76 Rio Onyar Girona[1]

Girona is a city located in the northeast of Catalonia, and is the regional capital of the Girona province and of the administrative region known as Gironés. It is included, according to the General Terrirorial Plan of Catalonia, in the administrative region of Girona and in the  Urban System, The city lies at the confluence of four rivers Ter, Onyar, Güell and Galligants, and  at a height of 75 m above sea level. It limits on Sant Julia de Ramis to the north, on Sarria de Ter Celrà to the east, on both Juià and Quart to south-east, on Fornells de la Selva, Vilablareix and Salt to the south-west, and on St. Gregory to the west.

The city of Girona had 97,656 inhabitants in 2012. Its Historic city center, or Old Quarter, is one of the most evocative of Catalonia, with monumental elements that are unique in Europe. It is limited by the so-called Passeig de la Murallal, a night-watch road that encircles the ancient walls, which date from the Charlemagne period (IX century) and the Middle Ages (XIV and XV centuries). Its monuments include the Call (one of the best preserved old Jewish Quarters  in Spain); as well as the famous and colorful Cases de l’Onyar;  and a very large central nave in the Cathedral,  which is the widest of the Gothic style.

Geography and climate

The climate of Girona is Mediterranean and within the limits of the fundamental characteristic of this type of climate -the summer drought is barely perceived some years in the Girona area, with an oscillation between cold winters and hot summers, with temperatures above 30ºC/86ºF; while frosts are common-between December and February, all of which determines a more extreme climate than that found in the coastline, although far from those extreme levels found in the continental interior regions of Catalonia.

Girona is within the temperate zone. Average temperatures range between 13ºC/55.4ºF and 17°C/62.6ºF. The province is colder compared to the North and the West, while warmer areas are located on the coast (as this is influenced by the warm sea water of the Mediterranean). Temperatures in the mountains are always lower than those measured in the plain, although they are warmer on the coast. Frosts are related to the low temperatures and they indeed represent a serious danger; nevertheless, only the coastal strip of Girona is almost exempt from this phenomenon. The frequency of rainfall is higher in the east and the mountains, and lower in the flat lands.

Foundation  of Gerunda (The old Girona)

The first settlers were the Iberians, who belonged to the indiget tribes, and who were located at villages on the high areas surrounding the plains of Girona, such as the gorge where is found the current village known as Sant Julia de Ramis. During the wars of Sertorius (82-72 BC), around 77 BC Pompeu erected an oppidum (fortified stronghold) on the Via Heraclea (the future Via Augusta) in order to defend the city and fight against the seditious Sertorius, and against the popular factions that had, which had risen in arms in the Roman Hispania against Sulla, of the optimates faction, which controlled the power in Rome.

That is why, and for military needs, the Roman citizens of that time founded the original Girona, which was known at that time as Gerunda, the etymology of which has not yet been clarified, although it could mean “between Undarius “which was the name given to the current river the Iberian language.

The new city of Gerunda became home to the ancient inhabitants of the town of Sant Julia de Ramis, who apparently were forced to move to the Girona oppidum. The Roman Girona became the defensive bulwark erected at the entry of the Via Augusta towards Hispania,  and became an important center of the region thanks to the establishment of  a Roman military emplacement around the city of Girona. In summary, both units made up the cities of Girona, which was the basic and essential part of the territorial Roman organization. Although Gerunda was located in the inland and away from the coast, it had a good connection with the Roman port Empúries, which represented the first Roman stronghold in northeastern mainland that was colonized during the Second Punic War together with the Greek settlement, which in fact was already present at that time.

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