Lleida is one of the cities that houses some of the most valuable cultural assets from all over Catalonia. In fact, it is the second most important city, after Barcelona, in this autonomous community of Spain.
Although the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language recommends using the name Lérida to refer to this city, the truth is that most Catalans prefer to call Lleidawhich is also the official name given to it by local authorities since 1980.
Lérida, or Lleida, as you like, is considered to be a populated area since the Bronze Age. Along the history, It has been an enclave in which various peoples and civilizations have merged. This has given it a rare cultural vitality, and one that is worth knowing.
Overview of Lleida
Lérida and its metropolitan area concentrate just under 500,000 inhabitants, in an area of almost 212 square kilometers. It is one of the largest cities in the region and has become a reference in terms of hospital services in Catalonia.
The local economy is particularly concentrated in the area of services. There is also industry and agriculture, although on a smaller scale. Likewise, it is a city that has positioned itself as a center for so-called “conference tourism”.
By land, has direct communication with MadridBarcelona, Huesca and Viella, and indirect communication with all of Spain and the European Union. Rail transport is optimal and it also has an airport that connects it with the whole country and with the United Kingdom.
Seu Vella and Seu Nova
Two of the main cultural assets of Lérida are the cathedrals of Seu Vella Y Seu Nova. The first, or Old Cathedral, is considered the most emblematic monument in the entire city. It is a fabulous Romanesque-style construction that was completed in the fifteenth century.
This extraordinary cathedral has gone through many vicissitudes throughout history. Several times it has been taken as a military fort and in the Franco era it served as a concentration camp and prison. In 1949 its restoration was undertaken, and it is currently on the list of monuments to be considered for World Heritage status.
The Seu Nova, or New Cathedral, is of baroque style and began to be built in the 16th century, under the reign of Carlos III. It was concluded in 1790 and its main initial function was to replace the Old Cathedralwhich operated as a military fort.
Other monuments of interest
The two famous cathedrals are not the only assets of cultural interest in Lleida. If you go to this beautiful city, do not miss a visit to the King’s Castle. The best thing about it is a fabulous terrace in the old viewpointfrom where you get an unparalleled view of the Seu Vella. It is open to the public since 2011.
Another great place is the Templar Castle of Gardenyor house-convent of the Knights Templar. It is on one of the city’s hills, and what survives are the remains of an imposing construction that housed those mysterious knights during the 12th to 15th centuries. If you visit the place, you will know first-hand its history.
The neighborhoods of Lleida
The historic center of Lleida allows access to these imposing monuments, but also houses the famous Eix Commercialor Commercial axis, one of the most populous places in the city. It is characterized by the large number of commercial establishments that are located there. In that place there is also the Plaza de Saint Joan, which has one of the highest escalators in all of Spain.
The most bohemian neighborhood, and also one of the fastest growing today, is Cappont. This concentrates important leisure centers and also a university campus. The Champs Elysées park is located there, which has at the end the Fair of Lleidathe most important fairground in the city.
Pardillas is another beautiful place, surrounded by nature and with several leisure and walking areas.. It is a neighborhood that is historically linked to the railway, separated from the historic center only by a famous train station. The local boulevard is one of the longest in all of Catalonia. The new congress palace is built on this site The Llotja.
Lerida definitely has a lot to offer. It is an ideal place for travelers who appreciate history, culture and art. Likewise, it is a place to learn about the particular way of being of the Catalans.