Museums of Mequinenza are located on the Aiguabarreig (literally, “mixing of waters”): a place where the Ebro, Segre and Cinca rivers meet. The Aguabarreig is one of the biggest river confluence of Europe and probably one of the most interesting from a natural, historical and cultural point of view.
The link between past, present and future in Mequinenza is the water as a source of life, prosperity but also as destruction. Our mission is to preserve, to study and to protect our natural and cultural heritage through our different spaces: Mine Museum of Mequinenza, History Museum of Mequinenza, Prehistoric Past Museum and Old Town of Mequinenza.
All the history of Mequinenza has been related to the water of the three rivers. Iberian, Roman, Visigothic and Islamic cultures settled in this space because of the rivers and their strategic position. With the Romans, the town started to function as a natural port, and the route was used as a commerce path from the Mediterranean Sea to the north of Spain.
Since ancient times, Ebro, Segre and Cinca rivers were used to transport everything and became part of the community’s life. During the Industrial Revolution, the rivers were used to transport coal in the “llauts”, peculiar riverboats constructed in Mequinenza and long more than 30 meters that could carry 30 tons of coal from the mines of Mequinenza that were close to the rivers.
The old Mequinenza was flooded by the waters of the rivers during the XX Century due to the construction of two dams aimed to produce electricity with the Ebro river. The village was trapped in the middle of two hydroelectric plants and was demolished in the 1970s. The inhabitants had to construct a completely new village a few kilometers far from the old one.
Museos de Mequinenza also aim to highlight the importance of the artistic legacy of the writer Jesús Moncada and all the tangible and intangible heritage related with the three rivers. They also contribute to develop the cultural identity of the town and strengthen its role as a pole of cultural and artistic attraction in the region, assuming a role for the sustainable development of the area.
If we speak about Mequinenza, we need to talk about its rivers. The village is located on the confluence of Ebro, Segre and Cinca rivers, which is considered the largest river confluence of the Iberian Peninsula and one of the largest in all Europe.
This natural enclave has marked the area both for its extraordinary natural biodiversity and for the historical importance of its waterways. Numerous cultures have lived around its river shores and the archaeological discoveries have shown that since prehistory, the water of Mequinenza were a source of life.
Born in 2010, Museos de Mequinenza collect the historical, cultural and natural heritage and legacy of Mequinenza through the point of view of the water of its rivers. For Mequinenza, the water have been its birth, its progress, its development and its splendor but also sometimes a tragic destiny.
The museums were designed to offer a complete and unique experience in Mequinenza: it is possible to discover a real coal mine, the millennial “Camí de Sirga” towpath, the historical and archeological sites, the natural biodiversity of the confluence, the dam construction and also the literary heritage of the local writer Jesús Moncada.
During the year and in addition to the guided tours, Museos de Mequinenza offers different activities related to history, heritage and water culture.
1. Digital Exhibition: “Miguel Ibarz, the simplicity of the avant-garde”
Museos de Mequinenza celebrate the centenary of the birth of the painter Miguel Ibarz with a virtual exhibition. Through a retrospective, the exhibition brings together the trajectories of this artist born in 1920 in Mequinenza.
His works are marked by the composition and the use of colors. Ibarz is included in the second avant-garde movements, with influences from cubism, fauvism and abstraction. During his final stage he included in his paintings the Mediterranean light, water and colors.
2. Digital Project: “Imágenes para la memoria”
“Imágenes para la memoria” is a visual and interactive map with more than 300 photographs of the Old Town of Mequinenza geolocated in the exact place where they were taken many years ago. This initiative arises from another project called “La memòria dels carrers” which aims to bring together the neighbours from the Old Town to collect memories, documents and photographs. The project will continue digitizing new documents with the aim of creating an open visual memory.