Lloret de Mar Coat of ArmsThe history of the city reflects the friendly and hospitable character of its inhabitants. Oldest archaeological artifacts date back to the 4th and 3rd century BC, when Iberian tribes that inhabited the Montbarbat  and the Puig de Castellet took over the region of the current Lloret de Mar. Since Iberians were engaged in trade with the neighboring people, the region gained access to iron tools and pottery from Greece and Rome. Later, Romans repopulated the area of Lloret and established trade relations with neighboring settlements of Empuries and Barcelona.

 

The name of the town of Lloret is first mentioned in 966 AD as LOREDO. Scientists believe that the name comes from the Latin word Lauretum, which means “a place where laurel trees grow”. Nowadays, the laurel tree can be found on Lloret de Mar’s coat of arms.

 

In 1001, Counts of Barcelona, Ramon Borrell and Ermessenda  separated Lloret de Mar from Macanedo, the area it belonged to, and handed the city to the Viscount of Girona – Sunifred. This period is associated as well with the construction of the castle of Sant Joan (Castell de Sant Joan).

Castell De Sant Joan - Lloret de Mar

Built on top of the mountain between the beaches of Lloret and Fenals, the castle served as a watchtower and a refuge for local residents during the attacks of sea pirates, Turks, French and British. At the same time was built the parish church of Sant Roma (the modern name – Nostra Senyora de les Alegries). Despite numerous restructurings, the church has retained features of the Romanesque style. During that period of time the settlement was a cluster of randomly arranged houses, most of which were located at a safe distance from the shore.

 

However, gradually, some families began to build their homes near the coast, taking advantage of the opportunity to find refuge from attacks from the sea at the Castle of Sant Joan. Residents of coastal communities mainly engaged in trade and fishing. With time, trade relations have expanded and reached some coastal cities in Italy, which, in turn, influenced the culture, traditions and even the names of the inhabitants of Lloret de Mar.

Lloret de Mar Promenade Construction

At the beginning of the XVI century in the heart of the city, which by that time moved to the coast, a new parish church was built. The building was erected in a Catalan-Gothic style and was completed in 1522. The church also served as a refuge for the faithful during pirate raids. The bell tower was surrounded by a wall with loopholes, and the only possible way of entering the church was through the gate with a drawbridge over a deep ditch.

 

In the middle of the XVIII century, residents of Lloret started to engage in somewhat illegitimate maritime expeditions to Central and South America. The decree of King Carlos III, published in 1778, that granted free trade between Spain and her American colonies, gave impetus to the beginning of shipbuilding in Lloret. Thus, between 1812 and 1869 were built 130 ships. The result of which was: the development of trade, enriched Lloret de Mar residents, and a prosperous city. The ships went to Havana, Montevideo and Buenos Aires with cargo of wines, oils, textiles, salt, flour and other local goods and returned to Catalonia with cotton, valuable timber, sugar, hides, tobacco, coffee, rum etc.

 

Shortly after, Lloret de Mar turned into a city with elegant streets and squares, populated by young and wealthy widows.

 

The town started developing – a City Hall was built, the church was rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style, and a couple of schools were established. In the period between 1880 and 1920, the city’s appearance kept changing significantly. But over time, the flow of wealthy immigrants began to decline.  After the 20s the city entered a period of economic stagnation, which lasted about 30 years.

Lloret de Mar City Hall Old

Initiated efforts to develop tourism industry in the 30s were ended by the Civil War. It was only in 1950, with the rise of the tourist boom, that Lloret de Mar had once again become popular and was transformed into a modern resort. The old manors gave way to hotels and tourist facilities, forests and fields were replaced with new houses.
Tourism development gave the city a lot of hotels and shops, sports facilities, as well as a large number of recreational facilities. Today, Lloret de Mar is a city where history lives in close proximity to the present, local traditions to cosmopolitanism, national pride to the warmth and hospitality.

 

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