The Balç Street reopens with some improvements in its urbanization and illumination
The action had a budget of 359,273 euros (VAT included) and consisted of the renovation of the service networks, the improvement of accessibility and the renovation of the pavement. With these works, sections of sewers and pavements from the 17th and 18th centuries have been identified and documented, some of which have been left visible to visitors. From 1 to 5 December, the visit of the street will be free.
The Mayor of Manresa, Marc Aloy Guàrdia, and the City Councilor for Tourism and City Projection, Joan Calmet Piqué, have announced this Wednesday the result of the works carried out in recent months to improve the urbanization of Balç Street, one of the jewels of the city's touristic and historical heritage, located in the Historic Center.
The intervention consisted in the removal of the existing pavement, the excavation and the construction of a new esplanade, the renovation of the sewer, water, electricity and telecommunications networks and, finally, the construction of a new pavement, made of stone of La Sénia and river pebble on mortar bed. All the lighting has also been renewed, with new light points highlighting the beauty of the street.
A total area of 479.31 m2 has been urbanized, at a cost of 359,273.62 euros (VAT included), of which 210,813 euros have been contributed by Manresa City Council and 148,461 euros by the European ERDF Funds.
Balç Street is an irregular and winding passage, with stepped sections adapted to the existing topography and with the presence of numerous covered sections. This last feature, generated by the presence of numerous porches built between the houses on both sides of the street - and which served to take advantage of the limited space inside the walled city - makes it a medieval street. almost unique in Catalonia.
In 1987, a major renovation was carried out on this medieval passageway, which renovated part of the pavement, the doors that close it and the public lighting to open it to the public. The construction and inauguration of the Balç Street Interpretation Center led to a new set of works that were completed in 2011.
Sections of pavement from the 17th and 18th centuries are recovered
With the urbanization works of Balç Street, sections of sewers and pavements have been identified and documented that can be dated between the 17th and 18th centuries, all of them in a rather fragmentary state.
Once documented, some of the remains that have been preserved have been covered by the new pavement, while others have been left uncovered and integrated into the work that has been done so that they can be seen by the visitor.
This is the case of a section of the 17th-18th century sewer that was in good condition, together with a fragment of pebble pavement that is delivered to it and that corresponds to the access of one of the buildings on the street. This set has been illuminated and protected with a railing to prevent accidents to visitors.
In addition, at the end of the street in the direction of Sobrerroca street and in the first alley we found in the interpretation center that goes down to Santa Llúcia street, part of the stone paving and part of the central alignment used as a drainage pipe cover of slabs have been preserved. These archeological remains have a modern chronology, between the 17th and 19th centuries.
The visit of the Balç Street is free from today until Sunday
With the completion of all the improvements, Balç Street is ready to resume its activity. It can be visited on Mondays, Sundays and public holidays from 10 am to 2 pm. Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
From today, Wednesday, to Sunday, December 5, you can visit it for free. After it the price of the general ticket will be 5.5 euros. The reduced ticket for retirees and children aged 8 to 16 will be 4.5 euros, while the entrance without the visit to the Interpretation Center will be 3 euros.
Manresa Turisme is already working to organize various dynamizing proposals. A medieval-themed Escape Room is scheduled to open this spring, which will be available every day and will be compatible with regular visits to the center. It is currently in the testing and design phase of the spaces.
Medicinal herbs workshops will also be scheduled, twice a year, during the winter and fall; theatrical and role-playing visits for families, scheduled for spring and summer, will be rescheduled; and Christmas workshops in December 2022.
The trace of a street from medieval times
Carrer del Balç is a place of great historical interest. This street must be located in the context of the medieval Manresa when the central nucleus of Puigcardener, due to the nature of its land, could not expand further. The city needed a fortification that would allow the development of the weekly market, the economic engine of medieval Manresa and give protection to the citizens. Due to this fact, the extension of the town around the market (now Plaça Major) was articulated and it was fortified by uniting the Puigmercadal with the Puigcardener. One of the limits of this wall was Carrer Sobrerroca, whose houses must have served as a wall before the city grew towards Carrer de Santa Llúcia, at which time Carrer del Balç appeared.
This whole sector of ancient Manresa is built on the natural rock, as indicated by the place names of the streets, such as Sobrerroca or Balç, which refer to the constructions on the rock and on a steep slope, as on a cliff. This would explain the narrow and winding layout of the street, adapted to the characteristics of the land.