Plaça Major de Vic
|• Mayor||Anna Erra Solà (2015) (CIU)|
|• Total||30.6 km2 (11.8 sq mi)|
|Elevation||484 m (1,588 ft)|
|• Density||1,400/km2 (3,600/sq mi)|
Vic (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈbik]) is the capital of the comarca of Osona, in the Barcelona Province, Catalonia, Spain. Vic's location is 69 km from Barcelona and 60 km from Girona. Vic's position has made it one of the most important towns in central Catalonia.
Vic lies in the middle of the Plain of Vic, equidistant from Barcelona and the Pyrenees.
Vic is famous for its persistent fog in winter as a result of a persistent thermal inversion with temperatures as low as -10 °C and an absolute record of -24 °C. Episodes of cold and severe snowstorms are noticeable. In summer, storms are very common during the dry season, typical of the Mediterranean climate of coastal Catalonia. For that reason the natural vegetation includes the pubescent oak typical of the sub-Mediterranean climates of eastern France, Northern Italy and the Balkans.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Vic is of ancient origin. In past times it was called Ausa by the Romans. Iberian coins bearing this name have been found there. The Visigoths called it Ausona. Sewage caps on sidewalks around the city will also read "Vich," an old form of the name.
During the 8th and 9th centuries, Vic sat in the Spanish Marches that separated Frankish and Islamic forces. It was destroyed in 788 during a Muslim incursion. Afterwards only one quarter was rebuilt, which was called Vicus Ausonensis (vicus is Latin for city borough), from which the name Vic was derived. It was repopulated by Wilfred the Hairy in 878 who gained control over the high part of the city and gave up the lowest part to the bishop to construct the episcopal see. From then on, the city was ruled by the count of Barcelona and by the bishop of Vic.
The bishopric is a suffragan of the archbishopric of Tarragona, bounded on the north by Girona, on the east by Girona and Barcelona, on the south by Barcelona and Tarragona, on the west by Tarragona and Lleida. It lies within the four Catalan provinces, but the greater part of it in that of Barcelona.
The introduction of Christianity was undoubtedly very early, as martyrs of Ausa are recorded in the time of Emperor Decius, and in the earliest records of the Tarraconensian sees the Bishop of Vic is one of the very first mentioned. None, however, is mentioned by name until 516 when Cinidius is named as assisting at the provincial Council of Tarragona and Girona. Aquilinus (589–99) attended the third Council of Toledo; Esteban, the fourth and one at Egara; Dominus, the sixth of Toledo; Guericus, the eighth; Wisefredus sent his vicar to the thirteenth, and attended in person the fifteenth and sixteenth. With this bishop ends the history of the Church of Ausona before the Saracen invasion.
The reconquest of Vic was begun in the time of Louis the Pious, who confided the civil government to Borrell, Count of Ausona, all ecclesiastical matters being under the direction of the Archbishop of Narbonne.
In 826 Vic fell once more into the hands of the Moors and was finally reconquered by Wilfred the Hairy, independent Count of Barcelona.
Count Wilfred dedicated the famous monastery of Ripoll to the Blessed Virgin, and obtained from the Archbishop of Narbonne the consecration of Godmarus as Bishop of Vic. The bishops and the family of Montcada disputed the right of sovereignty over the city until 1315, when the Bishop Berenguer Gaguardia ceded his rights to the king, James II, who also purchased the rights of the Moncadas.
Bishop Atton (960–72) is worthy of mention as a great promoter of education. Many persons availed themselves of the advantages offered by his reforms, among them Gerbert, the monk of Aurillac, afterwards Pope Sylvester II, who was distinguished for his learning.
Another of the most illustrious bishops of Vic was Oliva (1018–46), son of the Count of Besalú, and Abbot of Ripoll where he reconstructed and richly decorated the church. The dedication took place 15 January 1032. He also, with the help of Ermesinda, Countess of Barcelona, reconstructed the cathedral and dedicated it to Sts. Peter and Paul on 31 August 1038. In the time of his successor Guillermo I the relics of its patron saints, the martyrs Lucianus and Marcianus, were found at Vic, and a council was held for the restoration of peace among the faithful.
Berenguer Seniofredo reformed the chapter, expelling lax members and introducing regular observance. Berenguer obtained for himself the dignity of Archbishop of Tarragona, which was contested by the Bishop of Narbonne. Among the Spanish bishops who attended the Council of Trent was Acisclo Moya de Contreras, Bishop of Vic, who was accompanied by the theologian Pedro Mercado.
Of the more recent bishops, Josep Morgades i Gili deserves special mention. He restored the monastery of Ripoll, destroyed and pillaged by the revolutionists, and reconsecrated its church on 1 July 1893. He also established at Vic an archaeological museum where he collected many treasures of medieval art which had been dispersed among the ancient churches of the diocese. The next Bishop of Vic was Josep Torres i Bages, a man of great culture and learning.
- Other celebrated natives of the Vic diocese include:
- Saint Antoni Maria Claret i Clarà, archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, confessor of Isabella II and founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in North America also known as the Claretians.
