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Sitges
—  Municipality  —
Sitges (Catalonia)

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Coat of arms
Sitges is located in Catalonia
Sitges
Location in Catalonia
Coordinates: 41°14′2″N 1°48′15″E / 41.23389°N 1.80417°E / 41.23389; 1.80417Coordinates: 41°14′2″N 1°48′15″E / 41.23389°N 1.80417°E / 41.23389; 1.80417
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Catalonia
Province Barcelona
Comarca Garraf
Judicial district Villanueva y Geltrú
Government
 - Alcalde Jordi Baijet i Vidal (2007) (PSC)
Area
 - Total 43.85 km2 (16.9 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (33 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Total 27,668
 - Density 631/km2 (1,634.2/sq mi)
 - Demonym Sitgetans
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 08870
Dialing code 93
Official language(s) Catalan
Website Official website

Sitges (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈsidʒəs]), Catalonia, Spain is a small city about 35 kilometres southwest of Barcelona renowned worldwide for its Film Festival and Carnival. Between the hills and the sea, it is known for its much-frequented beaches, nightspots, and historical sites.

While the roots of Sitges' artsy reputation date back to the late 19th century, when Catalan painter Santiago Rusiñol took up residence there during the summer, the town really came into its own during the 1960s, when it was the only centre for the counterculture on the mainland of Spain (then still under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco), and became known as a sort of "Ibiza in miniature".

Today, Sitges can be considered a dynamic cultural oasis, basing its economy on tourism and culture offering more than 4,500 hotel beds, half of them in four-star hotels. The firm commitment for quality infrastructures has converted Sitges into a first-class destination in terms of tourism of congresses, conferences, seminars and company meetings in the Mediterranean area.

Sitges is especially popular as a gay tourist destination - especially in July and August when gay men and lesbians visit Sitges as "one of the most popular gay holiday spots in Europe".[1] The city is very international. Almost 35% of the approximately 26,000 permanent inhabitants are from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Scandinavia, whose children attend international schools in the area. There are 17 beaches including punta de la torrenta.

Contents

Real estate

Sitges has been refered to as the St. Tropez of Spain, with property prices approaching those of the most expensive European cities, the main reason for this being the beautiful setting by the sea and the surrounding Parc Natural del Garraf. Proximity to Barcelona International Airport is also a major advantage.

Demography

1900 1930 1950 1970 1986 2006
3162 6962 8607 11,451 11,889 25,642

Events

1853: First play of Sitges Ball de diables in "Festa Major". (Festa Major is an Annual Festival celebrated every 23 and 24 of August. In a "Festa Major" you can find a wide range of different activities and events to look at or join).

1896: First reference to 'Xató' in a newspaper. Xató is a local dish.

1923: Albert Divo won the only Spanish Grand Prix held at the banked 'Sitges Terramar' driving a Sunbeam

1958: First Barcelona-Sitges Antique Car Rally.

1966: Ricardo Urgell opens the first Pacha club in Sitges.

1967: First Festival de Cine de Sitges (Nowadays the Festival is called the International Film Festival of Catalonia.)

1991: 'Festa Major' is declared an event of national interest.

1994:First running of Barcelona-Sitges Veteran Motorbike Rally.

2000:TV3, the Catalonian TV station begins the new year from Sitges.

2006: Rusiñol Year. Commemorates the 75th anniversary of the death of Santiago Rusiñol.

The Carnival

For over a century, Sitges has been celebrating nonstop — between the months of February and March, according to the liturgical calendar — Carnestoltes, or Carnival.

The festivities begin on Dijous Gras, or Fat Thursday, with the arribo, King Carnestoltes’ spectacular arrival. From the moment this character appears until the burial of the sardine — late afternoon on Ash Wednesday — you could well say that life in Sitges moves to a new beat.

Here there is even room for youngsters to step into the limelight with children’s "ruas", or Carnival parades, on Sunday and Tuesday afternoon.

Folk dances and xatonades (traditional local salad served with assorted omelets) are also characteristic carnival elements. The two most important moments are the Rua de la Disbauxa, or the Debauchery Parade, on Sunday night and the Rua de l'Extermini, or Extermination Parade, on Tuesday night. Some forty-odd floats with more than 2,000 participants fill Sitges.

Culture

17th century seaside church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla

Modern Sitges, preserving important references from the Middle Age and the old farmers’ and fishermen’s town, offers visitors an impressive architectural and cultural heritage, the result of initiatives by artists, cultural energizers and patrons like Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas, Miquel Utrillo and Charles Deering. Thanks to them, Sitges was a reference point for writers, musicians and other intellectuals and became an important center for disseminating Modernism and the "Americanos", who, after returning with their "fortune" from their American adventure, commissioned large mansions from Modernist and Noucentista (post Art Nouveau) architects.

