Medieval Girona The splendour of Jewish thought

Girona has many testimonies to its medieval past, a period of growth in which it became the second largest city in Catalonia with a population of 10,000 inhabitants (15th century). The old Roman walled town remained small and the city spread out on both sides of the Onyar.

Among the monumental heritage that reflects this growth is the Cathedral (11th – 18th century) which, with its large vaulted nave, is the widest vaulted Gothic space in the world. However, the first cathedral in Girona was the Basilica of Sant Feliu, which is currently one of the most representative Gothic buildings of the city, especially its slender bell tower (14th -16th century). Inside it preserves remarkable works of art, such as the eight pagan and Early-Christian sarcophagi (4th century) and the Recumbent Christ (14th century) by Master Aloi.

With regard to the monastery of Sant Daniel it is located in a wide green area close to the city and currently houses a community of Benedictine nuns. The Church contains the tomb of the Saint and the cloister is a beautiful example of Romanesque construction with Gothic additions.

Two kilometres along the River Galligants, stands another monastery: Sant Pere de Galligants, currently the Girona headquarters of the Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya (Archaeological Museum of Catalonia). An example of Catalan Romanesque architecture, it is noted for the iconography of the capitals in the central nave and cloister.

Close to Sant Pere de Galligants are the Arab baths, public baths that also bear witness to the demographic growth and development of medieval Girona. They follow the model of the Roman baths, the Islamic baths and the Jewish mikvahs.

However, one of the greatest symbols of medieval Girona is the Call. Its formation began in the 12th century, starting from the Carrer de la Força, when Jewish families, who had previously lived around the Cathedral, were settled there. Major thinkers, such as the poet-philosopher, doctor and exegete Mosse ben Nahman, better known as Bonastruc ça Porta or Nahmanides, lived here. Up to 800 people came to live in the Girona Call and today it is one of the busiest areas of the city.

Plan your visit

What can I do?

Any time is a good time to visit Girona, but if you are there in May, don’t miss the "Temps de Flors" (the Season of Flowers) event. Most of the monuments in the medieval town are garlanded and, unusually, some courtyards of the houses can be visited.

Services
Contact

Oficina de turisme Ajuntament de Girona
Rambla de la Llibertat, 1
17004 Girona
Tel. (+34) 972226575

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