Some of you may know (or suspect) that one of my writing projects is set in Fifteen Century Spain. The main character of my book, Andrés Daniel Cruz, cavorts in the Catalunya countryside visiting grand cathedrals and monasteries. Okay, maybe ‘cavort’ isn’t the right word, but he’s traveling about in a real place, during a very specific time period in Spain’s history. Though the book is based in a historic setting, it is by no means a historical novel. There’s a woman with bat wings in this story, soooo…yeah. Not a historical novel.
Even so, I still want to get some of the details right. In the past three years (going on four!), I’ve come to the realization that I can play with the distance between places, but Spain has such a rich history for medieval mayhem and cool architecture, there is absolutely no reason for me to make shit up. If I come to a point in the story that I need a sinister lord in a dark castle, I just march on over to Wikipedia and presto! I have several real-life bad-dudes to choose from. I tell you, my imagination can not outdo reality in 1492.
In my vicarious travels around Spain, I’ve found some very interesting websites. I thought I’d share a few. Intermittently in the coming months, I’ll post a website and summarize what sort of information you can gleam from its virtual pages. The first is one of my favorites. Enjoy!
Though this website is in Catalunya (not Spanish), Google will translate the page for you. It helps if you know Spanish. It is much easier to decipher the Cataluyna language if you know Spanish and use the Google translate to English to figure out an odd word or two. Better yet, Google Translate does a better job of going from Catalunya to Spanish. Either way, the amount of information on this site is phenomenal, and whatever language you use to peruse it, you will gain insight into the incredibly diverse monasteries in the Catalunya region of Spain (Barcelona region).
Another reason I like this site so much is that it is geographically organized (yes!). You can click-through the maps to the region you are interested in and drill down to specific locations. In a matter of minutes, you gain access to a quick run down of the history of, say, the obscure Priory of St. Mary Soler.
If nothing else, the pictures will inspire more research into the hearts and minds of so many that worked to create these monuments to the Christian faith.