Lleida (Standard Central Catalan or North-Western Catalan [ˈʎejðɛ]; Spanish Lérida [ˈleɾiða], though officially referred as Lleida) is a city in the west of Catalonia, Spain. It had 127.314 inhabitants as of 2007, including the attached municipalities of Raïmat and Sucs. It is the central city of the province of the same name.
Lleida is the capital city of the comarca (county) Segrià and the province that takes its name. Its economy is mostly based on commerce and services, being one of the most important population and economic inland centres in Catalonia.
It is a traditionally Catalan-speaking
town and province, with a characteristic dialect (known as Western or, more specifically, North-Western Catalan
, or colloquially lleidatà
) with features such as lo
(instead of standard "el" and "els") as the definite articles, and word-final a
pronounced ɛ. Some of these features, however, are nowadays more common among older people and elsewhere in the province rather than in the town of Lleida, where only the phonetic aspects of the dialect are preserved.
is primarily only an active language for the older inhabitants who were prohibited from studying Catalan during Franco's reign.
Aranese, a standardized form of the Gascon variety of the Occitan language, is spoken in the region of the Aran Valley to the north of the city of Lleida and has official status there.
In ancient times the city, named Iltrida
, was the chief city of the Ilergetes
, an Iberian
, king of the Ilergetes, and Mandoni
, king of the Ausetanes
, defended it against the Roman invasion.
Under the Romans, the city was incorporated into the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis, and was a place of considerable importance, historically as well as geographically. It stood upon an eminence, on the right (west) bank of the river Sicoris (the modern Segre), the principal tributary of the Ebro, and some distance above its confluence with the Cinga (modern Cinca); thus commanding the country between those rivers, as well as the great road from Tarraco (modern Tarragona), the provincial capital, to the northwest of Spain, which here crossed the Sicoris. (Itin. Ant. pp. 391, 452.)
Its situation (to quote Julius Caesar, "propter ipsius loci opportunitatem", B.C. i. 38) induced the legates of Pompey in Spain to make it the key of their defense against Caesar, in the first year of the Civil War (49 BCE). Afranius and Marcus Petreius threw themselves into the place with five legions; and their siege by Caesar himself (Battle of Ilerda), as narrated in his own words, forms one of the most interesting passages of military history. The resources exhibited by the great general, in a contest where the formation of the district and the very elements of nature seemed in league with his enemies, have been frequently extolled; but no epitome can do justice to the campaign. It ended by the capitulation of Afranius and Petreius, who were conquered as much by Caesar's generosity as by his strategy. (Caes. B.C. i. 38, et seq.; Flor. iv. 12; Appian, B.C. ii. 42; Vell. Pat. ii. 42; Suet. Caes. 34; Lucan, Pharsal. iv. 11, 144.) In consequence of the battle, the Latin phrase Ilerdam videas is said to have been used by people who wanted to cast bad luck on someone else.
Under the Roman empire, Ilerda was a very flourishing city, and a municipium. It minted its own coins. It had a fine stone bridge over the Sicoris, (the bridge was so sturdy that its foundations support a bridge to this today). In the time of Ausonius the city had fallen into decay; but it rose again into importance in the Middle Ages. (Strabo iii. p. 161; Horat. Epist. i. 20. 13; coins, ap. Florez, Med. ii. pp. 451, 646, iii. p. 73; Mionnet, vol. i. p. 44, Suppl. vol. i. p. 89; Sestini, pp. 161, 166; Eckhel, vol. i. p. 51.)
It was part of Visigothic and Muslim Hispania until it was conquered from the Moors by the Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona in 1148.
It used to be the seat of a major university, the oldest in the Crown of Aragon, until 1717, when it was moved by Philip V to the nearby town of Cervera. The University of Lleida is nowadays active again.
Lleida served as a key defense point for Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War, and fell to the Insurgents, whose air forces bombed it extensively, in 1937 and 1938. The November 2, 1937 Legion Kondor attacks against Lleida became especially infamous since they were aimed to the school known as Liceu Escolar de Lleida. 48 children and several teachers died in it that day.
After some decades without any kind of population growth, it met a massive migration of Andalusians who helped the town undergo a relative demographic growth. Nowadays it's home to immigrants of 146 different nationalities
Districts and neighbourhoods
Lleida is divided in the following districts by the Observatori Socioeconòmic de Lleida
Lleida is served by the Spanish state railway's AVE high-speed rail line, serving Barcelona, Zaragoza, Calatayud, Guadalajara, and Madrid. Lleida has a minor airfield located in Alfès and as of 2006, the construction of an airport is due to be finished in 2008. Also, the town is the western terminus of the Eix Transversal Lleida-Girona, and a railway covering the same distance (Eix Transversal Ferroviari) is currently under planning.
