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The Vila Vella of Tossa de Mar

One of the most visited tourist attractions of Tossa de Mar is the Vila Vella, the oldest part of the town which is entirely surrounded by a city wall with seven watch-towers. The Vila Vella dominates at 70 meters (220 feet) above sea level the Bahía of Tossa with its white beaches and offers a panoramic view over Tossa de Mar and the mountains of the Selvathe Cadiretes. Nowadays the oldest part of the town is under protection. Several monuments and historic buildings within the city wall tell the visitors a part of the rich history of this Catalan town.
Two gates in the city wall offer actually access to the Vila Vella. The city wall in Tossa is the only one which is well-preserved on the Catalan coast and protected the oldest part of the town with its watch-towers mainly in the XVI centuries against the attacks of the North African pirates. However, the city wall was already established in the XII and the XIII centuries in its original form and was extended in the end of the XIV centuries with the Torre de Can Magí which is outside of the city wall. The fortification was completed in 1387.
The city wall of the Vila Vella The muralles, the city wall, of the Vila Vella has seven towers of defense, three of them, those in cylindrical form, kept their original names: Torre del Codolar, Torre de les Hores and Torre d'en Joanàs. In its apogee, there where, apart from the church (església de Sant Vicenç) of the XV centuries and the governor's palace (Casa del Governador) from the XIV centuries, about 80 houses within the city wall.
The Far de Tossa the "light connection" between Calella and Palamós, dominates the Vila Vella. It was inaugurated in 1917 to replace the old lightfires. Near the lighthouse is the Centre d'Interpretació dels Fars de la Mediterrània which shows all aspects of lighthouses at the Mediterranean Sea. Today, the centre, financed by the Generalitat de Catalunya, which is the government of Catalonia, is considered as a reference in questions of history, development and construction of Fars, what means lighthouses in whole Europa.
The most often photographed building of the oldest part of the town, the Vila Vella is probably the ruin of the old Gothic església de Sant Vicenç, which was built in the beginning of the XV centuries and was destroyed in the XIX centuries when Frenchmen stocked explosive in the church - which exploded. Later, the citizens of Tossa destroyed other parts in search of stones of the church they could use to construct or repair their houses. From the church església de St. Vicenç remains only the apse with the sculpture of the saint patron, a part of the nave and the right transept as well as parts of the church tower.
In the Gothic Casa del Governador, which was built in the XIV centuries, is located the municipal museum, el Museu Municipal de Tossa de Mar which was inaugurated on the 1st of September, 1935. The museum which also includes the Torre del Codolar, was the first museum of modern art in Catalonia. Among other samples, the museum shows the mosaic found in the vil·la romana dels Ametllers with the inscription Turissa, the Roman name of Tossa. Numerous exhibits document the history of Tossa from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. The Museu Municipal also disposes of a unique exhibition of artists who stayed in Tossa in the 30s, among others the masterpiece El Violinista Celeste painted by Marc Chagall.
During a stroll in the little alleys of the Vila Vella the visitor discovers also the million times photographed statue of Tossa: el Monument a Ava Gardner. The Catalan artist Ció Abellí immortalized here Ava Gardner who glances over the the Bahía of Tossa.