• Day844


    September 27, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Northern Catalonia's largest city was known as Gerunda in Roman times. It was then taken from the Muslims by the Franks in the late 8th century, and became the capital of one of Catalonia's most important counties, falling under the power of Barcelona in the late 9th century. All this history has resulted in a historic centre with many Gothic and Romanesque buildings. We visited with friends, Hans and Mireille.

    Built over an old Roman forum, parts of the cathedral date back to the 5th century. What we see today is mostly Gothic, having been built over the Romanesque church during the 14th century, with a baroque facade. The Gothic nave (where the congregation sit) is the widest in the world, which gives a huge sense of open space. With 86 steps leading to the entrance, it towers over the historic centre. An audio guide helped us navigate around and explained the details that can go overlooked. One room was full of richly embroidered and bejeweled ceremonial robes and in the Treasury was a large tapestry from the 10th century depicting God's creation of life.

    The walkable medieval walls encompass the centre and give great views over both the modern and ancient parts of the city which is a delight to visit. You do feel as though you have taken a step back in time as you wander through the maze of narrow streets. Each building has a shop at ground level, ranging from a small supermarket or bakery to upscale designer jewellery, with 3 or 4 floors above, all painted in soft colours.

    Easily visited from Barcelona, Girona would be a great place to visit for a few days.
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