DO YOU KNOW THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME CASTELLFOLLIT DE LA ROCA?
Etymologically speaking there are two versions to choose from regarding the origin of the name Castellfollit de la Roca.
One has it that the name is related to the existence of a castle in the area, and justifies the claim citing that in 1096 the name “Kastro Fullit” and later the names “Castello-follito” and “Castro-follito” also appear in documents. Regarding the word “follit”, it would seem to come from the fact that the construction of houses is laminated, that is, made of slate. Bearing in mind that slate is not found locally, it is believed that the name was given because it is similar to basalt with its blocks of hexagonal columns.
The alternative version has it that the name does not come from a military building on top of the cliff, but from the silhouette formed by the basalt crag itself, as it looks like a large fortress. With regard to the second part of the word -“follit”-, the basalt formations are said to look like elongated leaves or “fulles” in Catalan, and from this the name “castell del fullatge” or “the castle of foliage”.
The addition of “de la roca” or “of the rock” is a recent addition to avoid confusing the town with the two other towns of the same name in Catalonia.
DO YOU KNOW THE STORY OF THE BROKEN BRIDGE?
The broken bridge which lies next to the main road has a long history of misfortune. The bridge dates back to 1908, but soon after its construction several abutments cracked open as they had been built on unstable ground, and the bridge had to be re-built.
Later, at the end of the Civil War, the retreating Republican forces blew up the bridge to prevent the Nationalist army from advancing on. A few months after it had been restored back to use, the Great Storm of 1940 knocked down two arches. This was the final stroke of bad luck, the bridge was not rebuilt again, and another bridge, that of the present day was built in its place .
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE CLOCK OF CASTELLFOLLIT IS THE RESULT OF A PROMISE?
The clock in the Square of Sant Roc is the result of a promise made by a monarchist of the Garrotxa who presented himself for election as a representative to the courts in 1919-20. He promised the town a clock if they voted for him. He was true to his word, and in 1924 the application was made for construction to begin, and the clock was finished in 1925. The cost came to a grand total of 4.884 pesetas (29,35 euros).
DO YOU KNOW THAT THE PAINTER JOSEP BERGA I BOIX BEGAN HIS ARTISTIC CAREER IN CASTELLFOLLIT?
While studying to be a chaplain he made use of his summer holidays to earn money, and around 1885-86, the rector of the town engaged him to paint the sides of the chapel of Sant Isidre of the church, and decorate them, as Berga himself describes in his book “L’estudiant de la Garrotxa” (“The Student of the Garrotxa”), with “figured green panels, black and white stripes, combined with a notable boldness”. Later, thanks to the positive response provoked by his first work, he painted the “Capella Fonda”, the small church dedicated to the Virgin of Roser. Unfortunately, the fire in the church during the Civil War destroyed these paintings.
DO YOU KNOW WHO WALTER KAHLER-LANG WAS?
The plaque on the old church is a homage to the President of Honour of the Friends of the High Garrotxa. Born in Detmold (Germany) in 1900, in 1923 his adventurous spirit came to the fore, and he left his job as a chemist to dedicate himself to the world of adventure. He travelled around the world many times, and often made brief stays in the town where he helped working in restoration projects involving the Romanesque churches in the region. This illustrious globetrotter felt himself at home among the people of the Garrotxa.
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE TOWN OF CASTELLFOLLIT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST TO HAVE TELEPHONES INSTALLED?
In 1904 the mayors of Castellfollit, Olot and Begudà combined their efforts to set up a telephone system between the three towns. In 1906 the idea was approved, and in 1907 the network was up and working. By 1913 the telephone network extended throughout the Gerona’s region, and the whole of Spain.
HAVE YOU MET OUR GIANTS?
Castellfollit has had its two giants, Roc and Barbara since 1996. They are made from carton pierre (a species of papier-mâché) with a supporting wooden frame. Barbara is 3.62 metres tall, and weighs 33 kg, while Roc is 3.80 metres tall and weighs 35 kg.
Local initiative has led to the recent introduction of four lively characters Mushu, Pauleta, Pinet, Gaspar and Perot to the town’s celebrations.
These new additions are not however the first troupe of town figures, in 1913 the town had its first pair of giants, although, unfortunately, they lasted for only a short time. Later, in 1979, during the town’s celebrations, 9 “cap grossos” or “big-heads” appeared, their features were inspired by real townspeople. However, these later additions suffered the same misfortune as their larger predecessors, and also disappeared.
DO YOU KNOW THE MUSEUM OF VIETNAM OF CASTELLFOLLIT?
In Castellfollit de la Roca, you will find a war history museum dedicated to the
Vietnam War that is unique in Europe.
Address: Sant Josep, 1