Traditional celebrations include Festa Major
, Aplec del Cargol
and Fira de Sant Miquel
A Latin-American cinema festival is held yearly in the town ("Mostra de Cinema Llatinoamericà de Lleida"), and an animation film festival called Animac also takes place there every May.
Also, the international rock festival Senglar Rock is held in Les Basses d'Alpicat, in the outskirts of Lleida, each July since 2005 - it used to be held in Montblanc before that year.
Lleida was the Capital of Catalan Culture in 2007.
People from Lleida
The following names are sorted alphabetically.
- Antoni Abad - artist (born 1956)
- Jaume Balagueró - filmmaker (born 1960)
- Josep Borrell - Politician, president of the European Parliament 2004-2007. (born 1947)
- Francesc Claverol - 18th century religious scholar, author of De ineffabile misae sacrificio y Libellum de Adventu Anti Christi.
- Pep Coll - writer (born 1949)
- Albert Costa - tennis player, olympic contestant in 2000, winner of the 2002 French Open, (born 1975)
- Leandre Cristòfol - artist, pioneer of Surrealist sculpture in Catalonia (1908-1998)
- José Espasa Anguera - founder of the precursor of Espasa-Calpe and Enciclopedia Espasa (1840-1911)
- Adolf Florensa - architect, urban planner who worked for various governments during the 20th century directing the restoration of Ciutat Vella in Barcelona.
- Javier Galitó-Cava Official Site - actor, dancer born in Barcelona but raised in Lleida for most of his childhood years. He resides in the U.S since 1989.
- Miguel Ángel Gallardo - underground comic book artist, especially known for his controversial comic series Makoki, published in the Spanish magazine El Víbora.
- Indíbil (Indibilis, Andobales) king of the Ilergetes (3rd century BC).
- Lorena, singer, winner of the 5th series of Spanish Fame Academy, Operación Triunfo.
- Enrique Granados - Romantic composer (1867-1917)
- Mari Pau Huguet - Catalan TV personality, TV3 presenter.
- Bojan Krkic - (born 1990) football player.
- Josep Lladonosa - historian (1907-1990)
- Mercè Mor - dancer.
- Jaume Morera - Artist (1854-1927)
- Joan Oró - biochemist whose research has been of importance in understanding the origin of life, received several international honours for his work. (1923–2004)
- Manuel del Palacio - Satirist, journalist (1831-1906)
- Josep Pernau - journalist, satyrist (born 1930)
- Gerard Piqué - (born 1987) football player
- Araceli Segarra - mountaineer and model (born 1970)
- Salvador Seguí, "El Noi del Sucre" - Anarchist, secretary general of CNT in Catalonia, assassinated (1896-1923).
- Humbert Torres - Physician and politician, vicepresident of the Generalitat de Catalunya, member of the Spanish Parliament.
- Màrius Torres - Symbolist poet (1910-1942)
- Jaume Ulled - stage actor (born 1978)
- Josep Vallverdú - writer (born 1923)
- Salvador Vázquez de Parga - essayist, comic book historian (born 1934)
- Ricardo Viñes - Classical pianist and composer (1875-1943)
- Seu Vella - a Cathedral built in a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles over the time, and made a military fortress in the 18th century and the older Palau de la Suda, both over the so-called Turó de la Seu, a medium-sized hill.
- Seu Nova - the baroque Cathedral used since Bourbon rule. It was burnt during the Spanish Civil War by the anarchists commanded by Durruti.
- Institut d'Estudis Ilerdencs, used to be a hospital (Antic Hospital de Santa Maria) built in a Gothic style, but nowadays it is an historical museum and research centre open to visitors.
- La Paeria - the city council and also, a historical site with remains and pieces of art from Roman times, to the Moorish rule, to Mediaeval and Modern times, including a prison.
- Gardeny - A hill that hosts a fortress built between the 12th and 13th centuries. Used by the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages after the area was given to them by Ramon Berenguer IV.
- The gardens known as Camps Elisis, already used by the Romans. It has the fountain of the mermaid.
- The Bishop of Lleida's Palace on Rambla d'Aragó also serves as an art museum showing pieces included in the styles spanning from Romanesque to Baroque.
- El Roser
- Lleida Public Library, on Rambla d'Aragó, hosted in the building previously known as La Maternitat, a mid-19th century orphanage.
- Museum of Lleida
- Other museums: Sala Cristòfol, Sala Mercat del Pla, Museu Morera, Centre d'Art de la Panera, Museu de l'Aigua.
Lleida has been always a city with great sport tradition. Probably the most famous sport at the present time is basketball, because the club of basketball of the city a few years ago ascended to the ACB, being the revelation team in the league, this caused a lot of boys and girls to become fond of this little well-known sport.
Lleida has sister relationships
with many places worldwide: