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Pirates and corsairs that have marked the history of Salou

Back cover of "Els pirates de Salou"

Salou. Costa Dorada. 14 October 2023.
If you come on vacation or to enjoy a getaway to Salou you will discover a modern and cozy city, with all the services needed. But behind this current image, Salou has a rich and exciting historical past, which dates back to the 3rd century BC, although without a doubt one of the stages that has marked the most the history of Salou is related to the pirates and corsairs who attacked the coast. of the municipality for 400 years.

“Els pirates de Salou” is a book published by the Salou City Council with illustrations by Pilarín Bayés, which brings this part of the history of the Costa Dorada’s capital to the whole family. With a list of more than one hundred notes or historical stories, the work explains in an entertaining way the main characteristics of piracy; why Salou was one of the favourite victims of pirates and corsairs; the vestiges that remain from that time, and many anecdotes about the life of these sea bandits that have little to do with the imaginary constructed in the films.

For example, we know that most pirates did not know how to swim, and that they embarked only to attack and plunder the coast because at first the boats were smaller and they could not live on them. Another curiosity is that many wore an eyepatch, but not because they were missing an eye but to have better aim!

The first pirate attack

In addition to these and other anecdotes, “Els pirates de Salou” explains that the first documented pirate attack on Salou was in 1354, but surely, they had already occurred before this date. We also know that the pirates completely destroyed Salou, which was then called Barenys, twice and that in 1400 they captured the entire population.

The Torre Vella was built in 1530 to defend themselves and warn of attacks on the fishermen who populated the municipality. The Torre Vella can be visited today. In addition, it houses the Museum of Contemporary Enamel, with an outstanding collection from various parts of the world.

In “Els pirates de Salou” you will also discover that the pirates supplied themselves with water in the Cala Font, where there is a source of fresh water, now restored, and that the Cala Morisca is called like that because it was one of the coves preferred by Muslim pirates to hide before attacking the ships that were taking refuge in the natural port of Salou.

This port, located on Capellans beach, was one of the most important on the southern Catalan coast. Not only were boats protected from the storms, but it was also an entry and exit point for merchandise (wine, liquor, wheat, and other products) from the regions of Tarragona and Lleida. For this reason, Salou was such a sweet spot for Muslim pirates and corsairs, who arrived from Al-Andalus and Mallorca.

The Camí de Costa o  Camí de Ronda de Salou

All these places in Salou marked by the stories of pirates and corsairs can be visited by following the Camí de Costa or de ronda. From Pilons and up to the Camí del Racó, right on the border with La Pineda, the Coastal or Round Path has a total of 9.5 km and reaches up to 77 meters above sea level, so that you can enjoy good views over the Mediterranean thanks to the Route of the Viewpoints, which is included.

Some sections of the Camí de Costa have stairs and others run along the natural path, through the wooded area that follows Cap Salou, which also allows you to enjoy the typical Mediterranean vegetation and discover a very unique landscape of the Costa Dorada.

For all these reasons, reading “Els pirates de Salou”, which includes a fun game of pirate goose, is a good way to get closer to a part of the history of the municipality and to get to know some of the most beautiful places in Salou and the Costa Dorada.

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Tags: pirates, coastal path, coastal path, torre vella
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