Grand Tour of Catalonia.
Strolling through history
Historically, one way of getting to know a territory for tourism was based on the Grand Tour. A proposed route inspired by the trips made by English aristocrats in the mid-17th century. It is a way of getting to know a tourist destination and getting to know the history, art and culture of a territory. They are trips for pleasure, leisure, business, contact with nature and society, and even educational trips.
#Catalonia is a tourist destination with a wide variety. From sun and beach, mountain, nature, gastronomy, or business tourism, where you can find countless cultural icons, natural landscapes or food and wine pleasures that define the personality of this land, whether in a rural or urban environment. The tourist or visitor can find different proposals and experiences, some of them little known, but very interesting and that complement any travel plan or stay.
In the inland part of Catalonia, there are numerous proposals that connect with history and of which we can highlight some itineraries, bearing in mind that 2022 will be the Ignatian Year , which serves to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the stay of Ignatius of Loyola in the city. An event that aims to boost the attraction not only of Manresa, but of the whole surrounding area in a tour of his cultural, pedagogical, and social work. Manresa and Barcelona have planned numerous activities to commemorate this fifth centenary of the founder of the Jesuit community, including some itineraries and visits that can be used to prepare a walk-through history.
A Tour of history – Cardona
To visit Cardona is to feel history in the making: you can walk around a medieval town, contemplate the grandeur of roman and gothic temples, and relive sieges and battles at the most impregnable of castles. To visit Cardona is to experience finding yourself inside a salt mountain that is unique throughout the world and to enjoy routes through an exceptional natural and rural setting.
The Cardona Medieval Centre was created in 2005 as an interpretive resource for explaining the birth and growth of the town of Cardona, following council policy on protection and promotion of the old town centre.
Cardona and its historic county form part of the tourist-cultural Pyrenean Counties Route (dating from the birth of Catalonia) an initiative from the Department of Culture of the Generalitat. That route brings us to the heart of the formation of the country, in which Cardona played an important role. Very important to visit The Cardona Castle tour provides the opportunity to look around the modern fortress and the old parts of the count’s castle, such as the Minyona Tower and the exceptional collegiate church of Sant Vicenç, jewel of Catalan Lombard Romanesque.
The castle, the undefeated fortress, last bastion of Catalan freedoms, was the seat of the powerful lineage of the count-dukes of Cardona, “the uncrowned kings”, rich salt barons related to the most prominent European families. Around the rich salt deposits and strategic crossing of roads, a medieval town grew up, which was governed by merchants and muleteers who built Cardona’s historic centre, which today is declared a cultural asset of national interest.
A Tour of history – Manresa
Today, the city of Manresa preserves a great heritage legacy that transforms tourists and visitors from all over the world. The Basilica of Santa Maria is its main attraction. It is a Gothic Basilica known as “La Seu” which was designed by Berenguer de Montagut, who had also designed other important works such as the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona.
The architectural concept of “La Seu” is in the Catalan Gothic style, with austere decoration and a predominance of horizontal volumes. Work began in 1328 and the nave was not completed until the end of the 15th century. Of its most outstanding aspects, it is necessary to see the works of art that are preserved inside the church, especially the Gothic style altarpieces. Their image is linked to the Sant Ignasi Cave Sanctuary, and they are the most visible elements at the entrance to Manresa. Today, this cave has become an international centre of spirituality and welcomes visitors from all over the world.
In the surroundings of Manresa, on the one hand, the Abbey of Montserrat and its Romanesque heritage of the most characteristic and magical mountain in Catalonia and, on the other, the Monastery of Sant Benet de Bages stand out. But for lovers of hiking, the Camí Oliba is also a great attraction. It is a Romanesque art route that links the counties of Bages, Osona and Ripollès and allows you to discover the essence of beautiful landscapes, charming villages, and an incredible heritage. The Camí Oliba is like a real museum in the middle of nature, as it allows you to fully enjoy art, culture, and history. Of all the architectural and artistic trends that have existed, the most widespread is the Romanesque style which, in this inland Catalonia, is presented as an integrating element. Accompanied by the traditional gastronomy of the area, it complements a tourist offer that provides an unforgettable experience for the visitor.
