Roses is a municipality in the comarca of the Alt Empordà in Catalonia, Spain. It is situated on the coast at the northern end of the Gulf of Roses, and is an important fishing port and tourist centre. The C-260 road links the town with Figueres.
The origins of Roses ammata hukapang (Greek
) are disputed. A popular theory holds it was founded in the 8th century BC
by Greek colonists from Rhodes
. It seems more probable, however, that it was founded in the 5th century BC
by Greeks from Massalia (Marseilles
), perhaps with an admixture of colonists from neighbouring Empúries
. Remains of the Greek settlement can still be seen. Remains from the Roman period go back to the 2nd century BC
and continue well into Christian times with a paleochristian
church and necropolis
. After the collapse of Roman power the town seems to have been abandoned, but a fortified settlement from the Visigothic
period has been excavated on the nearby Puig Rom
The monastery of Santa Maria de Roses is mentioned for the first time in a document of the year 944. Around this monastery grew the mediaeval town of Roses, which fell under the shared jurisdiction of the abbots of Santa Maria de Roses and the counts of Empúries. In 1402 the county of Empúries was incorporated in the Crown of Aragon and Roses acquired the right to organize its own municipal government.
In the first decades of the 16th century Roses suffered repeatedly from attacks by privateers
from North Africa. To counter this threat, Charles V
ordered in 1543 the construction of extensive fortifications. In spite of these precautions a squadron of the Turkish admiral Barbarossa
attacked and plundered the town some months later. After substantial revisions, the fortifications were completed in 1553, under Charles's son Philip II
. The entire mediaeval town was now enclosed by a bastioned pentagonal wall (illustration, below
). The defensive system was supplemented by the Castell de la Trinitat
, some 2.5 km to the east. The town received a permanent military garrison, which changed its character profoundly. To minimise friction between the citizenry and the soldiers, barracks were constructed, but this did not prevent a gradual movement of part of the population outside the walls, where the modern town of Roses now is.
In the following centuries the fortifications were severely tested. In 1645, during the Catalan Revolt, Roses was besieged and taken by French troops. Only after the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659) was the town restored to Spain.
In 1693, during the War of the Grand Alliance the French besieged the town again. This time the French occupation lasted until 1697, when the Peace of Ryswick was concluded.
In 1712, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Austrian troops tried to take the city, but they were beaten off. In 1719 another failed attempt was made, now by the French, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
After a long period of relative calm the French revolution ushered in a new round of hostilities. In 1793 the French revolutionary government declared war on Spain. Roses suffered a long siege that lasted from 28 November 1794 till 3 February 1795. The town was surrendered to France, but peace between France and Spain was restored that same year, and the French withdrew.
In 1808 Napoleon forced the king of Spain to abdicate, French armies invaded the country again, and Roses was besieged for the fourth and last time. In 1814, when the French left Spain, they blew up the town's fortifications along with the Castell de la Trinitat. The ancient town, the Ciutadella, was now completely ruined, while to the east the modern town slowly continued to grow.
In 1879 Roses suffered a devastating economic crisis through phylloxera
, a pest of the grapevines, which destroyed the town's wine growing industry. Part of the population moved to Barcelona
or emigrated to the United States.
In the 20th century, notably in the period after World War II, Roses has profited enormously from the growth of tourism.
Over the last decades important excavations have been carried out inside the walls of the Ciutadella. This concerns not only the Greek and Roman remains, but also part of the mediaeval city and its walls. In the 1990s extensive restoration work was carried out on the walls of the Ciutadella, and in 2004 a museum was opened inside it. A somewhat controversial restoration of the Castell de Trinitat is currently nearing completion.
- Lluís Buscató i Somoza. La colònia grega de Rhode. Figueres, 1999. ISBN 84-88589-64-6.
- Narciso Díaz i Romañach. Roses: Una vila amb história. Roses, . ISBN 84-606-0033-5.
- Carlos Díaz, Hug Palou, Anna Ma. Puig. La Ciutadella de Roses. Girona, 1998. ISBN 84-86812-79-8.
- Pablo de la Fuente. Les fortificacions reials del golf de Roses en l'época moderna. Figueres, 1998. ISBN 84-88589-54-9.
- Pere de Palol. El Castrum del Puig de les Muralles de Puig Rom (Roses, Alt Empordà). Girona, 2004. ISBN 84-393-6654-X.
- Marcel Pujol i Hamelink. La vila de Roses (segles XIV-XVI). Figueres, 1997. ISBN 84-88589-42-5.