The origin of the name “Roses” is under dispute with historians. Some think that the name originated in the 8th-century BC when Greek colonists from the island of Rhodes came to the area. Another theory is that, way back in the 5th-century BC, Greeks ventured here from Massalia (Marseilles). The remains of a Greek settlement are still visible in the area. Artefacts and ruins from the Roman period date back to the 2nd-century BC.
In the middle ages, a mediaeval town evolved around the Monastery of Santa Maria de Roses. The Abbots shared jurisdiction of the village with the Counts of Empúries. Around 1402, the Crown of Aragon acquired the county of Empúries. Roses obtained the right to organise its government and economy with some autonomy.
During the first part of the 16th-century, Castell de la Trinitat Roses endured repeated attacks from North Africa. To counter the attacks, King Charles V ordered extensive fortifications. In 1543, despite the precautions taken by Charles V, a naval squadron led by the Turkish admiral Barbarossa attacked and plundered the town.
In 1553, the fortifications were improved, by order of the then king, Philip II. Additionally, he ordered a bastioned pentagonal wall to enclose the entire town. The following centuries would see the rigorous testing of the new fortifications.
Centuries of battle
In 1645, during the Catalan Revolt, French troops besieged and captured Roses. Nearly fifty years later, during the War of the Grand Alliance, the French retook the town. This time the French occupation lasted until the Peace of Ryswick, in 1697.
The War of the Spanish Succession saw Austrian troops attempted to take the city in 1712. They were unsuccessful as the fortifications held. Again in 1719, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance, the French attacked, but this time they too failed to sack the town.
Finally, Roses enjoyed an extended period of calm. However, during the Wars of the French Revolution, a new round of hostilities ensued.
Sailing in Roses today
The bay of Roses is now one of the best places you can find for yacht charter on the Costa Brava. The bay is in the north of Catalonia between the Cap de Creus peninsula and the Montgrí massif. Around two hours drive from Barcelona, this beautiful bay is frequented both by locals living in the big city and visitors alike.
The coastal cities of Roses, Castelló d’Empúries, Sant Pere Pescador and L’Escala border the bay. Over 45 km of beaches, 15 km of coves and 50 km of navigable channels; this is a cruising area of great appeal to holiday sailors. Roses has a great influence on the northern sector of the Costa Brava and the success of tourism in the region. Picturesque coves with calm, sparkling waters pepper the coastline. The beaches offer shallow waters for swimming, ideal for families with children.
The Natural Park of “Cap de Creus” is to the north. To the south is the Natural Park of Montgrí. The Natural Park of the “Aiguamolls de l’Empordà” is right in the centre. The climate is typically Mediterranean with mild winters and hot, sunny summers. The water temperature is between 15 and 24 degrees Celsius.