LET’S DISCOVER CATALONIA BY THE 5TH GROUP OF LES ESCOLES DE GURB 2006 Index 2. HERITAGE AND HISTORY 1. WHERE IS CATALONIA? 3. OUR COUNTRY 4. FOLKLORE AND TRADITION 5. CATALAN FOOD AND DRINK . 6. PRODUCTION
LET’S DISCOVER CATALONIA BY THE 5TH GROUP OF LES ESCOLES DE GURB 2006
Catalonia is situated in the North East of the Iberian Peninsula, It has more than six million inhabitants and has a surface area of 31,980km 2 , which makes it comparable in size to Switzerland.
LES ESCOLES AND GURB Les Escoles is the name of our school. Nowadays the school has 212 pupils. It is situated in the centre of Catalonia in a village called Gurb, next to the city of Vic. Gurb is in a rural area with large fields and some woodland.
Catalonia has a history that goes back over an entire millennium. It has seen the arrival of various races, such as the Iberians, the Celts, the Greeks, who founded the colonies of Rhode(Roses) and Emporion (Empúries)and the Romans, who established one of their provincial capitals in Tarragona. The Visigoths and Arabs have also had and important influence in Catalonia’s past.
Remains of Emporion
In the 12 th Century, the principality of Barcelona was united with its neighbour Aragon by the marriage of Ramon Berenguer IV and Petronila of Aragon creating the Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon , which was a powerful maritime trading empire. The political and legal status of the Catalan-Aragonese Crown was maintained until 1714,the year in which king Philip V took the throne in Spain. Since that time the Catalonian people have struggled peacefully to recover their rights and freedoms. 2. HERITAGE AND HISTORY Tarragona has Roman ruins. If one moves along the Mediterranean coast, the amphitheatre can be seen which was designated as a World Heritage site.
2. HERITAGE AND HISTORY The native language of Catalonia is Catalan. The origins of Catalan date back to the Middle Ages and, although it has suffered phases of prohibition and repression throughout history, it is now used by the majority of Catalans. With the restoration of democracy in 1979, Catalan and Spanish were recognised as the official languages of the territory. The oldest text in Catalan is the "Homilies d'Organyà", written at least 800 years ago. Since then, much has been written in Catalan so that now we have a rich literary tradition. Here is an example: Tirant Lo Blanc
2. HERITAGE AND HISTORY One of the most significant episodes in Catalan history was the restoration of self-government in 1979, when the Spanish Parliament passed the current Statute of Autonomy, which was later passed by decree of the Catalan people. The Catalan Parliment. Today Catalonia is an autonomous community within Spain. The Generalitat of Catalonia is the institution which governs the country. The Statute of Autonomy is part of the Spanish Constitution.
Girona is the main city of the Costa Brava. There is a community of artists and writers within the medieval town. In Figueres we find the Dali museum. Dalí is one of the most important artists in Catalonia and is well known abroad for his unusual character and surrealist works.
The Coastal area has a typically Mediterranean climate. Summers are not very hot and winters are warm. Rainfall is not abundant. The countryside changes little throughout the seasons. There are large white pine and stone pine forests, combined with hazel woods. However during the last few years many hazel woods have been substituted by pine.
At school we have some examples of Mediterranean trees, which have been planted and cared for by the children.
The Terres de Lleida covers Catalonia’s western region, the capital of which is Lleida. This is an important trading city with many monuments and fine culture.
The area is full of character, ranging from the olive fields of the Garrigues, the mountainous regions of Noguera (Montsec), and the plains of the Urgell canal. It includes rich towns like Cervera, Balaguer and Tàrrega, and the Vallbona de les Monges and Bellpuig de les Avellanes monasteries.
It is also an important fruit-growing and horticultural area. It produces local wines from costers del Segre and is famous for its cuisine. The weather is extremely dry in summer.
The Pyrennean region covers a major part of northern Catalonia consisting of the impressive Pyrennes mountain range and also the Pre-Pyrennes. The area has an important Romanesque heritage (Val de Boí, a UNESCO world Heritage Listing, la Seu d’urgell, Ripoll, Besalú, etc.) And includes a national park (Aigüestortes and the Sant Maurici Lake), nature reserves such the Volcanic area of Garrotxa and colourful towns (Puigcerdà, Olot etc.)
The summers are quite cool and the winters are very cold. Rainfall is abundant and it snows quite often in winter.
