With the conquest of Lleida in 1149, the Templars received various goods as a compensation for their help in the siege, including the Gardeny hill, among others. The first reference of the commandery of Gardeny dates back from 1156 and friar Pere de Cartellà, who participated in the siege actively, appears as its first knight commander.
Thanks to numerous contributions, mainly by the small nobility, the Gardeny House reached the point of hoarding a rich patrimony. Soon, the different sectors built had to be administrated a need to create new administrative duties arose and the commanderies of Corbins and Barbens were created.
As a result of such growth, towards the 13th century, the Gardeny House became one of the crucial centres of the Order in the Crown of Aragon.
The Gardeny Monumental Complex
The Gardeny monumental complex, built in mid-12th century, is one of the most remarkable witnesses of the Templar architecture in the Crown of Aragon.
Although this medieval work underwent thorough reforms during the 17th and 18th centuries -which changed its appearance-, it still preserves important vestiges of the original Templar monumental set, its central area. Delimited by a walled perimeter and flanked by towers, it includes various buildings placed around a central courtyard.
It is worth mentioning the residential tower, a solid 2-floor construction which held several outbuildings (stores and rooms), and the temple, a singular building in honour of Santa Maria de Gardeny, a Virgin that originated a hugely popular devotion in past times.