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Catalonia Holidays

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Romans & Greeks

Romans & Greeks

Catalonia wouldn't be Catalonia without Empúries.

First settled by the Greeks, seeking new horizons over two and a half millennia ago, this was a trading port thrown together next to where the Fluvià River used to flow into the sea. Once established, ceramics, cloth, metal and cereal crops flowed freely around the Mediterranean, bolstering the coffers of this Carthaginian outpost.

Life followed a seemingly sweet rhythm for many years, until much later when Empúries became a walled city of refugees as the motherland empire was felled by Persians.

Then the Romans turned up and things got interesting...

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Spain catalonia empuries roman mosaic copyright Thomas Power Pura Aventura

What makes Empúries particularly interesting for you is that you can wander between the Greek statues of Aesclepius, around the central agora main square and past the mosaiced floors of the banqueting hall, then walk directly towards the mosaiced floors of a Roman city. One foot in Athens, the other in Rome. The agora is now the forum, the Greek statues now Roman columns.

It is the only place on the Iberian Peninsula that vestiges of these two great empires rub shoulders.

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Spain catalonia empuries chris bladon 15

Then there's the setting.

Rows of lush pine trees loll left and right in the gentle breeze. Behind them, the golden sands of a small Costa Brava beach, the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean sea and the shimmering white façades of a not-so-far-off village, spillIng down the hillside. Bright green monk parakeets squawk loudly overhead. Out there in the hinterland, far out of view, are the fertile plains in which the Romans cultivated olive oil, wine and cereal crops from their country houses.

History, entwined with nature, under a cloudless sky and a generous sun. Life in ancient times was probably harder than we might imagine for the Greeks and Romans, but boy what a special place to call home.

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