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Roses, Girona
—  Municipality  —


Coat of arms
Roses, Girona is located in Catalonia
Roses, Girona
Location in Catalonia
Coordinates: 42°16′N 3°10′E / 42.267°N 3.167°E / 42.267; 3.167Coordinates: 42°16′N 3°10′E / 42.267°N 3.167°E / 42.267; 3.167
Country  Spain
Community  Catalonia
Province Girona
Comarca Alt Empordà
 - Mayor Magda Casamitjana i Aguilà
 - Total 45.91 km2 (17.7 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2007)
 - Total 18,139
 - Density 395.1/km2 (1,023.3/sq mi)
 - Demonym Rosinc, rosinca
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Roses is a municipality in the comarca of the Alt Empordà in Catalonia, Spain. It is situated on the coast at the northern end of the Gulf of Roses, and is an important fishing port and tourist centre. The C-260 road links the town with Figueres.



Early history

Rhoda coins, 5th-1st century BCE.

The origins of Roses (Greek: Rhode) are disputed. A popular theory holds it was founded in the 8th century BC by Greek colonists from Rhodes. It seems more probable, however, that it was founded in the 5th century BC by Greeks from Massalia (Marseilles), perhaps with an admixture of colonists from neighbouring Empúries. Remains of the Greek settlement can still be seen. Remains from the Roman period go back to the 2nd century BC and continue well into Christian times with a paleochristian church and necropolis. After the collapse of Roman power the town seems to have been abandoned, but a fortified settlement from the Visigothic period has been excavated on the nearby Puig Rom.

The monastery of Santa Maria de Roses is mentioned for the first time in a document of the year 944. Around this monastery grew the mediaeval town of Roses, which fell under the shared jurisdiction of the abbots of Santa Maria de Roses and the counts of Empúries. In 1402 the county of Empúries was incorporated in the Crown of Aragon and Roses acquired the right to organize its own municipal governmentand the economy


In the first decades of the 16th century Roses suffered repeatedly from attacks by privateers from North Africa. To counter this threat, Charles V ordered in 1543 the construction of extensive fortifications. In spite of these precautions a squadron of the Turkish admiral Barbarossa attacked and plundered the town some months later. After substantial revisions, the fortifications were completed in 1553, under Charles's son Philip II. The entire mediaeval town was now enclosed by a bastioned pentagonal wall (illustration, below). The defensive system was supplemented by the Castell de la Trinitat, some 2.5 km to the east. The town received a permanent military garrison, which changed its character profoundly. To minimise friction between the citizenry and the soldiers, barracks were constructed, but this did not prevent a gradual movement of part of the population outside the walls, where the modern town of Roses now is.

In the following centuries the fortifications were severely tested. In 1645, during the Catalan Revolt, French troops besieged Roses and captured it. The Peace of the Pyrenees (1659) restored the town to Spain.

In 1693, during the War of the Grand Alliance the French captured the town again. This time the French occupation lasted until the Peace of Ryswick in 1697.

In 1712, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Austrian troops tried to take the city, but were driven off. In 1719, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance, the French again attacked, and but failed.

After a long period of relative calm the French revolution ushered in a new round of hostilities. In 1793 the French revolutionary government declared war on Spain. Roses suffered a long siege that lasted from 28 November 1794 till 3 February 1795. The town was surrendered to France, but peace between France and Spain was restored that same year, and the French withdrew.

In 1808 Napoleon forced the king of Spain to abdicate, French armies invaded the country again, and Roses was besieged for the fourth and last time. During this siege, the famed Scottish captain of the Royal Navy Thomas Cochrane assisted the Spanish by putting his men into Castell de la Trinitat to help defend the town, staying until the citadel and the town surrendered, before evacuating himself and his men. In 1814, when the French left Spain, they blew up the town's fortifications along with the Castell de la Trinitat. The ancient town, the Ciutadella, was now completely ruined, while to the east the modern town slowly continued to grow.

New times

In 1879 Roses suffered a devastating economic crisis through phylloxera, a pest of the grapevines, which destroyed the town's wine growing industry. Part of the population moved to Barcelona or emigrated to the United States.

In the 20th century, notably in the period after World War II, Roses has profited enormously from the growth of tourism.

Over the last decades important excavations have been carried out inside the walls of the Ciutadella. This concerns not only the Greek and Roman remains, but also part of the medieval city and its walls. In the 1990s extensive restoration work was carried out on the walls of the Ciutadella, and in 2004 a museum was opened inside it. A somewhat controversial restoration of the Castell de Trinitat is currently nearing completion.

Since 1961, Roses is the home of El Bulli, one of the world's best and most famous restaurants.[1]


1900 1930 1950 1970 1986 2007
2690 2559 2720 6186 9219 18,139


  1. ^ El Bulli has held three Michelin stars since 1997 and has been rated the world's best restaurant for four years running since 2005 by Restaurant Magazine).[1]


  • Lluís Buscató i Somoza. La colònia grega de Rhode. Figueres, 1999. ISBN 84-88589-64-6
  • Narciso Díaz i Romañach. Roses: Una vila amb história. Roses, [1991]. ISBN 84-606-0033-5
  • Carlos Díaz, Hug Palou, Anna Ma. Puig. La Ciutadella de Roses. Girona, 1998. ISBN 8486812798
  • Pablo de la Fuente. Les fortificacions reials del golf de Roses en l'época moderna. Figueres, 1998. ISBN 84-88589-54-9
  • Pere de Palol. El Castrum del Puig de les Muralles de Puig Rom (Roses, Alt Empordà). Girona, 2004. ISBN 843936654X
  • Marcel Pujol i Hamelink. La vila de Roses (segles XIV-XVI). Figueres, 1997. ISBN 8488589425

External links


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