The museums, guided tours or walks around the old quarter allow us to visit and relive this important legacy. This creative impetus has made it possible to create new projects like The International Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rally, the International Film Festival, the International Jazz Festival or the Summer Concerts Series.

Museums

Small sculptures on the Maricel Museum

Cau Ferrat Museum : Cau Ferrat was the house-cum-studio of artist and writer Santiago Rusiñol ( b. Barcelona 1861; d. Aranjuez 1931 ), one of the leading figures of Catalan Modernisme.

Maricel Museum : The American Charles Deering (1852-1927) had the Palau Maricel built to house his art collection in an attempt to copy the precedent set by Cau Ferrat. In 1921 Deering returned to the U.S. and the palace was emptied. In 1969 however, the building regained the use to which it had seemed destined since its creation, by welcoming a major private collection, a donation by Dr. Pérez Rosales, mostly dedicated to medieval art.

Museu Romàntic "Can Llopis": The Museu Romàntic "Can Llopis" is a perfectly preserved 19th century house which allows us to take a closer look at the lifestyle of a family of Catalan householders who lived their splendour during the years of Romanticism. It was built at the end of the 18th century in a neo-classical style with sober, elegant lines and very little decoration. Faithful to the Mediterranean tradition, the house has a central patio with a staircase leading to the main living quarters. The interior design shows how tastes changed from the time the building was built - when they were strongly influence by aristocratic styles - to the triumph of the forms of bourgeois Romanticism.

Gastronomy

La Davallada street
Carrer d'en Bosch, a street in Sitges

Xató is Sitges' most typical dish. It appeared in the press for the first time in a report about Maundy Thursday published in the local newspaper Eco de Sitges the 16th of February 1896. The report refers to a meal that three days before had gathered together a selected group of Catalan artists and intellectuals, including Santiago Rusiñol, Miquel Utrillo, and Gaietà Buigas. The name “xató” comes from an expression pronounced years before by Canudas, a member of the Rusiñol's group.

The main ingredients of xató are escarole salad, cod, tuna, anchovies, aubergine and black olives. However, the essence of the dish is its sauce, made with scalded chillies, toasted almonds, garlic, olive oil, salt, vinegar and hot peppers. The complete xató meal consists of some different omelettes or fricandó (a typical Catalan hot meal) and as a dessert coca de llardons (typical Catalan cake, made from pork scratchings), served with a bottle of Penedès black wine.

Apart from the xató, there are some other typical Catalan sailor's dishes which are very common in Sitgetan cuisine and which turn fish into an unequivocal sign of identity. Rice in the Sitgetan way, stewed sepia with potatoes and allioli (typical Catalan garlic sauce), bull de tonyina (typical sailors´ dish made with tuna fish), fideuada (typical sailors´ dish similar to paella, but with noodles and seafood) or stuffed peppers with cod. Such variety guarantees the extraordinary richness and singularity of Catalan's and Sitgetan's gastronomy.

As for drinks, malvasia is the most representative one. It is an oloroso and delicate liquor wine, excellent for desserts. The name “malvasia” comes from the Peloponnesian port Monembasía. In Sitges, the Hospital Sant Joan Baptista continues producing and marketing malvasia according to the traditional method and for charity. The annual production is approximately of 4,000 bottles (produced by the vines owned by the Hospital). The Sitgetan malvasia is produced and matured in the wine cellars of the Hospital.

Beaches

The main beach in May, in the background the church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla

Sitges has 17 sand beaches. Four of them are in the East: the first one called Les Botigues at the beginning of the coast, next to the beaches of Castelldefels and the other three are following the coast of Garraf (Road C-31). One of them is Garraf village beach.

There are eleven urban beaches and two in the west. These last two have difficult access. The last one (Playa del Muerto) is the gay beach.

All the eastern and urban beaches have access facilities, flags indicating the state of the sea and most of them have quality diplomas and blue flags awarded by the European Union.

