Cerdanya (Catalan pronunciation: [səɾˈðaɲə]) or often La Cerdanya (Latin: Ceretani or Ceritania, French: Cerdagne, Spanish: Cerdaña), is a natural comarca and historical region of the eastern Pyrenees divided between France and Spain. Historically it was one of the counties of Catalonia.
Cerdanya has a land area of 1,086 km2 (419 sq mi), divided almost evenly between Spain (50.3%) and France (49.7%). In 2001 its population was approximately 26,500, of whom 53% lived on Spanish territory. Its population density is 24 residents per km² (63 per sq. mile). The only urban area in Cerdanya is the cross-border urban area of Puigcerdà-Bourg-Madame, which contained 10,900 inhabitants in 2001.
The area enjoys a high annual amount of sunshine – around 3,000 hours per year. For this reason, pioneering large-scale solar power projects have been built in several locations in French Cerdagne, including Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via, the Themis plant near Targassonne, and Mont-Louis Solar Furnace in Mont-Louis.
Spring landscape of the Cerdanya in Llívia.
Map showing the Higher and Lower Cerdanya
|Elevation||1,100 m (3,600 ft)|
In the first millennium BC came the Iberians from the south. Although their identity is still a matter of debate, some theories posit that they spoke an Afro-Asiatic language, and that they separated from the Berbers in North Africa and moved into Spain and then further north to the south of modern-day France. In Cerdanya they probably mixed with the native inhabitants, and the resulting people were known as the Kerretes, from the native word ker or kar, meaning rock, related to old Basque karri (modern Basque harri), stone.
The Kerretes were probably essentially of Basque and Aquitanian-related stock, as the Iberian clans who mixed with the native inhabitants can have comprised only small numbers of people. The Kerretes retained a language related to old Basque and Aquitanian, although some Iberian words may have entered the language, and Iberians probably occupied positions at the top of the Kerrete society.
The main oppidum of the Kerretes, commanding the whole country, was called Kere and was built on the hill above the modern-day village of Llívia (a Spanish exclave in French territory). Later the Kerretes came under Roman rule, and the Romans renamed the oppidum Julia Lybica, with a significant number of Roman citizens settling there. During the Roman Empire, the area of Cerdanya was a pagus known as pagus Liviensis (a name derived from its capital Julia Lybica), part of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis. The pagus Liviensis was itself divided in two: the eastern part around Julia Lybica was known as Cerretania Julia, while the western part was known as Cerretania Augusta. The name Cerdanya comes from Cerretania, itself coming from the old name of the inhabitants, the Kerretes. As for Julia Lybica, the name evolved into Julia Livia and then Llívia.
The Kerretes seem to have kept their old language until very late, probably as late as the 8th or 9th century. Romanization in the area was extremely slow, even though eventually the native language gave way, and the people in Cerdanya ended up speaking Catalan, a language derived from Latin. At the end of the Roman Empire, Julia Lybica entered a period of decadence, and lost much of its importance. It is around this time that the town of La Seu d'Urgell (in Catalonia, but outside of Cerdanya) started to replace Julia Lybica as the main center of population in that area of northern Catalonia, and in the 6th century when the diocese (bishopric) of Urgell was founded, Cerdanya was inside its limits.
Devastated by the Vandals and other Germanic tribes, Cerdanya was part of the Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse and later Toledo, until eventually it was conquered by the Muslims. After Muslim expansion was halted by Odo the Great in the Battle of Toulouse (721), the Berber commander Uthman ibn Naissa established a small realm in Cerdanya and allied with Odo, so that the Aquitanian leader could secure his south-eastern borders. However, Uthman ibn Naissa came next under Umayyad attack and the Berber lord was defeated, opening the way to Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi's expedition into Aquitaine. During Abd al-Rahman I´s military campaign across the Ebro region (781), the Cordovan commander received the submission of Ibn Belaskut, or Galindo Belascotenes, in Cerdanya. Under Carolingian pressure, Cerdanya became a Frankish vassal about 785.
The county of Cerdanya has its origin in the Spanish Marches established by Charlemagne. In the 9th century Cerdanya was one of the lordships united in the person of the counts of Barcelona, who were also counts of Girona, Narbonne and Urgell. Wilfred the Hairy (count 870–897) had three sons and established the youngest, Miron (died 927), as Count of Cerdanya, a sovereign state.
