Blanes (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈbɫanəs]) is a town and municipality in the comarca of Selva in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. During the Roman rule it was named Blanda or Blandae. It is known as the "Gateway to the Costa Brava". Its coast is part of the Costa Brava, which stretches from Blanes up to the French border. The township is 18.29 km ². Blanes is a popular tourist town in Catalan and Spanish. It is known for the Concurs de Focs d'Artifici during the Santa Anna festival; this event includes a lot of firework. Other places of interest include a botanical gardens, coves, such as the Cala Bona, and beaches which are surrounded by mountains. As of January 2010 the population of Blanes was 40010 inhabitants with 20184 men and 19826 women. The history of Blanes predates the Roman conquest. Iberian activity has been attested in the area. Romanization of Blanes and its surroundings began around the 3rd century BC. Roman remains of the Blandae site lie nearby. After the rule of the Romans the area shared the fate of much of the Peninsula, being conquered successively by the Goths, the Moors and the Christians shortly after. In the 13th century, after the Christians regained the power, important architectural developments took place in Blanes. Some examples are the palace, Palau Vescomtal, the Església Parroquial church and the city walls. In the 17th century, during the Catalan Revolt (Guerra de los Segadores), Blanes was practically burned to ashes. The Palau Vescomtal was completely destroyed. Another event that affected Blanes was the Spanish War of Succession. Afterwards the reconstruction of the town and the expansion of agriculture started. One of the botanical gardens in Blanes is the De Mar i Murtra, which covers almost 15 hectares. It includes over 4000 different plant species and is visited by 300,000 people every year. Another garden is the Pinya de Rosa, which consists of over 7000 different plant species. The Fiesta mayor or feast of Santa Anna and Sant Joaquim (on the 26th) are usually celebrated in the 3rd or 4th week of July, between the 21st and 27th annually. During the eight days, the major feasts are celebrated as well as the European Concurs de Focs d'Artifici which attracts more than 500,000 visitors. This is an international competition in which various countries from around the world participate. Over 500,000 kg of fireworks are used at each event. Most people watch the fireworks from the beach. The fiesta menor or the feast of the co-patrons (Sant Bonòs and Maximià), is traditionally celebrated on the la Nit (Night) de la Caminada Popular in mid-August and has been around for approximately 25 years as of 2012. This is a wholly family-oriented trek which many people walk accompanied by their children, pets etc. It is approximately 8 km long. The reward is a memento and a slice of watermelon. In December 2008 an unusually strong storm struck Blanes' beach. The port of Blanes was hit hardest. The old seawall was not capable of holding off a storm of that magnitude. Many pleasure boats, fishing vessels and tourist ferries were damaged and/or smashed onto the beach. Before the storm, plans had already been made to upgrade the harbor but the repairs were delayed. The poor state of the harbor made it more vulnerable to the storm surges and resulted in the heavy loss in the Boxing Day storm. This storm has been commonly referred to by locals as the worst storm Blanes had seen since the 1950s. The festival falls on the last week of July week in Santa Ana and lasts eight days. This week the competition is held every year Fireworks of the Costa Brava , one of the largest in Europe . The first documented date of the launch of a firework in Blanes 1906 . Has knowledge of other later date but it was not until 1962 that the launch will begin to once a year . The year 1971 marks the first Fireworks Competition while the people become three nights launch fireworks . This number has fluctuated over the years , reaching seven nights of fireworks . From 1958 releases have always made from Sa Palomera the big rock that separates the two parts blanenca coast and is considered symbolically the beginning of the Costa Brava. Every night of celebration contest a different firework company presents its work to the public who come to the beach , with a duration of between 20 and 24 minutes. This is assessed by the Popular Jury is designated each year and is responsible for choosing the winners . The city has a roller hockey team, Blanes Hoquei Club, and dispute the main League OK Liga. Blanes is also home to one of the most important tournaments of roller hockey, the Golden Cup.