> 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
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.