The history of Girona
The first historical residents of the region were Iberians; Girona is the primitive Gerunda, the city of the Ausetani. Later on, the Romans established a citadel here, which was named Gerunda. The Visigoths governed the Girona until 715 when the Moors conquered the city.
Finally, Charlemagne conquered it again in 785 and made it one of the 14 original countries of Catalonia. It was snatched temporarily from the Moors, who reconquered it in 793. From that time onwards, until the Moors were finally kicked out in 1015, the city kept changing hands.
In the eleventh century, Alfonso I of Aragon pronounced Girona a city. The primitive country became a duchy in the 14th century when King Peter III of Aragon gave the duke title to his eldest son, John. In 1414, King Ferdinand also granted the title of Prince of Girona to his eldest son, Alfonso.
A Jewish 12th Century
During the 12th century, the resident Jewish population of the Girona started to establish itself as an important part of the Girona community, with its religious buildings and schools being much admired across the whole of Europe. However, the notability of the Jews saw an abrupt end in the last decade of the 15th century when the Catholic kings of Rome forcibly removed every Jewish family from the entire Catalonia.
Today, the tourists to Girona will come to know that the Jewish ghetto, named 'The Call,' has become a very attractive spot of the city, in addition to the closely located Jew Mountain (Montjuic), where a broad cemetery was once located.
Wars and Sieges
Above twenty different sieges followed the coming years in Girona's history. Resultantly, Girona was conquered seven more times and often proved to be a target of the French military. One especially notable war took place in 1809 spring, where above 30 000 French soldiers intruded the city and took charge of it. The Napoleonic troops experienced their lengthy siege as a struggle, as they were fighting against the natives and the illness and famine.
The French rule stayed just around three years. When independence was obtained, the Girona drew up auspicious expansion plans, destroying lengths of its encompassing fortified city walls in the last years of the 19th century to set the new borders.
Tourist attractions and city walls
Girona is a famous destination for Barcelona day-trippers and tourists; the train journey from Barcelona to Girona takes about 40 minutes on the express train. The old town is situated on the abrupt hill of the Capuchins to the eastern bank of the River Onyar, while the more advanced section is located on the western side, on the plains.
Sections of Girona's city walls still exist and attract many tourists. The city administration has begun to rebuild the parts of the Eastern belt, terming it the 'Passeig de la Muralla.'
Other sights of interest for the history involve the Cathedral of Saint Mary devoted in the eleventh century, Banys Arabs (Arab Baths) built-in the 12th century, and the Basilica of Sat Feliu, which was built-in the 17th century. A walk along the Passeig Arqueologic is also highly appealing.
The old cathedral, which was situated at the place of the recent one, was used as a mosque by the Moors. After their ultimate expulsion, the cathedral was either fully rebuilt or remodelled. The current building is one of the most important monuments of the school of Jaume Fabre, a Majorcan architect, and an amazing instance of Catalan Gothic architecture. You can approach it with the help of 90 steps. As chapels and an aisle surround the choir, which opens into the nave by three arches, the spotted stone vault is the broadest in Christendom (about 22 meters.
Among its stunning interior designing is a beautiful retable, an art of Pere Bernec, a Valencian silversmith. It is cleaved into three tiers of reliefs and statuettes, framed in the canopied articles of hammered and cast silver. A silver and gold altar frontal was set in 1809 by the French. The cathedral carries the tombs of Roman Berenger and his wife.
· Jewish heritage
There are some notable remains of Girona's historical Jewish population before the choice between expulsion and conversion in the late 15th century. For example, on Carrer de Sant Llorenc, a rectangular dent that once beheld a mezuzah is visible in the doorway of an ancient building. Farther along stand the Catalan Jewish Museum and the Centre Bonastruc ça Porta. The Bonastruc ça Porta project began in the 7th decade of the 20th century when it became common to renovate and reconstruct properties in the ancient town.
The Girona city also has many Art Nouveau buildings, such as Farinera Teixidor by Rafael Masó.
· Old fortifications
The old fortifications of the Girona city are another attractive and appealing sight. From the historical point of view, these fortifications have played a significant role in protecting the Girona city from intruders for many centuries. The city wall of the ancient town was a vital military construction established during Roman times in the first century BC. It was all in all reestablished under Peter III the Ceremonious rule in the last decades of the 14th century. This Roman wall was used as a foundation. However, at the beginning of the 16th century, this historically important military wall was dissolved in Girona. As a result, the walled area lost its military significance.
Gradually, the wall started to degrade, as the parts wee steadily changed from the outside and the inside. The lookout towers and the walls which make up these fortifications are divided into two sections; a smaller one to the north of the ancient town and a larger segment to the south and east. It is easily possible to climb up the towers and walk on the walls, where visitors can bless their eyes with the panoramic view of the Girona city and the nearby countryside.
Hopefully, this guide has covered the historical journey and tourist value of the Girona city thoroughly.