Now we call it Gerona, or Girona, but a couple of thousand years ago its name was Gerunda and was growing over a Roman camp. A camp that Pompeii had ordered to build when he was around this lands and was not yet angry at Julius Caesar.
As you can see, in Girona, things started to stir a long time ago. In fact, as soon as the Roman splendour was over, other invaders appeared. They came from the South, and when they swore, they did it by the beard of the Prophet. They took over the city rapidly, they built their Arab baths, and they claimed to be very happy, but the truth is they were not going to last long here.
The area was too close to the domain of Charlemagne, who thought it would be appropriate to seize the place by the year 785. So the city resumed the things where they had been left before the Muslim conquest and started to build and rebuild the ancient Christian remains.
Over time, a cathedral was built which first was Romanesque and later Gothic, and would still add a Baroque façade. It doesn’t matter how lazy you feel: you must climb the long stairs, enter the temple and see its impressive gothic nave, which is the widest in the world.
Afterwards, the best thing is to let yourself be carried away by the marvellous medieval Girona, with its labyrinthine lanes wedged between the remains of great walls. The Jewish Quarter hosted a Jewish community until the fifteenth century, who here studied the Kabbalah and prayed in the synagogues; there were also prayers, although to another God, in the Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants, a beautiful Romanesque building that you shouldn’t miss either.
Taking a little step back in time you can get close to see the colours of the famous houses on the Onyar River. It’s a pretty picture, and also deceptive because you must know that according to the legend in this peaceful city something happened that, sooner or later, will end up causing the end of the world. Listen to the legend:
Charlemagne was here on a particular winter day. The snow had covered the landscape, and the emperor climbed the bell tower of the cathedral to contemplate it. But when he reached the top, his sword fell and sank to the ground with such force that, believe it or not, it is still penetrating the bowels of the Earth. The day that it reaches its centre, the planet will be broken in two, and you will remember this audio-guide and Charlemagne.
And we will finish this audio-guide with the Leona de Girona, a sculpture to which, if you want to return to this city, you have to kiss its feline ass as tradition dictates.