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Girona
Gerona
—  Town  —

Coat of arms
Motto: Girona m'enamora - Girona inspires me love
GironaGerona is located in Catalonia
Girona
Gerona
GironaGerona is located in Spain
Girona
Gerona
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 41°59′04″N 02°49′16″E / 41.98444°N 2.82111°E / 41.98444; 2.82111Coordinates: 41°59′04″N 02°49′16″E / 41.98444°N 2.82111°E / 41.98444; 2.82111
Country  Spain
Autonomous Community  Catalonia
Province Girona
Comarca Gironès
Founded 8th century
Government
 - Mayor Ana Pagans Gruartmoner (PSOE-PSC)
Elevation (AMSL) 76 m (249 ft)
Population (2008)
 - Total 94,484
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
17001-17007
Area code(s) +34 (Spain) + 972 (Girona)
Administrative Divisions 9
Website Official website

Girona (Catalan pronunciation: [ʒiˈɾonə], Spanish: Gerona; often spelt Gerona in English) is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell with an estimated population of 95,000. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès.

Contents

History

The first inhabitants in the region were Iberians; Girona is the ancient Gerunda, a city of the Ausetani. Later, the Romans built a citadel there, which was given the name of Gerunda. The Visigoths ruled in Girona until it was conquered by the Moors. Finally, Charlemagne reconquered it in 785 and made it one of the fourteen original countships of Catalonia. Thus it was wrested temporarily from the Moors, who were driven out finally in 1015. Guifré I incorporated Girona to the countship of Barcelona in 878. Alfonso I of Aragón declared Girona to be a city in the 11th century. The ancient countship later became a duchy (1351) when king Pere III d' Aragón gave the title of Duke to his first-born son, Joan. In 1414, King Ferran I in turn gave the title of Prince of Girona to his first-born son, Alfonso. The title is currently carried by Prince Felipe, Prince of Asturias, the first since the 16th century to do so.

The 12th century saw a flourishing of the Jewish community of Girona, with 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 history of the Jewish community of Girona ended in 1492, when the Catholic Kings expelled all the Jews from Catalonia. Today, the Jewish ghetto or Call is one of the best preserved in Europe and is a major tourist attraction. On the north side of the old city is the Montjuïc (or hill of the Jews in medieval Catalan), where an important religious cemetery was located.

Unofficial flag of Girona.

Girona has undergone twenty-five sieges and been captured seven times. It was besieged by the French royal armies under Marshal Hocquisicourt in 1653, under Marshal Bellefonds in 1684, and twice in 1694 under de Noailles. In May, 1809, it was besieged by 35,000 French Napoleonic troops under Vergier, Augereau and St. Cyr, and held out obstinately under the leadership of Alvarez until disease and famine compelled it to capitulate, 12 December. Finally, the French conquered the city in 1809, after 7 months of siege. Girona was center of Ter department during French rule between 1809-1813. The defensive city walls were demolished at the end of the 19th century to allow for the expansion of the city. In recent years, the missing parts of the city walls on the eastern side of the city have been reconstructed. Called the Passeig de la Muralla it now forms a tourist route around the old city.

Climate

Girona has a mild climate. The winters are cold and the summers are hot. In winter temperatures can drop to below −5 °C (23.0 °F) sometimes due to winds coming from the Pyrenees. In the summer temperatures often soar to about 30–40 °C (86–104 °F) in the high season of July and August. Rain is common in winter and spring and thunderstorms often occur. Frost is common in winter, making temperatures seem colder than they actually are.

Weather data for Girona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 45 46 54 61 68 81 86 88 84 68 52 46 64
Average low °F 32 37 39 45 52 57 59 61 57 48 39 34 46
Average high °C 7 8 12 16 20 27 30 31 29 20 11 8 18
Average low °C 0 3 4 7 11 14 15 16 14 9 4 1 8
Source: {{{accessdate}}}

Main sights

Narrow streets dominate the area of Girona's old city

The ancient portion of the city with its once-formidable fortifications stands on the steep hill of the Capuchins, while the more modern section is in the plain and stretches beyond the river. The bastions of the walls which have withstood so many sieges are still to be seen.

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 noblest monuments of the school of the Majorcan architect Jaume Fabre and one of the finest specimens of Gothic architecture in Spain. It is approached by eighty-six 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 (73 feet). 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 Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu is also architecturally noteworthy. Its style is fourteenth-century Gothic, the façade dating from the eighteenth, 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.

The Benedictine church of Sant Pere de Galligants is in Romanesque style of an early date.

Most traces of Girona's rich Jewish history were wiped out when the Jews were expelled from Spain (see Spanish expulsion), however some remain. On Carrer de Sant Llorenc, the doorway of an old building has a rectangular indentation which once held a mezuzah. Further along is the Centre Bonastruc ça Porta and the Catalan Jewish Museum. The Bonastruc ça Porta project started in the 1970s, when it became fashionable to renovate properties in the old town. Clearing away nearly 700 years of construction, Jose Tarres, a local restaurateur, discovered the remains of what turned out to be the medieval yeshiva founded by Nahmanides.

The city has a number of relevant Art Nouveau buildings including the Farinera Teixidor by Rafael Masó.

Panorama of Girona: cases penjades on Onyar River, the Cathedral to the centre of the image and Sant Feliu collegiate to the left

Sports

During the professional cycling season, various non-European pro cyclists have called Girona home, as illustrated in the book Inside the Postal Bus by Michael Barry, written during his time with the US Postal Service cycling team. Between races, cyclists do their training rides outside the city, which provides excellent training terrain.

In the Spring of 1997 Marty Jemison, Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie moved to Girona as teammates of the US Postal Service Professional Cycling Team. This was the first year that American cyclists started living in Girona and meeting for training rides at the Pont de Pedra. Later, other well-known professional cyclists such as Lance Armstrong came to live in the city.

Football is also widely popular. The local Football club is Girona FC, currently playing in the Spanish Segunda División after promotion in the 2007-08 season in the playoffs. Its stadium is Estadi Montilivi.

Education

The city is the home of the Universitat de Girona.

Transport

Girona landmarks include Saint Mary's Cathedral (left) and the Passeig de la Muralla (right)
Houses along the riu: the bridge's concrete span is 25 cm thick at the center

Road

The town is on the Autopista AP-7 and N-II. The city is also the hub of the local road network with routes to the coast and inland towards the Pyrenees.

Public transport

The city has a comprehensive local bus service. There are also services to the other towns in the Girona province.

Train

Girona is served by the mainline from Barcelona to Portbou and the French Frontier. The journey time to Barcelona is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. A station on the new AVE Madrid-Barcelona-Avignon high-speed rail line is currently being built (2009).

Airport

Main article: Girona-Costa Brava Airport

The town's airport, Girona-Costa Brava, is 10 km south of the town centre. It has grown tremendously in recent years principally as a result of Ryanair choosing it as one of their European hubs. Whilst the airport has been used since the early 1980s for charter flights, holidaymakers and other travellers now have a wider range of scheduled flights available from a number of destinations across Europe.

Girona Airport is a 15 minute bus ride from the bus teminal and train station in Girona city and an hour from Barcelona centre, 92 km to the south. Most low cost airlines mention "Barcelona" in their descriptions of Girona airport. The bus stops in the centre of Barcelona, at the Estacio d'Autobusos Barcelona Nord, Barcelona's main bus terminal.

Notable people

The ski mountaineering siblings Cristina and Jordi Bes Ginesta were born in Girona.

Town twinning

Temples of flowers, Girona

See also

References

Sources and external links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The towers of Sant Feliu and the Cathedral above the Sant Feliu Bridge across the Onyar River
The towers of Sant Feliu and the Cathedral above the Sant Feliu Bridge across the Onyar River

Girona [1] is an ancient town several thousand years old in Catalonia, Spain. The city has approximately 100,000 people and serves as the capital of the Girona Province in Catalonia which includes the counties (or comarques) of Alt Empordà, Baix Empordà, Garrotxa, Gironès, Pla de l'Estany, Ripollès.

The town has an attractive Jewish quarter and is often overlooked by budget fliers arriving at Girona-Barcelona airport. Girona makes an excellent stop-off as part of a tour of Catalonia or escape from the noise and speed of Barcelona or as a long weekend getaway with one of those budget airlines.

Understand

Girona is said to consistently win a country-wide poll of citizens on preferred city to live in. Geographically set at the confluence of the Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell rivers, it has been a focal point of this region in Catalonia since prior to being part of the Roman Empire.

The Old Town is on the east bank of the river, with pedestrianized narrow streets surrounded by the old city walls. The "Rambla", running parallel to the river, contains many street cafés and touristic restaurants. Tourist information is at the south end of the Rambla, beside the river. The newer town center on the west bank has wider steets contains more shops and hotels, plus slightly cheaper restaurants.

In August, the city becomes very quiet on Sat and Sun, as most citizens escape to the sea.

Get in

Girona is located north of Barcelona and can be reached from there by bus, train, or one's own car. There is an airport located on the AP-7 highway that also accepts international flights (e.g. to London Stansted for UK). It is also 98km (61 miles) away from Barcelona.

Girona Airport is 1hr bus ride from Barcelona center. Most low cost airlines like Ryanair, Wizz Air, mention "Barcelona" in their descriptions of Girona airport. You can make connection between the airport and Barcelona.

Bus: If you want to travel to Girona from Barcelona city you can take a bus. That bus stops in the center of Barcelona, in Estació d'Autobusos Barcelona Nord (Barcelona's main bus terminal).

Trains from Barcelona to Girona leaves approximately every hour from Barcelona Estació de Sants. The journey takes 1h20m from Girona to Barcelona Sants and the ticket costs about 6 €, depending on the train type (Catalunya Express is faster, Regional is cheaper). You can check it at Renfe's Train Time Tables page:

  • bus service from Girona airport to Perpignan Express
  • Time Tables Renfe's

Get around

Both the Old Town and the New Town across the river are highly pedestrianized. A car is not only unnecessary in Girona, but also quite cumbersome. Rentals are available for those wishing to make day trips to the outlying villages and castles in the area.

It should be noted that most of the streets in the Old Town have large cobblestones and steeps stairs going up the hill upon which Girona is built. Walking in high heels or with rolling luggage is quite difficult at some points, so plan accordingly.

Narrow Streets in Girona
Narrow Streets in Girona
  • The town's architecture is varied and atmospheric resulting from the myriad of occupations and invasions with many narrow streets, a castle, and impressive walled section.
  • Església de Sant Feliu, second church in the city. Closed for renovation as of Sept 2007.
  • Banys Arabs (Arab baths), c/de Ferran Catolic. Apr-Sept: Mon-Fri 10AM-7PM, Sun and holidays: 10AM-2PM. Oct-March: 10AM-2PM daily (?). €1.5.  edit
  • The river, although it dries up in the summer (and gets a bit stinky!), and the houses along it are very pretty.
  • Walk along the ancient walls (yes, you can get on there) for excellent views of the city
  • Enjoy the numerous cafes which are especially atmospheric at night
  • The ancient narrow streets of the old Jewish section.
  • Check out Girona's lively "discoteca" club scene.
  • Play Golf on all the fantastic courses in the surroundings

Buy

The old town contains mostly touristy shops. There is also a good selection of modern shops selling the latest clothes.

Market on Saturday. Cheap goods market along river bank in the park north-west of town centre. Craft stalls in the old town. You can also buy lemurs.

Eat

In the old town, many touristy cafes offer menu del dia for €10-13, even on Sun. Areas with dense coverage of faceless touristy cafes are: Plaça Independencia; Rambla de la Lliberitat (near cathedrals).

Like any other Catalan city, cafes are closed from 4PM until dinner time (about 8-8:30PM). Exceptions are only touristy cafes at Rambla de la Lliberitat.

Fish dishes are better avoided in August--see the shallow river to understand the reasons.

