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Central Catalonia

Spain > Central Catalonia

Central Catalonia

Central Catalonia is a tourist region encompassing five comarques: Anoia, Bages, Osona, Valles Oriental and Valles Occidental. The Precoastal Range runs along it like a backbone: it begins in the Ancosa hills, rises abruptly from the plain at Montserrat, and forms a continuous line from the ranges of Obac and Sant Lloreng del Munt to the Gallifa and Berti escarpments before reaching its highest point in the Montseny massif. On either side lies flatter land: the Odena basin, the plains of Bages and Vic to the north, and the precoastal depression of Valles in the south. Other highlands, including the Pinos and Castelltallat ranges, the plateaus of Moianes and Uuganes, and the Collsacabra hills, form the northern boundaries of Central Catalonia.

The chief cities of the west of the region are Igualada and Manresa and the latter makes no secret of its aspiration to be the capital of the entire heartland. The focal point of the eastern part - watered by the Teris the city of Vic, which rises in the midst of the mountain-rimmed plain that bears its name. The cities of Valles - Terrassa, Sabadell and Granollers - stand on the very edge of the Barcelona metropolitan area. Aside from its major towns, Central Catalonia also has several sub- regions, each with a personality of its own: Moianbs, lying round its chief town, Moilluganbs, slightly farther north, with Prats de Lluganes as its focal point; and finally Alta Segarra, in northern Anoia, with Calaf as its capital. Together these regions and cities form a rich and diverse mosaic.

The present structure of Central Catalonia is a rect legacy from medieval times. In the early Middle Ages, people lived in constant fear of Moorish raids. But when finally the insecurity was over, many farmers and tradesmen who had fled to the Pyrenean foothills moved down into Central Catalonia. The Catalan counts and the most powerful religious institutions, such as the diocese of Vic and the monastery of Sant Cugat del Valles, offered them farmland to encourage them to resettle the area and built many new parish churches, monasteries and fortresses. Our present-day cities and towns grew up around these buildings. The ancient structure is Still plainly visible in the wooded highlands with their hamlets and scattered farmhouses, in the layout of the old quarters of major cities, and in the rich and plentiful architectural heritage.

 
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