The historical city of Girona allows you to visit more than 2,000 years of history through its monuments in a flagrant way. From the Roman period to the present, the Girona capital offers an enriching journey in time that leaves no one indifferent.
The city was founded as a small Iberian settlement in 79 BC before waking up the interest of the Romans, who built a citadel and baptized it as Gerunda. The city was a particularly strategic place for the Romans, being an important stop along the Via Augusta, a route linking Cadiz (Spain) and Rome (Italy), which brought to the construction of its first city wall. Those who have a special interest in the history of the city must go to Carrer de la Força, located inside the old town and that actually follows a section of the original Via Augusta.
As the centuries went by, also did the inevitable battles for the control of this growing city. Girona fell in hands of the Visigoths before being ruled by the Arabs and afterwords by Charlemagne. In 785, the people of Girona gave themselves up to Charlemagne, which created the county of Girona, becoming one of the main districts of Catalonia. The city continued to grow, improving its general infrastructure and expanding its boundaries, and therefore its wall. The expansion of the Roman wall during the Middle Ages allows you to walk today all around the city and travel through the stretches of the largest Carolingian wall (s. IX) in Europe. The walk on the wall allows access to different towers built throughout history, and from which you can experience privileged views of the city. It is one of the most visited itineraries for tourists in the city of Girona.
On April 29, 1312, the first stone was placed of what would be the cathedral with the widest Gothic nave in Europe. It was built on top of the old Romanesque church, of which only a part remains standing, the Charlemagne tower and the cloister. The work was not finished until the 18th century, producing a combination of styles, from the austere Romanesque to the rich Baroque.
During the 12th century, the Jewish community began to establish itself as an important part of the population of Girona, with its schools and religious buildings very worshiped throughout Europe. However, the prominence of the Jews came to a rather tragic end in the last decade of the fifteenth century, when the Catholic kings expelled by force all Jewish families throughout Catalonia. Nowadays, the Jewish ghetto (called "El Call") has become one of the main attractions of the city, along with Montjuïc (Mount of the Jews), where there was a great cemetery.
The Arab Baths
One of the sites of the architectural and heritage map of the city of Girona that houses more queues of visitors and tourists are undoubtedly the Arab Baths. A building that has nothing Arabic, a part from its stylistic influence, and which is considered an exceptional witness to the custom of the everyday life of the medieval city built during the 12th century.
More than 20 different sieges continued to attack the city over the following years, being conquered a total of seven times more and often becoming a goal for the French. A particularly remarkable battle took place in the spring of 1809, when more than 30,000 Napoleon soldiers marched on the city and took control. It was not easy for Napoleonic troops, as they not only fought against the local population, but also against the Ultonian Infantry Regime, a military unit formed by Irish immigrants who defended the city fiercely.
The famine and the black plague epidemic that suffered the city helped the French domination to last for just over three years. Once independence was obtained, the city elaborated ambitious plans for expansion, eliminating the lengths of its fortified walls that surrounded it at the end of the 19th century in order to define new frontiers.