Among other centers and institutions working to promote culture education, Vic is renowned for:
- The Universitat de Vic, a young but active University that, according to its numbers, has grown to be the most important outside the four main cities of Catalonia.
- The Museu episcopal, a medieval art museum administered by the bishopric.
- The Museu de la pell, a museum dedicated to leathers.
- The popular markets, trade fairs and festivals. Especially the Mercat de música viva de Vic & Mercat Medieval.
For centuries, the city's primary industrial and commercial activity was a textile industry, now almost disappeared. Nowadays, the pillars of the economy are agriculture and other alimentary industries, and construction.
The city is famous for its sausages and other pork derivatives, especially fuet, a thin cured sausage. The making of cured sausages and cold meats stems from the long tradition of pig farming in the Vic plain.
It is disputed whether the Church of Sant Pere Apòstol or Sta. Maria la Rodona  was the first cathedral church. For centuries the bishops celebrated the first Christmas Mass in this church, and the third in that of Sant Pere.
The ancient Church of St. Mary was rebuilt from the foundations by Canon Guillem Bonfil in 1140, and consecrated forty years later by Bishop Pere Retorta. In 1787 it was demolished to make room for the new Cathedral. Bishop Jordi (915–38) reconsecrated the Church of Ripoll and also consecrated that of St. Mary of Manresa.
The original cathedral, which had but a single nave, thick walls, and few windows, was replaced by that built by Bishop Oliva. As early as the 13th century, Bishop Raimond d'Anglesola wrote a pastoral letter exhorting his people to contribute towards repairing the cathedral. In 1401 Bishop Diego de Heredia added a transept, and in 1585 the door of Sant Joan was added, but the necessity of a complete reconstruction was soon recognized, and towards the end of the 18th century the building was torn down, and the cornerstone of the new one was laid on 24 September 1781. It was consecrated on 15 September 1803. It is classic in design, a combination of Doric and Tuscan, with a facade of white stone enriched with a beautiful balustrade. It has three entrances, corresponding to the three naves, and colossal statutes of its six patrons. The interior is Corinthian. All the monuments and altars were destroyed when the old church was demolished, except the high altar which is of alabaster, in the Gothic style, and was given early in the 15th century by D. Bernat Despujol. Among the chapels that of St. Bernat Calvó (1233–43), who assisted James I of Aragon in the conquest of Valencia, deserves special mention. The two-storied Gothic cloister is exceedingly beautiful. A handsome Gothic doorway leading to the chapter house has been preserved.
The conciliar seminary was begun in 1635 by Gaspar Gil and was finally finished, by command of Pope Benedict XIV, by Manuel Muñoz in 1748. The modern seminary is located in the former Jesuit College. It has sent out many famous men, among them Balmes and the poet Jacint Verdaguer, author of "L'Atlàntida". The episcopal palace was destroyed in the wars of 1640 and rebuilt by degrees, being completed by Bishop Veyan. The archaeological museum is in this building.
Manresa, where St. Ignatius Loyola wrote his Spiritual Exercises, is situated in the Diocese of Vic. His memory is venerated in the Santa Cova, which has been converted into a church, and a magnificent college of the Jesuits built near it.
The University of Vic never attained to any great importance; it is not known when or by whom it was founded. King Philip II granted it the privilege of conferring degrees, but only in philosophy and the arts (1599). Philip V, in the Corts of Barcelona (1702), granted it the power to confer degrees in theology and other higher sciences.
The greatest glory of Vic of modern times is Jaume Balmes, the foremost Spanish philosopher of the 19th century, whose remains are interred in the cloister of the cathedral. His first centenary was celebrated at Vic by a Catholic Congress.
Other celebrated natives of Vic include:
- Trinitarian Saint Michael de Sanctis
- Joseph Sadoc Alemany, (1814–1888), born in Vic, later Archbishop of San Francisco
Architect Antoni Gaudí lived in Vic for three weeks during May 1910, when he designed two basalt and wrought iron lampposts for the Plaça Major of Vic in honour of Jaume Balmes's centenary. They were inaugurated on 7 September 1910 but destroyed in 1924.
Sources and references
- "Ajuntament de Vic". Generalitat of Catalonia. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
- "El municipi en xifres: Vic". Statistical Institute of Catalonia. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- Sta. Maria la Rodona archaeological site and history Archived September 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967.
- Spanish town wins big in lottery, CNN, December 22, 2005. Archived on the Internet Archive January 16, 2006.
- Puig i Boada, Isidre (1986). El temple de la Sagrada Família (in Catalan). Barcelona: Thor, D.L. ISBN 978-84-282-1557-2.
- Panareda Clopés, Josep Maria; Rius Calvet, Jaume; Rabella Vives, Josep Maria (1989). Guia de Catalunya, Barcelona:Caixa de Catalunya. ISBN 84-87135-01-3 (Spanish). ISBN 84-87135-02-1 (Catalan).
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Diocese of Vich". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
- Paul Freedman, "The Diocese of Vic" has broad implications for the medieval history of Catalonia in general
- Diocese of Vic general information of the Catholic-Hierarchy website
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vic.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Vich.|
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