History of Torroella, Catalonia, Spain

The mountains of Montgrí has been inhabited since the earliest times in history, as has been shown by the archaeological remains found in the Cau del Duc and in the Cau del Duc d'Ullà.

Although some of these remains are of the Lower Palaeolithic (150.000 years B.C.), it would appear that the mountains were abandoned for the duration of the entire Neolithic period. The next signs of human habitation come from the period stretching from 2.500 to 1.800 B.C. Several finds relating to funeral rites have been made from this period.

The Roman influence in the area dates from the beginning in the 2nd. century B.C., taking advantage of the rich agricultural land of the area (La Fonollera) and the estuary of the river Ter. There is evidence of a Roman road running from river Ter up to Empúries, via Torre Ponsa.

From the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries it was the seat of a powerful feudal family who tried to attract new settlers. IN the 13th century the lords of Torroella, under Jaume I, took part in the conquest of the Balearic Islands.

Eventually Torroella came to be a royal township, as the king was interested in the town's strategic value, bordering the earldom of Empúries. And the construction of the town walls began - a small part of the walls is still standing

Torroella was developed with a classical layout, with two streets, one running from east to west and the other from north to south, and where they intersect is the Plaça de la Vila.

A long running dispute between the Earls of Empúries and Jaume II over control of the River Ter. The Earl of Empúries built the castles of Bellcaire and Albons. Jaume II, ordered the building of the fortress which now stands at the summit of Montgrí.

During the 15th century the town flourished with an increase of population, and was the country residence of various monarchs. The waning of Torroella came with its fall from royal favour in the 16th century. during this time pirates used the Medes Islands as a base to attack the coast here. Towers which are still standing were built to protect the local population. They are either side of the road linking Torroella to L'Estartit.

Despite these difficult years, it was during that time that the parish church was built. With parts from both 14th and 15th centuries, the church is like a small Gothic cathedral. Its façade and bell-tower are eighteenth-century.

 

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