Just Back: Girona

La basílica de Sant Feliu

I am so ignorant.

I know this, because we just returned from a visit to Girona, in Cataluña. It’s a city with a history extending more than 2000 years. Founded by pagan Romans, and controlled over the years by Visigoths, Moors, and Franks, and then by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella ( who outlawed its significant Jewish population) it was literally besieged 25 times, including a successful assault by Napoleonic troops. In the 20th century it was rocked by Franco’s fascists.

I find it a bit overwhelming, and I knew nothing about it. Anything I might have learned in school about the arc of European history is long forgotten.

Anyway here are some pics.

Sadly, the cathedral is now famous mostly as a filming location for “Game of Thrones”. But it is has the widest nave of any Gothic church and is home to an amazing 1000 year-old tapestry depicting scenes from Genesis. Also, there is some creepy stonework in the cloisters showing sinners being boiled in hell.

Next door, in the Basilica de St Feliu, there are some great sarcophagi with elaborate carvings showing a lion hunt, which is an allegory for the struggle of life. Not to mention St Feliu himself confronting an evil djinn in the form of a monster. What a time that was.

The history museum has more, including a replica of the throne made for Charlemagne, who probably never sat in it. As well as an original sculpture of a lleona who’s cul must be kissed for luck. Heidi sat on the throne and I kissed el cul.

The have a great wall, begun by the Romans, but enhanced by others. And in the middle of this medieval city, there is a beautiful, modern, metal-clad municipal theatre.

I haven’t even mentioned the legend of St Narcis, who was martyred in 304, but took revenge on French troops who raided his crypt in 1286. Mosques released from the tomb attacked and killed the interlopers. 100% true, I guarantee it.

After a few days, Andrew met us and we checked out the Banys Arabs, then hit the road

5 thoughts on “Just Back: Girona

  1. Europe is one big historic museum. We have seen already so much, but every time we are on the road a city or just a site leaves us in wonder. But ………. in a little bit more then a month we will be overwhelmed by NY. We are looking forward to it.

  2. What a great trip, Stu! Thanks for sharing your myriad of experiences – we visited Girona back when Brianna was in Barcelona for her study abroad term. that seems a long long time ago. I remember great ceramics places there – still have an olive dish from there!! xoxoxo

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