  • Le Bistrot, Pujada de Sant Domenec, 4 (halfway on going down from Catedral by either side of Pujada de Sant Domenec), +34(972)21-8803. Very prominent location, with outdoor tables on arguably most spectacular staircase in the town. Alternatively, consider indoor seats near backyard windows. Frequented by students of the local university. Menu del dia: €17 / €20, available on Sun also; no traditional menu.  edit
  • Gran Muralla, Francesc Eiximenis. The best selection of Japanese and Chinese food, featuring sushi, beijing duck, thai salad.[2] [3]
  • König, Four locations, [4].  edit
  • Frankfurter König 1, Avinguda Jaume I, 1, 972 212 621. Cheap food such us pizzas, steak, french fries; and also a place to have a drink.  edit
  • Frankfurter König 2, Pl. Independència, 2, 972 202 099.  edit
  • Braseria-Pizzeria König, Av. Jaume I, 8, 972 416 122.  edit
  • Koenig Sandwiches, c/Calderers 16 (right under Esglesia de Sant Feliu), 972 225 782. Modern minimalistic design interior; two floors; well-airconditioned; some WiFi coverage for outdoor tables. Combined dishes (salad+main+side dish): €5.8-6.5; salads €5-7; focaccia sandwiches €3.8-4.5; hamburgers €2.5-3.5; toast sandwiches: €3.6-4.  edit
  • König Bar-Restaurant, C.C. Espai Gironès, Salt, 972 439 123.  edit
  • La Dolce Vitta, Plaça Independencia. Italian food for everyone at reasonable prices.
  • City Arms, Güell. English pub.
  • Excalibur, Cort Reial. typical Irish pub with a good selection of beers.
  • Siddharta, Pedret. A suitable place to try the drink named "tisana" (in Catalan).
  • Mckiernan's Rambla de la Llibertat. An Irish pub, crowded on weekends. Suitable place to have a drink.
  • Babel, Carrer de Cort-Reial 3. Nice bar, nice food and cosy place to have a few. English friendly.
  • Hotel Carlemany, Joan Maragall.
  • Hotel Ciutat de Girona, Hortes. Another 4 star hotel located near the downtown.
  • Hotel Bellavista. The only 5 star hotel in Girona.

Stay safe

As is typical with these region of Catalonia, it can get quite hot in the summer. Take care and drink plenty of water throughout the day. There are a number of public water fountains which anyone can make use of and they are clearly marked on the city maps you get from the tourists office.

As for crime, Girona is generally a very safe town with a vigilant local population. It experiences crime that is typical of any city its size, but visitors have little to worry about from the town itself beyond possibly pickpocketing in large crowds. That being said one of the larger worries, are other travelers. While not the destination that Barcelona is for "stag" parties from Northern Europe, Girona does see its fair share of them given that many of them fly in to the Girona Airport. They are usually extremely drunk, disrespectful, and also feeling free of all societal restrictions that they would otherwise obey in their home country. Any members of these groups should be generally avoided. Female travelers should be especially wary as these men easily get out of hand and have been known to assault women.

Other than these unfortunate individuals, for some reason, it is common to see local drunks and other vagabonds at the entrances to the footbridges across the Onyar River, especially on the Old Town side. While they generally keep to themselves, they will often beg for change. Obviously, it is unwise and heavily encouraged not to give them any money and just ignore them.

It should go without saying as it would seem obvious, but don't attempt to jump in to the Onyar River from any of the bridges across it. In addition to being difficult to get back out of, the water simply isn't deep enough for the height and you will sustain any number of grievous injuries upon landing.

  • Barcelona - And hour to the south by train and the capital of Catalonia with an endless list of things to see an do.
  • Figueres - A town approximately 30 minutes to the north by train with the famous Dalí museum and an active Old Town core.
  • Hostalric - An old walled town south of Girona.
  • Madremanya - Old, compact Medieval village boasting a Michelin rated restaurant. About 15 minutes from Girona by car.
  • Torroella de Montgrí - A pleasant old town that was once the capital of the Empúries kingdom. Now it sits at the base of a mountain that goes up to a castle. A good day hike for those inclined.
  • Tossa de Mar - While unfortunately deeply slathered in beach tourists, the original old town of the city is quite lovely to walk.
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