And to be faithful to history, it is essential to include a visit to the Heredad y Castell d’Oller del Mas. Stroll through its vineyards, visit the winery and accompany it with a tasting of wines linked to the DO Pla de Bages or lunch in its 964 Restaurant. A visit to this estate dating back to the 10th century is a must.
A Tour of history – Vic
The repopulation of the plain of Vic and the creation of the county of Osona account for Wilfred the Hairy in 878 made possible the reconstruction of the old Auson, of which only the walls remained of the Roman Temple that had been used to build castle. The new town took the name of Vicus Ausonae, ie suburb of Ausona, from which derived the name of Vic. With the city restored the Episcopal seat and the cathedral was built in the floor. 1038 Bishop Oliba consecrated the Romanesque cathedral which have reached today the crypt and the bell.
The privatization of public power typical of medieval times did that Vic was divided in two matches, initially under the jurisdiction of a bishop, which was transferred to the king in 1316, and the other under the jurisdiction of the lords castle: the Moncada. This division mark the life of the city in medieval times, which grow around the cathedral, the castle and the Mercadal and will be surrounded by a wall with towers, rebuilt in the fourteenth century. In 1450, King Alfonso the Magnanimous bought the descendants of the Montcada his departure and thus united the city.
The crisis in the Middle Ages, fighting between factions, including those of nyerros and puppies, and wars with France will enter the city in a period of stagnation. The defeat of the supporters of the Archduke of Austria in the War of Succession in 1714 represented a mess Vic, having taken his side from the beginning.
The economic and demographic revival of the eighteenth century made possible the growth of the city, favored the emergence of important architecture and sculpture workshops, and allowed the construction of numerous civil and religious buildings and the present cathedral.
During the nineteenth century the effects of the French War and the Carline Wars added to the economic crisis which involved the transfer of various industries in the Ter basin. Yet the city recovered thanks to, among other factors, the momentum of construction and the railroad that connected Vic with Barcelona in 1875. At that time, there was also a great cultural renewal operation that recovered Seminar tradition of the old medieval cathedral school and the University of Vic literary seventeenth century. Among the many students of the Seminary are names such as Jaume Balmes, Sant Antoni Maria Claret Verdaguer. Gathered around associations such as the Literary Circle or Flock Vic, they and many others helped with his work that Vic had a prominent role in the literary and political renaissance of the country.
After the break that led to the Civil War and the postwar half of the twentieth century, the city has recovered the weight that had traditionally been within the context of Catalonia.
A walk through the history of Barcelona
For over 200 years, Barcelona was under Muslim rule, and, following the Christian reconquest, it became a county of the Carolingian Empire and one of the main residences of the court of the Crown of Aragon. The fruitful medieval period established Barcelona’s position as the economic and political centre of the Western Mediterranean. The city’s Gothic Quarter bears witness to the splendour enjoyed by the city from the 13th to the 15th centuries.
From the 15th to 18th centuries Barcelona entered a period of decline, while it struggled to maintain its economic and political independence. This struggle ended in 1714, when the city fell to the Bourbon troops and Catalonia’s and Catalans’ rights and privileges were suppressed.
A period of cultural recovery began in the mid-19th century with the arrival of the development of the textile industry. During this period, which was known as the Renaixença, Catalan regained prominence as a literary language.
The 20th century ushered in widespread urban renewal throughout Barcelona city, culminating in its landmark Eixample district, which showcases some of Barcelona’s most distinctive Catalan art-nouveau, or modernist, buildings. The Catalan Antoni Gaudí, one of the most eminent architects, designed buildings such as the Casa Milà (known as La Pedrera, the Catalan for stone quarry), the Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Família church, which have become world-famous landmarks.
The freedoms achieved during this period were severely restricted during the Civil War in 1936 and the subsequent dictatorship. With the reinstatement of democracy in 1978, Barcelona society regained its economic strength, and the Catalan language was restored. The city’s hosting of the 1992 Olympic Games gave fresh impetus to Barcelona’s potential and reaffirmed its status as a major metropolis.
In 2004, the Forum of Cultures reclaimed industrial zones to convert them into residential districts. An example of the renewed vigour with which Barcelona is looking towards the 21st century.
Travelling to the origins and history with these tourist proposals, complemented with wine tourism, gastronomy and architecture programmes #VipXperience make visitors enjoy an unforgettable experience, whether in a group, with the family or privately.