Lleida or Lérida, city (1990 pop. 111,825), capital of Lleida prov., NE Spain, in Catalonia, on the Segre River. Lleida is the center of a fertile farm area and has a limited variety of manufactures. The ancient Ilerda, it was taken (49 B.C.) by Julius Caesar, who defeated Pompey's generals there. Lleida fell to the Moors in A.D. 714 and was liberated (1149) by Raymond Berengar IV of Barcelona. The university founded there (c.1300) by James II of Aragón was discontinued in 1717. Traditionally a strategic, fortified city, Lleida was a key defense point for Barcelona in the Spanish civil war; it fell (Apr., 1938) after a nine-month battle. The old section of the city is dominated by the castle, whose ramparts enclose a Romanesque cathedral.

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 and los (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. Spanish 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 and Ilerda, was the chief city of the Ilergetes, an Iberian tribe. Indíbil, 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.



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.

Sister cities

Lleida has sister relationships with many places worldwide:

See also


External links

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