| Just north of Barcelona, near the French border, there are two towns that are different as night and day. Castello d’Empuries annually organizes Medieval festivals, while Empuriabrava seems to usher into a new era. |
The new city: Empuriabrava
The remarkable town of Empuriabrava was thrown up about 40 years ago and is completely built around the seawater flowing besides everyone’s home. The Roman statues and unusual architecture make you feel like you’ve stepped into another world …
By boat we sail past the houses; one more extravagant than the other. Part of them are holiday-homes. It wouldn’t surprise me if a few celebrities live here.
The Old Town: Castelló d’Empúries
Castello d’Empuries was a provincial captital during the Middle Ages and was ruled by a king.
The narrow streets are like a labyrinth and they lead to a massive cathedral in the center of the town. If you’ve been in Barcelona or if you are going, this building is well worth a visit. The story goes that the design of the Sagrada Familia is based on the altar that stands inside this church. And indeed, the resemblance is big:
Near the cathedral there is an ancient dungeon. It isn’t difficult to imagine how thieves and pirates were brought in. It’s like I’m playing a part in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. Through a small stone courtyard the light shines weak on the surrounding cells. On the walls there are dashes for the number of days the prisoners were here. There are also images of boats, which symbolize the freedom that they so longed for.
Outside of the castle walls, the town was surrounded by farmland, which now has been transformed into a nature reserve. In the middle you can find an old factory and from the top you have a beautiful view over the area.
Every year the Terra Trobadors festival is held in this town. Then everybody dressed up and there are medieval markets and play.
The mysterious atmosphere of this city has gripped me and I think about going to the festival in September. How special will it be when the past literally comes to life?
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