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Pinell de Brai, town of generous and solidary people

I felt a medieval traveler arriving from Gandesa, along the Via Edetària, the remains of the Roman road that had been destroyed a thousand years ago, and in sight of the Pinell, I saw a tower on top of a promontory of enchanting rocks, both of their defenses, and the fortified walls that excavate the core of the city, the bell tower of the seva Romanesque church, which disappeared in the 16th century. It would be a bucolic view that hadnt passed through the narrow path between Pàndols and Cavalls, both continuous turns and pronounced slopes, running parallel to the river that neix Puig Cavaller, passing through the Fonteta and the Puntal de l’Os and up to les plainures del poble, at Venta de Leandro, and fa cap al riu Ebre. Tot would be rodejat de bosco d’alzines for disappearances and, because of the clapes treballades, he would see the peasants trafegant i llaurant les terres i els pastors grazing els ramats de cabres blanques i d’ovelles. A very different image from the current one with the enchanted rocks but, in the foreground, dominates the splendid building of the cooperative cell, the Cathedral of Vi, built by Cèsar Martinell in 1918, avoi pride dels pinellans i pinellanes, i of the entire territory of Terres de l’Ebre for being one of the most emblematic and visited buildings in Catalonia.

The ilercavons, protohistoric inhabitants of Pinell, at the eastern limit of the seu terme, between Pàndols and Cavalls, partien amb els edetants, who are facing Gandesa and Baix Aragó. It remains on record that the Arabs built the hussun –the castell– as it is based on the Letter of Donation of Count Ramon Berenguer IV, to the Order of the Temple, on which the toponym Pinell appears, dins the territoris of the Castell de Miravet. Their Andalusian inhabitants will continue to trek on the land and graze on the ramats.

The year 1198 is the sign of the first Carta de Poblament and nou any later than the second, as well as the particularity that their inhabitants have to contribute to the Lord a quarter of the game, the sengular, the deer and the Hispanic goat that proves the importance it had in medieval times. It should be noted that King Carles III will distinguish the village with the attribute of Fidelissima, in 1766, because of the adjustment that will be made to his father Felip V during the War of Succession. A few years later, during the French War, General Souchet, because of the friendship between him and the mayor of the town, Francesc de Montagut, will give a altar to the church. During the long civil war, the urban area was practically destroyed by the bombings of the German and Italian aviation that fought in favor of General Franco, during the Battle of l’Ebre.

A particularity to expound on their inhabitants is generosity and solidarity. Regent in l’esperit popular la gransa of being the poble amb més donants de sang en tant per cent de Catalunya; tots els inhabitants vàlids s’hi aboquen solidàriament. There are also abundant contributions to Càritas, or social works of all men, without being economically rich but socially. For these reasons, the population deprived of drinking water, will build in 1927 a water reservoir from the Font del Broi to channel the fins to the fountain on the coast of the church on the people of Anava to look for both càntirs per al consum familiar, amb l’esforç i jornals de vila dels seus inhabitants. Also because of this availability it will be the first municipal terme of Terra Alta that is going to irrigate both the waters of l’Ebre, thanks to the desire to improve the agricultural productions and the life of the peasants.

But the most important work will be the Cathedral of Vi. Fourteen families are going to start the project in 1916, thanks to the help that comes from the Mancomunitat and the predisposition of the rest of the veïns.

The project of the Agricultural Union, with its batejà, was executed by the architect Cèsar Martinell, Gaudí’s deceiver. I am still going to have the ceramic ornamentation of the frieze that adorns the 45-meter-long facade, the work of Xavier Nogués, both al·legòrics drawn by veremadors, caçadors and oliers. Due to economic difficulties, it is not going to be possible to finish the water deposit, cylindrical, supported on pillars and covered with ribs of different colors that have been donated more to the modernist work. Avui remains a jewel of Catalan modernism.

El Pinell is also a town of culture. Since 1995 Fatumer magazine is published. The graduate in Geography and History, Antònia Serres, the soul of this publication, has complemented the local history with a set of books that will be a preuat instrument, the knowledge of the life of Pinellan darrers two-cents years. Onomastics, the faiths of the people, the industries, the exiles, histories, the destruction of war and photographic images. Culture animated by a landscape full of licients with the Historical Memory, the Via Verda or the Canaletes river. It is worth visiting this town of the Cathedral of Vi, with good restoration and many things per year.

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