards the Roians valley. On our left, we leave the Chies valley path whilst the GR continues along the main trail leaving behind secondary trails and farmhouses on both sides.
We then cross the Perlas ravine where we find a new trail intersection. Further ahead, we pass through two spectacular cut rock faces and the Barranc del Esperanceta ravine. Ahead of us, close to the village of García to where we are headed, we can see the Ebro river in all its majestic and mighty glory. The GR now goes down through the Barranc de Roians and underneath a train track. On the left is the route that branches off towards the Garcia barge crossing. We finally arrive at the Ebro river (70 m). It is possible to cross the Ebro using the famous boat pass which is a deviation of the GR 171. However, the main GR markers go over the Ebro along the pedestrian walkway over the railway bridge.
Once on the other side of the Ebro, we cross one of its tributaries, the Siurana river, over the bridge on the C-230 road. We enter the town of Garcia along the Avinguda de la Ribera (70 m). The name of the town, which was built on top of an Iberian settlement, is curious indeed and seems to derive from the Arabic word “carce” which was documented in 1153. At the highest part of the city stand the remains of the Parish Church (Natividad de María), destroyed during the Civil War.
We continue along the GR taking the roads Carrer del Centre, Carrer Mayor and Plaça Catalunya before finally leaving by Carrer de la Gatera. We pass the García cemetery, on the left, and continue along the trail that leads to the Barranc del Rec de Bas. We find various forks in our path, but we continue in a north-east direction, arriving at the ravine’s river bed which we cross in about 250 m.
We come out on the Garcia road which will lead us to the village of El Molar. On the left pass the Mas de Pinyol and Mas del Severino farmhouses before entering the village of El Molar (250 m), situated in the valley of the Siurana river, in the Priorat District. The Sant Roc Parish Church is built in a neoclassical style. The first Hallstatt archeological site in Catalonia was found in this village in 1930 comprising of a settlement and the necropolis. We leave El Molar by the Camí de les Mines path, where we find the abandoned facilities of various mines. We cross the T-730 road from El Molar to El Lloar and pass by the ruins of the ancient Joaneta farmhouse, to the left of the Barranc dels Tortells ravine.
We follow the path, gradually ascending, before passing under a high voltage power line with an access point to various antennas to our left. The GR continues to climb before arriving at the Priorato de la Serra de la Higuera’s lookout point, from where we can enjoy a panorama that includes the villages of Morera de Montsant, La Vilella Alta, La Vilella Baixa, Torroja and the Serra de Montsant and Serra de Prades mountain ranges.
We finally arrive at the village called La Figuera (575 m). We pass by the local cemetery and enter the town via Carrer del Fossar Vell and Plaça de la Villa [Town Square]. La Figuera, part of the Priorat district, is situated high up with excellent vistas. It was a walled and fortified town and still conserves some stretches of wall. The Sant Martí Parish Church, dating from the 18th century, the castle is a large-scale construction built on the highest point of the town above the castle. 1 km to the northeast of the village is the Sant Pere chapel at 635 m above sea level.