In approximately the XI century the Counts of Empúries relocated their residence to the Vila Castilione, nowadays known as Castelló d’Empúries, which then became the new capital of the county.
In this era the Romanesque Santa Maria church was officially consecrated and took on a gothic architectural style at the end of the XIII century, and is also known as the "Cathedral of l’Empordà". The façade and the altarpiece date from the XV century.
Situated just 9 kms. from Roses, Castelló d’Empuries boasts some of the most interesting examples of religious gothic architecture in Catalonia, housing various medieval convents and civil buildings, the prision and private houses.
By observing the structure of its streets and districts, such as the Jewish quarter, where two synagogues were located, it is easy to imagine another era of knights and ladies from the Templar order.
On the outskirts of Castelló d'Empúries you can find one of the largest butterfly parks in Europe housing more than 1000 exotic and native butterflies.
In a couple of kilometres you arrive at El Cortalet, the Els Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park Information Centre. Organised tours to visit the park are available and you can hire bikes as well as material for observing the flora and fauna.
This natural reserve of more than 4500 hectares illustrates how humans can live in harmony with nature and animals in a landscape of sand dunes, fields and Mediterranean beaches.
Top attactions in Castelló d’Empúries:
- Santa María Church
- Hospital Major or customs house
- Palau dels Comtes; which today is the seat of the town hall
- Santa Clara Monastery (XI century)
- The old prison dating back to medieval times; houses a museum and the headquarters of the historical archive
Special dates to consider when visiting Castelló d’Empúries:
- La Candelera: February 2
- Fira del pa (bread fair); May
- Summer "Festa Major": August 10
- Medieval festival; September 11
Local market; every Tuesday
And more information in ... Castelló d'Empúries