We decided to have a day around Girona and take in some of the Romanesque sights. These is the Monestir de Sant Daniel, which we knew dated back to the twelfth century. It is a little way out of Girona, and it wasn’t clear that we could easily walk there, so we asked the lady who was in charge of the hostel, and, yes, we could walk there. She gave us directions. The first part was easy–we essentially had to go to the cathedral as we had done several times before. From there it was a matter of finding the right road, and with her directions that was easy too.
We were disappointed when we arrived. Sant Daniel has been completely rebuilt, and not much of it looks Romanesque. Besides, it is still used as a monastery and so we couldn’t go in. Back to Girona.
Our next stop was the Banys Àrabs de Girona, which is a misnomer which became popular in the nineteenth century (they are not Arabian). They were built in 1194 in the Romanesque style (although they may partly be influenced by the baths in Muslim North Africa). They are very interesting. You enter into a change room which has an octagonal pool which is under a cupola which lets light in. The columns with their capitals are very elegant. Next comes the cold room (the frigidarium), then the warm room (thetepidrium), then the hot room (the caldarium), and finally the room for the fire which was used to heat the water (the furnus).
Next we went to the Monestir de Sant Feliu de Girona. This is a Gothic monastery, but the main attraction for us were the eight paleochristian sacophagi from the third and fourth centuries which had been built into the walls of the choir. Unfortunately there is a grill which keeps tourists from wandering into the most sacred part of the church, but you can see them reasonably well. They are wonderful, full of strong movement. Here are some examples of what they are like:
Finally we were able to go to the Cathedral de Santa Maria de Girona. Of the building, only the cloister (twelfth century) and the bell tower remain. You have to pay admission to the treasures and the cloister, but we knew when it was open and timed our visit appropriately. There are many interesting things in the treasure, including two tenth century manuscripts (one illuminated). But the most interesting was the Tapestry of Creation, an eleventh or twelfth century textile. We could not take pictures, but here is a link to the Wikipedia article.
We were able to take pictures of the capitals in the cloister. Here are some examples: