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History of Vic

A journey through history

Arqueologia MEV

The history of Vic dates back to at least the 4th century BC. At that time the city was called Auso and was home to the Ausetan Iberians. Later on, under Roman occupation, it became a tributary city. Signs of its importance during this period are its classification as a municipality and the construction of the temple at the highest point of the city in the 1st century AD. Auso was an episcopal see during the Visigothic period. Following the invasion of the Saracens, the city was destroyed in 826 AD in the Aisó revolt against the supporters of the Franks.


 The repopulation of the Vic Plain and the creation of the county of Osona in 878 AD, under the rule of Count Wilfred the Hairy, enabled the reconstruction of Auso. All that survived of the ancient city were the walls of the Roman Temple, which were then used for the construction of the castle. The new city took the name of Vicus Ausonae (suburb of Ausona), which is where the name of Vic comes from. The city’s status of episcopal see was restored and the cathedral was built in the lower part of the city. The Romanesque cathedral was consecrated in 1038 by Bishop Oliba. Only the crypt and bell tower survive from this period.

Restes del castell dels Motcada

The privatisation of public power in the Middle Ages led Vic to be split in two, with one area of the city initially under the jurisdiction of the bishop (transferred to the king in 1316) and the other under the jurisdiction of the Lords of the Castle, the Montcada family. This division had a significant impact on the life in Vic in the Middle Ages. At this time the city grew around the cathedral, the castle and the Mercadal (Market Square) and was encircled by a wall with towers, rebuilt in the 14th century. In 1450, the part of the city under the control of the descendants of the Montcada family was bought from them by King Alfonso the Magnanimous.

The city fell into a period of stagnation as a result of the crisis of the Late Middle Ages, fighting between rival political-civil-military factions (especially the Nyerros and the Cadells) and the wars with France. The defeat of Archduke Charles of Austria in the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 threw Vic into chaos, since the city had supported him from the beginning.


The economic and demographic upturn of the 18th century led to the growth of the city. Important sculpting and architectural workshops opened, enabling the construction of several civic and religious buildings, along with the cathedral we see today.




 In the 19th century, the city suffered from the effects of the Peninsular War and the Carlist Wars, not to mention the economic crisis which led many factories to relocate to the Ter Basin. Nevertheless, the city recovered thanks to various factors, not least the construction of the railway between Vic and Barcelona in 1875. This was also a period of strong cultural repression due to the influence of the Seminary, which revived the tradition of the mediaeval cathedral school and of the 17th-century Literary University of Vic. The many illustrious students of the Seminary include Jaume Balmes, Sant Antoni Maria Claret or Jacint Verdaguer. Thanks to the work of associations such as the Literary Circle or the Esbart de Vic (group of young poets), of which they were prominent members, Vic was able to play a significant role in the literary and political renaissance of the country.

Imatge actual

Following the disruption of the Spanish Civil War and the stagnation of the post-war period in the mid-20th century, the city gradually recovered its traditional importance in Catalonia.



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