The growing and the splendour (13th-14th century)

In 1170  the castle at the top of the hill is already documented and also the primitive Romanesque church of Santa Maria.

In the 12th century the town obtained different privileges and royal favours conferred so as to increase its growing and at that time it already had a market. But it was in the 13th century when Montblanc had a town planning and demographic expansion, thanks to the exemptions, prerogatives, the granting of fairs and markets. There was also the constitution of the municipality, the foundation of  ‘Estudi Major’ and the royal Clerk’s Office.

Montblanc was the centre of a ‘vegueria’ and it was also the administrative, political military and religious centre of a big area, and one of the most important towns in the South of Catalonia. The main activity of its inhabitants was the agriculture, there were also artisans (among them there were the ragmen).

At this time began the construction  of the most important monuments in the town: The church of Sant Miquel, The convents of Sant Francesc, La Serra and La Mercè, and the church-hospital of  Sant Bartomeu and Santa Magdalena. And also some civil buildings such as the Town Hall, the royal Palace and the Josa House.

There was also a Jewish colony near  Riber street which, with the passing of time had a great economical and commercial  importance.

The town had its maximum splendour in the first half of the 14th century  when it was consolidated as a town with a political importance, and with an outstanding socio-economic dynamics. It became the seventh most important town in Catalonia. Catalan Courts were held here on four occasions and it was created the Duchy of Montblanc (1387).

In the 14th century the works continued and  the most striking ones began: the walls and the gothic church of Santa Maria.  The church-hospital of Sant Marçal and the  Alenyà Palace were also constructed. The town improved the most important services such as: the covering of  el Riuot (stream which was in fact the main sewer of the town),public baths, prison, mills, ovens, …   

During the second half of the 14th century the town entered in a long period of decline. A series of  epidemics and bad harvests were the prelude of three centuries of recession.

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