The sovereign county of Cerdanya bordered the county of Urgell, the county of Barcelona, the county of Besalú, the county of Roussillon, and the county of Razès. The county of Cerdanya was made up of Cerdanya proper with the addition of other areas which it managed to acquire over time through inheritance, such as Capcir and Conflent. Thus, the county of Cerdanya was actually quite an important county. The counts of Cerdanya were great patrons of abbeys, most famously Saint-Michel de Cuxa (Catalan: Sant Miquel de Cuixà), dating back to the 10th century and located in Conflent, and Saint-Martin-du-Canigou (Catalan: Sant Martí del Canigó), dedicated by Count Guifred of Cerdanya in 1009.
However, the line of the counts died out in 1117 and the county was inherited by the counts of Barcelona, later to become kings of Aragon.
Cerdanya proper was split between Spain and France by the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659, with the north of Cerdanya becoming French, while the south of Cerdanya remained Spanish. The counties of Rosselló, Capcir and Conflent also became French at that time.
Today, the Catalan side of Cerdanya is a Catalan comarca known as Baixa Cerdanya (i.e. "Lower Cerdanya"), and whose capital is Puigcerdà. Puigcerdà was already the capital of Cerdanya before the division of 1659, having replaced Hix in 1178 as capital of Cerdanya. Hix, the place where the counts of Cerdanya resided, is now a village inside the commune of Bourg-Madame on the French side of the border. Hix had itself replaced Llívia, which was the ancient capital of Cerdanya in Antiquity. At the Treaty of the Pyrenees it was decided that Llívia would remain Spanish (allegedly because the treaty stipulated that only villages were to be ceded to France, and Llívia was considered a city and not a village, due to its status as the ancient capital of Cerdanya), so Llívia is now an exclave of Spain inside French territory.
The French side of Cerdanya is part of the département of Pyrénées-Orientales and has no particular status. People in France refer to it as Cerdagne française (that is, "French Cerdanya"), or just Cerdagne, while people on the Spanish side refer to it as Alta Cerdanya ("Upper Cerdanya"). Its main towns are Bourg-Madame and the ski resort of Font-Romeu.
Despite the split between France and Spain, ties remain between families on both sides of the border and, obviously, the area has logically ever since had a lot of trafficking from one country to the other. During World War I, Cerdanya has been the place of an important smuggling trade in which horses and mules went from French to Spanish Cerdanya, before being sold to the French army and going back to France through the Le Perthus.
Known as Baixa Cerdanya.
|Bellver de Cerdanya||2,075||98.2|
|Fontanals de Cerdanya||443||28.6|
|Guils de Cerdanya||536||22.0|
|Lles de Cerdanya||260||102.8|
|Montellà i Martinet||623||55.0|
|Prats i Sansor||248||6.6|
|Riu de Cerdanya||106||12.3|
|• Total: 17||18,063||546.6|
Known as Cerdagne française (Catalan: Alta Cerdanya).
Like neighboring areas of the Pyrenees, Cerdanya relies on tourism to provide strong support for the economy. Spas, skiing, and hiking are long-established attractions. In addition the Yellow train is a major tourist attraction.
Alp is a town and municipality in the comarca of Cerdanya, Province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Its population is 1,745 according to the 2012 census.Alp is home to the ski resort of La Molina.Bellver de Cerdanya
Bellver de Cerdanya is a town in the comarca of Cerdanya, province of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain.Cerdanya (comarca)
Cerdanya (Spanish: Baja Cerdaña; French: Basse Cerdagne) is a comarca in northern Catalonia, in the Pyrenees, on the border of Catalonia with France and Andorra. Within Catalonia. Cerdanya is divided between Catalan provinces of Lleida and Girona. Cerdanya's neighbouring comarques are Alt Urgell, Berguedà, and Ripollès.
Cerdanya is in the "vegueria" of Alt Pirineu, according to "Vegueries of Catalonia law".
The area is sometimes called Baixa Cerdanya (literally "Lower Cerdanya") to distinguish it from Alta Cerdanya ("Upper Cerdanya") which was ceded to France by the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.
Can be distinguished the "subcomarques" of la Batllia or petita Cerdanya, and el Baridà.
Llívia in Cerdanya is a Catalan exclave, completely surrounded by French territory.County of Cerdanya
The County of Cerdanya (Catalan: Comtat de Cerdanya, IPA: [kumˈtad də səɾˈðaɲə]; Latin: Comitatus Ceritaniae; Spanish: Condado de Cerdaña, French: Comté de Cerdagne) was one of the Catalan counties formed in the last decades of the 8th century by the Franks in the Marca Hispanica. The original Cerdanya consisted of the valley of the upper Segre. Today Cerdanya is a Catalan comarca.Das, Catalonia
Das is a town and municipality in the comarca of Cerdanya, Girona Province, Catalonia, Spain. Its population is 222 according to the 2012 census.
It is located amidst the mountains of the Pyrenees.Fontanals de Cerdanya
Fontanals de Cerdanya is a village in the province of Girona and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain. The municipality covers an area of 28.65 square kilometres (11.06 sq mi) and the population in 2014 was 443.French Cerdagne
French Cerdagne (Catalan: Alta Cerdanya, IPA: [ˈaltə səɾˈðaɲə]) is the northern half of Cerdanya, which came under French control as a result of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, while the southern half remained in Spain (as part of Catalonia). Catalans often refer to French Cerdagne as Upper Cerdanya (Catalan: Alta Cerdanya). It is the only French territory in the Iberian Peninsula, as it is on the south side of the Pyrenees range between Spain and France. For example, the Segre river, which goes west and then south to meet the Ebro, has its source in the French Cerdagne. An inadvertent result of the Treaty of the Pyrenees is the Spanish exclave of Llivia (the small uncolored area in the map) which is sovereign Spanish territory completely surrounded by French Cerdagne.
French Cerdagne has no special status inside France, simply forming an area within the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, unlike the Spanish part of Cerdanya, which is officially a Catalan comarca called simply Cerdanya. In France, the French area is referred to as either Cerdagne française (i.e. "French Cerdagne"), Haute Cerdagne (i.e. "Upper Cerdagne") or just Cerdagne.
French Cerdagne has a land area of 539.67 km² (208.37 sq. miles). Its 1999 population was 12,035, resulting in a density of only 22 people per km² (58 per sq. mile).
French Cerdagne has the most cloud-free days in France, and was therefore chosen as the place to build:
the solar furnace of Odeillo (Catalan: Odelló) (official site), used for high-temperature scientific experiments;
the Thémis experimental solar power plant (operated by EDF from 1983 to 1986); it is now decommissioned as a power plant, but is being used as a Cerenkov telescope for the detection of Gamma rays Ger, Girona
Ger is a village in the province of Girona and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain. The municipality covers an area of 33.4 square kilometres (12.9 sq mi) and the population in 2014 was 432.Guils de Cerdanya
Guils de Cerdanya is a municipality in the comarca of Cerdanya, province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain.
Attractions include the Romanesque church of Sant Esteven (12th century).Isòvol
Isòvol is a municipality in the province of Girona and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain.Lles de Cerdanya
Lles de Cerdanya is a Pyrrenean village in the comarca of Cerdanya, province of Lleida, Catalonia, north-eastern Spain. It is located south of the border with Andorra and France and home to two ski resorts, Lles and Aransa.Llívia
Llívia (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈʎiβiə]; Spanish: Llivia [ˈʎiβja]) is a town in the comarca of Cerdanya, province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. It is a Spanish exclave surrounded by the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. In 2009, the municipality of Llívia had a total population of 1,589. It is separated from the rest of Spain by a corridor about 1.6 km (1.0 mile) wide, which includes the French communes of Ur and Bourg-Madame.Meranges
Meranges is a village in the comarca of Cerdanya, province of Girona, Catalonia, north-eastern Spain.
Attractions include the Romanesque church of Sant Serni. It has a portal with sculpted archivolts.Montellà i Martinet
Montellà i Martinet is a municipality in the comarca of Cerdanya and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain.Prats i Sansor
Prats i Sansor is a municipality in the comarca of Cerdanya, province of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. It is composed by four villages, Prats, Sansor, Capdevila and El Pla.
Attractions include the Romanesque Sanctuary of Sant Salvador de Predalies.Prullans
Prullans is a village in the province of Lleida and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain.Puigcerdà
Puigcerdà (Catalan pronunciation: [ˌputʃsəɾˈða]; Spanish: Puigcerdá) is the capital of the Catalan comarca of Cerdanya, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, northern Spain, near the Segre River and on the border with France (it abuts directly onto the French town of Bourg-Madame).Riu de Cerdanya
Riu de Cerdanya is a village in the province of Lleida and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain.Urús
Urús is a village in the province of Girona and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain.