Sight Vilanova de Sau

Sau Reservoir

Coordinates: 41.9680560000, 2.4130530000 (map)

In 1962, several houses, a parish church and a bridge over the Ter river disappeared underwater when the construction of the dam that had spliced Ter in two finished up. That's how a new blue spot appeared on the map of Catalonia, known as the water reservoir Sau (Pantà de Sau).

The first records of the village that was sacrificed for the dam, Sant Romà de Sau, date back to the 10th century. The church was consecrated in 1602. It has been described as built in the Romanesque style, with a nave with an apse and a three-storey belltower. The top floor windows of the belltower were shaped as half-arches. The decoration technique has been identified as Lombardian in origin.

Verifying these statements is only possible in especially draughty years when the water levels of the dam fall so significantly that it becomes possible to walk the streets of the drowned village. In seasons with average rainfall levels only one to two storeys of the belltower are visible above water.

The Sau reservoir is 17 km long and 3 km wide — its maximum capacity is 151,3 hm3. It is a popular weekend and vacation spot for lovers of water activities and sports.

Visitor information

Select Vilanova de Sau as the destination for your GPS and follow signs for Embassament de Sau or Pantà de Sau.

If the goal of your visit is to see the submerged church without diving underwater, check the water levels prior to your visit at the official website of the Sau reservoir. The photos appearing here were taken in September 2016 when the levels were at 95 hm3. When they reach 120 hm3, only the very top of the belltower spire is visible.

The hotel Parador de Vic-Sau (4*) from the national hotel association Paradores de Turismo stands on the optimal vantage point close to the reservoir — on a nearby mountain. The views are fantastic from every window, even from the bathroom ones.