3. OUR COUNTRY 3.4. The Pyrennes
3. OUR COUNTRY The Pyrennes Aigüestortes Park and Sant Maurice Lake
3. OUR COUNTRY The climate is Atlantic. Rainfall is very abundant, temperatures are cold and it has some winds from the Atlantic Ocean. We can find pine and fir forests, Beech trees, Chestnuts trees, Elms and Ash trees. T he Vall d’Aran area lies on the western edges of the Catalan Pyrenees, in the north-west of the country. It is located on the northern slopes of the Pyrenees. Its river is called the Garone and it is surrounded by very high peaks.
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is one of the most important cities in the western Mediterranean. Established in Roman times, the city has grown to be a leading centre of culture in Europe with a strong economic base. Nowadays it has a population of 1,510,000 but this number increases dramatically if you count its surroundings.
Barcelona has lovely warm weather, with pleasant temperatures
all year around.
3. OUR COUNTRY 3.5. Barcelona, capital of Catalonia Palau St. Jordi Calatrava’s Bridge Passeig de Gràcia. As seen from the roof of La Pedrera Generalitat de Catalunya Parc Güell The Beach Port Olímpic
The giants are figures that are more than three metres high carried by people using a wooden structure. The capgrossos ; are big heads made of cardboard paste. They warm up the main festivities with their dances and take part in processions.
4.1. The traditional giants
The devils or demons dance and run around streets and hold crowns with fireworks on the top. From time to time they explode and people run so as not to get burnt. This kind of “game” is celebrated in different towns, usually during the main festivals, or on special days. Children, teenagers, men and, women join the crowds. It ‘s a fun and enjoyable experience. Children love it, but it is also a bit dangerous. Participants disguised as demons. 4. FOLKLORE AND TRADITION 4.2. Fire Festivals: the correfoc
At the midsummer in the “revetlla de Sant Joan” large bonfires are built. 4. FOLKLORE AND TRADITION 4.2. Fire Festivals: the Revetlla de Sant Joan
The human towers are formed in street festivals and consist of pyramids formed of people. The one who is on the top is the smallest one. People climb up on to other people, as if they were stairs. There are many people on the ground, to care for people who might fall down and to make the base of the tower stronger.
The “castellers” are very popular in a large number of towns and are named from their town of origin.
4.3. Human towers “the castellers” 4. FOLKLORE AND TRADITION
The sardana is the most popular dance in Catalonia. The dancers form a circle holding hands. They follow different types of steps according to the music. The music is provided by a small group of musicians playing mainly brass instruments. The Sardana is performed everywhere in Catalonia mostly during the main festivities.
This is the major festival in Spring and takes place on the 23rd of April. Saint George is the patron saint of Catalonia. The day is dedicated to the book and the rose ,gifts which are exchanged by friends and lovers.
This fantastic festival is a national holiday throughout Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, reflecting the local importance of The Diada and the affirmation of Catalonian nationality it signifies. September 11th is the anniversary of the day in 1714 when the Franco-Spanish army captured Barcelona, ending the region's autonomous status. The annual commemoration of one of the most bloody and controversial episodes of Catalonia's history is a genuinely patriotic expression of emotion by the Catalonian people, and visitors to the region.
La Diada de Catalunya is enjoyed in a unique Catalan style offering everyone a fantastic day of parties, including fireworks and is marked by huge parades in cities, towns and villages across Catalonia. The streets and balconies of the towns are customarily decorated with a sea of Catalan flags and lined with people anticipating the amazing processions. The Catalonian themed parade is accompanied by traditional music and sardana dancing that continues throughout the day.
People drink wine and Cava at celebrations. Cava is a sparkling wine like Champagne but made in Catalonia.
5. CATALAN FOOD AND DRINK Cava and wine cellars 5.2. Wine and cava
In Catalonia pork is eaten by most families. “Embotits”(Catalan sausages) especially those from Vic are famous. There are different varieties of sausages, such as black and white “botifarra”; “llonganisa” traditional sausages flavoured with herbs and spices and “pernil” which is air-cured ham from a leg of pork. 5. CATALAN FOOD AND DRINK. 5.3. Embotits
Tomato is rubbed on a slide of bread which is then season with olive oil, salt and sometimes garlic. Bread prepared in this way combines well a with cooked sausage and cold meat of all kinds, cheese, anchovies, etc... This is a tasty, simple food for to get-toghether with friends or family.