Sister cities

Motor racing

Sitges is part of the long history of motor racing in Catalonia. From 1908–1920 events were staged over public roads from Sitges to Canyelles to Vilanova i la Geltrú, and from Mataro to Vilassar de Mar and Argentona. In 1922 and 1923 the Real Moto Club de Catalunya ran the Penya Rhin Grand Prix over a 9 mile circuit around the town of Vilafranca del Penedès until it was replaced by a short lived purpose built circuit, the banked Autodromo Sitges Terramar, which is still visible at 41°14′18.35″N 1°46′50.20″E / 41.2384306°N 1.780611°E / 41.2384306; 1.780611. Albert Divo won the only Spanish Grand Prix held at the banked 'Sitges Terramar' driving a Sunbeam

See also

References

  1. ^ Gallagher, Mary-Ann (2002), Barcelona Handbook: The Travel Guide, Barcelona: Footprint Travel Guides, p. 18, ISBN 1903471036  
  • Panareda Clopés, Josep Maria; Rios Calvet, Jaume; Rabella Vives, Josep Maria (1989). Guia de Catalunya, Barcelona:Caixa de Catalunya. ISBN 84-87135-01-3 (Spanish). ISBN 84-87135-02-1 (Catalan).

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Sitges [1] is a lovely town,a seaside resort some 35 Km southwest of Barcelona in Catalunya, Spain.

Sitges has one of most vibrant and hippest gay scene on the coast. The beaches are very colorful and fun! The city which overlooks the Mediterranean has large avenues,narrow streets,a museuum and the gorgeous beaches of Costa Dorada/Golden Coast

Get in

From Barcelona: You can get there by train or by car. The easiest way is by the Spanish Railways (RENFE [2]). The journey by train from Barcelona costs €2.50, and takes around 35 minutes. Direct trains leave from Passeig de Gràcia or Sants stations - from Plaça de Catalunya a change is required at Barcelona-Sants. There are four trains an hour - two fast trains and two stopping trains.

By car, there are two routes - either via the C-31 (a local road which winds its way around the cliff faces) or the C-32 (a toll motorway). The C-32 is recommended for speed and safety, however it costs around €5, while the C-31 is free.

By Air, the closest international airport is Barcelona/El Prat de Llobregat(BCN) airport (Sitges is accessible by train, changing at El Prat de Llobregat). Reus/Tarragona(REU) airport is an alternative,for regional flights (Sitges is accessible by train changing at either Sant Vicenç de Calders or Vilanova i la Geltrú).Girona/Gerona(GRO) airport is over 125 km in Costa Brava.

Get around

Walk or taxi cab;it is a charming small city.

  • Cau Ferrat: this house was owned by Santiago Russiñol, a modernist painter that gave a lot of life to the movement. many parties where held here, and now you can see paintings, sculptures, etc. the name comes from Cau, ("place") and ferrat, ("made of iron"), since the place has many decorative items made of these materials.
  • This museum has a small Picasso, several el Grecos as well as some small pieces by a range of Catalan modernists
  • Beaches: there are 11 beaches of varying sizes, the most famous of which is perhaps Platja de St Sebastian, located just northeast of the Cau Ferrat.

Buy

Local souvenirs;catalan/spanish music {Serrat};spanish/valencian music{Camilo Sesto}. In Sitges (unlike nearby Barcelona) all of the shops are allowed to open on Sundays. You will find a wide range of fashion stores around the city. Several of them carry top brands. Pedestrian streets on the city center get quite crowded on Sunday afteroons with tourists and people from Barcelona buying. Be aware that several shops on the afternoon open just after 17:30 and stay open untill 21:00.

  • Fragata [3] Paseig de la Ribera (under the old church). One of the best fine dining restaurants in Sitges with wonderful harbour views and stunning food. Inspired by the local fish and seafood but delivered with a style and flair that sets it apart.

Drink

The streets near the waterfront are filled with street cafes. Local youngsters gather on the beach after nightfall.

  • AndysRooms [4], San Juan, Sitges - Located in the heart of the old town, gay owned and operated. Beautiful rooms in a 500 year old Catalan Casa,
  • Hotel Celimar, Passeig De La Ribera, 18. Tel. (+34) 93 811 01 70. Modest rooms, with bath & shower, facing onto the beach front, about 30 minutes drive or train west out of Barcelona. About €100 per night for a double room.
  • Mediterráneo Sitges · Hotel & Apartments [5] This 4 stars apartment-hotel is in a great location right on the beachfront. The apartments have a bedroom, lounge, marble bathroom, kitchen and private terrace. You are directly on the beach and a short walk from the town centre.
  • Hotel Sunway Playa Golf Sitges ****, Paseo Marítimo 92-94, +34 93 894 18 39 (, fax: +34 93 894 14 64), [6]. checkin: noon; checkout: noon. On the Sitges Promenade, by the sea and next to the golf course. 4-star hotel with doubles, studios or fully equipped apartments, most of them with sea views.  edit

Get out

Barcelona, Lloreto de Mar, Tarragona, Lerida/Lleida, Valencia, Castellon/Castello, Alicante/Alacant, Alcoy/Alcoi, Benidorm, Girona/Gerona.

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