Girona in Catalonia

Wednesday, 9 February 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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© Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Pirineu de Girona/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Pirineu de Girona/cc-by-sa-3.0

Girona is a city in northern Catalonia, Spain, at the confluence of the Ter, Onyar, Galligants, and Güell rivers. The city had an official population of 103,000. Girona is the capital of the province of the same name and also capital of the comarca of the Gironès and the vegueria of Girona. Since much of the old quarter of this ancient city has been preserved, Girona is a popular destination for tourists, and film productions have used it as a filming location (Game of Thrones). The city is located 99 km (62 mi) northeast of Barcelona City. Girona is a popular destination for tourists and Barcelona day-trippers – the train journey from Barcelona Sants to Girona takes approximately forty minutes on express trains. The old town stands on the steep hill of the Caputxins to the east of the river Onyar, while the more modern section stands on the plains to the west. The city has a number of Art Nouveau buildings including the Farinera Teixidor by Rafael Masó.

The ancient cathedral, which stood on the site of the present one, was used by the Moors as a mosque, and after their final expulsion was either entirely remodelled or rebuilt. The present edifice is one of the most important monuments of the school of the Majorcan architect Jaume Fabre and an excellent example of Catalan Gothic architecture. It is approached by ninety steps. An aisle and chapels surround the choir, which opens by three arches into the nave, of which the pointed stone vault is the widest in Christendom (22 meters). Among its interior decorations is a retable which is the work of the Valencian silversmith Pere Bernec. It is divided into three tiers of statuettes and reliefs, framed in canopied niches of cast and hammered silver. A gold and silver altar-frontal was carried off by the French in 1809. The cathedral contains the tombs of Ramon Berenger and his wife.

The old fortifications are another popular sight. Historically, these have played a vital role in protecting Girona from invaders for hundreds of years. The city wall of the old town was an important military construction built in Roman times in the 1st century BC. It was thoroughly rebuilt under the reign of Peter III the Ceremonious in the second half of the 14th century. The Roman wall was used as a foundation. At the start of the 16th century, the wall was absorbed in the city. The walled precinct lost its military value. Bit by bit, the wall was degrading, as parts were gradually altered from the inside and the outside. The walls and lookout towers that make up these fortifications are split in two – a small section in the north of the old town and a much larger section to the east and south. It is possible to walk the walls and climb the towers, where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Girona and the surrounding countryside.

The Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu is noteworthy from an architectural point of view. Its style is 14th-century Gothic, the façade dating from the 18th, and it is one of the few Spanish churches which possesses a genuine spire. It contains, besides the sepulchre of its patron and the tomb of the valiant Álvarez, a chapel dedicated to St. Narcissus, who according to tradition was one of the early bishops of the see.

© flickr.com - Pablo Alejandro Araujo Granda/cc-by-sa-2.0 Former Jewish Quarter. The community was lost after the Expulsion © flickr.com - pimpilipausa/cc-by-2.0 Independence Square © JoJan/cc-by-3.0 © Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Pirineu de Girona/cc-by-sa-3.0 Onyar river © Gordito1869/cc-by-3.0 Girona Cathedral during the annual flower exhibition © Paul P/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Codex/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Former Jewish Quarter. The community was lost after the Expulsion © flickr.com - pimpilipausa/cc-by-2.0
The Benedictine church of Sant Pere de Galligants is in early Romanesque style. From the same period is the Monastery of St. Daniel.

The Plaça de la Independència is one of the best known and busiest squares in Girona. Located in the Mercadal district in the city centre, it is also known as Plaça de Sant Agustí, after the former Convent of Sant Agustí. Its name refers to the 1808–1814 War of Spanish Independence, part of the larger Peninsular War, against Napoleon Bonaparte. The interest of the square lies in its 19th-century style, despite its being surrounded by identical austere neoclassical buildings with porches dedicated to the defenders of the city of Girona during the 1808 and 1809 sieges. However, the symmetrical proportions of the square correspond more to contemporary interventions than its architectural past. The municipal architect Martí Sureda was the first to conceive an arcaded square with closed and neoclassical loops, and with some buildings having matching aesthetic proportions. The development of the area followed this scheme only in part. The construction of the first theatres in the city transgressed the concept of Martí Sureda. Until the 18th century, what that architect had imagined could not be completed. This part of the city in Noucentisme style is a romantic and timeless creation which nowadays captivates inhabitants and visitors. Today the area has great vitality because of the spread of cafés and restaurants, including some businesses well known for their history like the Café Royal, Cinema Albéniz and Casa Marieta.

Characteristic of Girona are the picturesque houses overlooking the river Onyar (Cases de l’Onyar). These were built over many years and give the flavour of a small Mediterranean city. The façades are painted according to a palette created by Enric Ansesa, James J. Faixó and the architects Fuses and J. Viader. One of these houses (at Ballesteries 29, Girona) is Casa Masó, the birthplace of the architect Rafael Masó and an example of Noucentisme in Girona. Since 2006 it has been the headquarters of the Fundació Rafael Maso. The river façade can be recognised by its unique white color.

The 12th century saw the Jewish community of Girona flourish, having one of the most important Kabbalistic schools in Europe. The Rabbi of Girona, Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi (better known as Nahmanides or Ramban) was appointed Great Rabbi of Catalonia. The presence of the Jewish community of Girona came to an end in 1492, when the Catholic Monarchs outlawed Judaism throughout Spain and Jews were given the choice of conversion or exile (Alhambra Decree). Today, the Jewish quarter or Call is one of the best preserved in Europe and is one of the sights in the city. Just north of the old city is Montjuïc, or hill of the Jews in medieval Catalan, where the Jewish cemetery was located (history of the Jews in Spain).

Read more on Girona, spain.info – Girona, Wikivoyage Girona and Wikipedia Girona (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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