The site of an important church, Sant Joan de les Abadesses is named for the 9th-century abbess Emma and her successors. Emma was the daughter of Guifré el Pilós (Wilfred the Hairy), the hero of the Christian Reconquest of Ripoll and the founder of Catalonia. The town's arcaded Plaça Major offers a glimpse of the town's medieval past, as does the broad, elegant, 12th-century bridge over the Ter.
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