Roses, Girona

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Roses (Spanish: Rosas) is a municipality in the comarca of the Alt Empordà in Catalonia, Spain. It is situated on the coast at the northern end of the Gulf of Roses, and is an important fishing port and tourist centre. The C-260 road links the town with Figueres.

Contents

History

Early history

The origins of Roses (Greek: Rhode) are disputed. A popular theory holds it was founded in the 8th century BC by Greek colonists from Rhodes. It seems more probable, however, that it was founded in the 5th century BC by Greeks from Massalia (Marseilles), perhaps with an admixture of colonists from neighbouring Empúries. Remains of the Greek settlement can still be seen. Remains from the Roman period go back to the 2nd century BC and continue well into Christian times with a paleochristian church and necropolis. After the collapse of Roman power the town seems to have been abandoned, but a fortified settlement from the Visigothic period has been excavated on the nearby Puig Rom.

The monastery of Santa Maria de Roses is mentioned for the first time in a document of the year 944. Around this monastery grew the mediaeval town of Roses, which fell under the shared jurisdiction of the abbots of Santa Maria de Roses and the counts of Empúries. In 1402 the county of Empúries was incorporated in the Crown of Aragon and Roses acquired the right to organize its own municipal governmentand the economy

Fortification

In the first decades of the 16th century Roses suffered repeatedly from attacks by privateers from North Africa. To counter this threat, Charles V ordered the construction of extensive fortifications in 1543. In spite of these precautions, a naval squadron led by the Turkish admiral Barbarossa attacked and plundered the town some months later. After substantial revisions, the fortifications were completed in 1553, under Charles's son Philip II. The entire medieval town was now enclosed by a bastioned pentagonal wall (illustration, below). The defensive system was supplemented by the Castell de la Trinitat, some 2.5 km to the east. The town received a permanent military garrison, which changed its character profoundly. To minimise friction between the citizenry and the soldiers, barracks were constructed, but this did not prevent a gradual movement of part of the population outside the walls, where the modern town of Roses now is.

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