CATALONIA. A Brief Overview.
Despite its small size, Catalonia has a long history. From the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean coast, the variety of landscape has long earned Catalonia fame, offering visitors an infinite number of possibilities. Its cities are full of delights, whilst its villages, its beauty spots and its traditions evoke times past whose traces still remain.
The geographical position of Catalonia, the doorway between the Iberian Peninsula and Central Europe, has given it a decidedly pro-European stance, reflected in whole-hearted commitment to the European Union.
Ours is a country of more than six million inhabitants, with over one thousand years of history and its own language and culture, giving Catalonia its own personality.
The famous industrial and productive strength of Catalonia has always gone with a high standard of living index of initiative and progress, particularly in the fields of applications and sciences –from medicine to juridical sciences, passing through chemistry, engineering, linguistics, tourism, agriculture and livestock, navy, the food industries and all kind of services-.
Catalans have always been ready to receive people with open arms. We are pleased to welcome people from all over the world to show them our land and traditions. We hope you enjoy your stay
CATALONIA. Cultural tourism.
Catalonia has over one thousand years of history, its own language and its own institutions. Together with its important architectonic and artistic heritage invite you to explore the country. There are many routes to discover Catalonia. In this guide, we recommend you to visit the following places:
1. The route of the Iberians
In the last years we have rediscovered the Iberian culture, developed between the 6th and 1rst centuries BC. In the settlements of the Route of the Iberians, such as Ullastret, Olèrdola and the Citadel of the town of Calafell among others, visitors can discover the Iberian culture and traditions. (Museum of Arqueology of Catalonia)
2. Catalonia and the Romans
In the 3rd century BC, wars against Cartago made Romans arrive the ancient Greek colony of Emporion (at present called Empúries) and they began to expand all over Catalonia. In 2000, the archaeological ensemble of Tárraco (Tarragona) was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
3. The Catalan Romanesque art
Catalonia preserves more than 2,000 Romance works such as churches, monasteries and civil building, a unique paint collection in the world kept in the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Don’t miss visiting the Catalan Romanesque churches of the Vall de Boí, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
4. The Route of the Cathars
The cathars also known as good men, escaped from the Crusade and the Inquisition (in Occitany) to Catalan territories, crossing the Pyrenees, to seek refuge between the 12th and 14th centuries. A route signalled as GR-107 (Long distance route) connects the sanctuary of Queralt, close to Berga village, with the mythical castle of Montsegur, in the French department of Ariège, through the natural Park of Cadí-Moixeró.
5. Jewish Catalonia
Jewish Communities communities had an important role in the social, economic and political life of Catalonia from the 10th century on (www.redjuderias.org). In the last years, part of their legacy has been recovered after being forgotten since 1492, when Jews were expulsed from Spain. Girona offers you guided tours through the Call de Girona one of the most interesting Jewish quarters in Europe.
6. The Ruta del Císter
There are three Cistercians monasteries in Catalonia located in Santes Creus, Poblet (Unesco’s World Heritage Site) and Vallbona de les Monges. These monasteries make up a route that includes a visit to the most important surrounding Medieval villages.
7. “Domus Templi”, the Knights Templars’ dominions
In Catalonia, the Templars conquered cities of major strategic importance such as Tortosa or Lleida. Templars’ heritage include fortified houses, towers and villages, castles and cities such as Miravet or Lleida (castle of Gardeny) of great historic value.
8. Modernisme walking tours
The Modernisme (known worldwide as Art Nouveau Movement), developed between the last decades of the 19th and the first of the 20th centuries as a wide cultural movement. It embraces all arts: music, literature, painting, sculpture and architecture. Antoni Gaudí is the best-known artist and architect of this style. However, we find other important artists such as Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Josep Maria Jujol.
9. Dalí: the three museums
An introduction to the world of the genius painter Salvador Dalí . You can visit the places where he lived and enjoy part of the artist’s legacy: the Theatre-Museum in Figueres, the castle of Púbol and the house in Portlligat (Cadaqués). We remind you that 2004 has been declared Dalí Year.