More than seven hundred years separate the Parva Gerunda from the city of the 16th century. In between, Girona went through centuries of continuity and changes, that have had a powerful impact on the city's current look and image. The city's changed to face the south or the north, became a focal point for ecclesiastical organisation, was an economic centre and a hotbed for different cultures. Medieval Girona has many different levels of identity, and was the key to the kingdom. The city was part of the Frankish Empire, in 785, which meant it had a direct link with other European centres. This decisive moment in the history of Girona, shared with the rest of the Old Catalonia, asserted the city's status as the key to the kingdom, a strategic site with a border that looked south until the 12th century. Later, however, the danger came from the north, as in 1285, or from elsewhere, as in 1462, during a civil war.