History

Coat of Arms of Granollers Referències
Coat of Arms of Granollers Referències (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Granollers is the capital of the Valles Oriental in the province of Barcelona. There is evidence going back 4000 years showing life and activity here. The city has been through many changes and transformations and the slightly sleepy place you see now has a long and interesting history.

What does the name mean? 

Perhaps it comes from the Latin word for frog, Granolla,  there are many here on the banks of the river Congost. Another possibility is that it refers to the emblem bird of the city, the Gralla. A third option is that it is do with the important trade in grains which was central to the development of the city in Roman times. The Roman name, Granularios Subteriore, was first recorded in 944 and marks the earliest written reference to the town.

Granollers is a market town.  The weekly market has been taking place since at least 1040 and for centuries it was the most important trading place for cereals.  Prosperity led to further town development and many buildings were built in the 16th C which was generally a stable and peaceful period here. The weekly market, with its ancient roots, happens every Thursday, with very few exceptions.

The 19th C brought industry, road improvements and the arrival of the train. There are two railway lines passing through Granollers which make it remarkably well connected to the surrounding area.

The city expanded in the early part of the 20th C and two out-lying areas (Lledone and Palou)  were brought into the city boundaries.    Seen from above, Granollers stretches along the banks of the river Congost like a long and thin snake. It lies in a valley bordered by mountains.

One of the important industries here was textiles. There were large and small factories providing work while creating a distinctive noise as the machinery would sometimes be working 24 hours a day. The industrialisation of Granollers also contributed to the pollution of the region and it is only in recent times that the water of the river and the air we breathe has been cleaned  up.

The late 20th C saw the end of the textile industry and many of the factories were converted into art centres, one large example being Roca Umbert.

The patron saint of Granollers is Sant Esteve and the main church is named for him.

Sant Esteve church in Granollers, Catalonia
Sant Esteve church in Granollers, Catalonia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 16th C the church was built over the site of a Romanic one but it was destroyed during the civil war and rebuilt later with only some parts remaining of the Gothic structure.

The Festa Major of Granollers is in late August when the whole town is taken over by a week-long celebration of music, food, dance, theatre and games. In the past the smaller districts also had their local festas. Some continue but on a much smaller scale.

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