Sunday, 15 March 2009

Calella

Calella is a fine town to the north of Barcelona. The old part of the town consists of a long, straight shopping street with a number of small squares along it's length and, of course, a church at it's heart. According to the official Calella website, the first mention of the name Calella was in the 12th century as the town grew up from a few fishermen's houses built close to the mouth of the river. It continued as a small settlement of fishermen for some hundreds of years.There was a long period of stagnation due to the wars and plagues of the 17th century. In 1714, after the war of Succession, the town began a long period of sustained growth, going from 768 inhabitants in 1718 to 2,637 in 1787. At the same time the traditional activities of agriculture and fishing were complemented with the construction of ships and needlework. Thanks to the new trade routes with the American colonies and the growth of the fishing industry, the region benefited enormously. Emigration to these new markets and the success of many traders, who returned years later, helped the economic development of the town.
According to the traveller Francisco de Zamora, who visited the region in 1790, Calella had some 550 houses, a fleet of 5 ships weighing four tons and 60 fishing boats; there were 370 men registered as fishermen and needlework occupied almost a thousand women. The traditional industry of knitwear was also developed in that period. In 1767 the first loom had arrived and by 1790 there were already more than 200, devoted to the manufacture of silk and cotton stockings.
The 18th century baroque parish church of Saint Maria and Saint Nicolau, preserves the magnificent reliefs of Jean de Tours at the front door, originally from the altar of the 16th century primitive temple.

The railways arrived in Calella in 1861 and this aided the town's commercial side. There are still some fantastic old properties along the railway line which separates the town from the seafront and the beautiful promenades. Historical notes taken from HERE.

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