Horta de Sant Joan (formerly, Orta) is located in the southern part of Terra Alta region. The village rises on a small hill surrounded by crops and articulated around the old castle, already disappeared. In 1998, Horta de Sant Joan was declared Cultural Good of Natural Interest under the category of Historic Site.
Of its previous urban structure remain the narrow and concentric streets that converge in the arcaded square of the church, where the Renaissance building of the Town Hall is located. On its facade, a mural of Fernando VII commemorates the Cádiz Cortes. On the ground floor, it is possible to visit the old prison. Other Renaissance buildings worth mentioning are Casa Clúa, Casa Pitarch and Casa del Delme or Casa de la Comanda, an old palace from the 16th-17th centuries.
The most important building is the convent of Sant Salvador d’Horta. This monastery is located two kilometres away from the village, at the foot of Santa Bárbara Mountain (755m), and it was declared a historic-artistic monument in 1985.
To speak of Horta de Sant Joan is also to speak about Pablo Picasso. The painter made two stays in the village. The first one took place in 1898, when he was sixteen and he was invited by Manuel Pallarès, his fellow student. During this first stage, young Picasso painted about sixty canvases, mostly inspired by local landscapes. During the second one, eleven years later (in 1909), he would create his first cubist pieces. The historical centre still keeps several spaces bound to the life and work of the Malaga genius. Currently, the village’s old hospital houses the Picasso Centre, which displays a set of facsimile reproductions of the paintings that the artist painted during his stay in Horta.
Horta de Sant Joan is also a staging point of the Landscape of the Geniuses, a tour along the places that inspired the legacy of four universal artists closely linked to different towns in Tarragona region. Besides Picasso, this cultural itinerary helps to interpret the work of Pau Casals in El Vendrell, Joan Miró in Mont-roig del Camp and Antoni Gaudí in Reus.
Another relevant element of the village would be the Ecomuseu dels Ports. One of the main objectives of this equipment, besides from being an information point of the Nature Park, consists in spreading part of the natural and cultural heritage of Els Ports by explaining the life of its inhabitants.
Horta is the municipality which holds most of the Nature Park surface. Among the elements that stand out we find the Roques de Benet (1,071m), the deep ravines where two rivers are born (the Canaletes and the Estrets) and the many itineraries to enjoy this natural area. Also within the term, you can visit the monumental trees “Pi de Balija” and “Lo Parot”, one of the oldest olive trees in the world.
You can enjoy mountain biking, going through the Green Way of the Val de Zafán with businesses that will provide transfer services or also to enjoy local cuisine at the restaurants of the village.