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Vila-real
—  Municipality  —
Villarreal

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Vila-real is located in Spain
Vila-real
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 39°56′16″N 0°6′5″W / 39.93778°N 0.10139°W / 39.93778; -0.10139Coordinates: 39°56′16″N 0°6′5″W / 39.93778°N 0.10139°W / 39.93778; -0.10139
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Valencian Community
Province Castellón
Comarca Plana Baixa
Judicial district Villarreal
Founded 20 February 1274
Government
 - Alcalde Juan José Rubert Nebot (2007) (PP)
Area
 - Total 55.1 km2 (21.3 sq mi)
Elevation 42 m (138 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Total 51,205
 - Density 929.3/km2 (2,406.9/sq mi)
 - Demonym villarrealense
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 12540
Official language(s) Valenciano
Website Official website

Vila-real[1] is a Spanish city in the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community. Located 7 km to the south of the province's capital (Castelló de la Plana), at 42 m above sea level, it has 48,000 inhabitants (2005 data), most of them living in the urban area that covers about 10.72% of its county's 55.4 km2 surface. Ranked by population, it is the second city in the province (following the capital), and tenth in the Valencian Community.

Contents

Economy

Vila-real's economy has evolved since the days of cultivation and trade of oranges in the last century to the manufacturing of ceramic tiles, which today is its most important source of income.

History

Saint Jacques Tower

Founded in 1274 by King James I of Aragon (hence its name: Villareal, "King's Town") to reinforce the area once it had been reconquered from the Muslims, it was located strategically on the old Roman road Via Augusta, 65 km to the north of the city of València, and close to the town of Borriana, at that time under Muslim rule. The original village, surrounded by defensive walls, was expanded to the outskirts in 14th century, under the protection of the King of Valèencia.

During the 16th century, the farming land began to be extended and enhanced by drilling wells to obtain water and convert dry land into irrigated fields, making it possible to begin commercial agriculture in the 17th century. After its disastrous participation in the War of the Spanish Succession, in the second half of the 18th century, the first industries were established, mainly for textiles. Also during that time, the city became involved in various revolts and wars that shook Spanish State.

In the 19th century, the cultivation and trade of oranges was introduced, which gave the town great economic progress, led both by businessmen and by farmers' associations or "cooperatives". After the Spanish State Civil War in the second half of the 20th century, the earnings obtained from the orange trade allowed several entrepreneurs to build ceramic tile factories, as a way to diversify their productive model. This type of industry has continued to expand up to the present day, and it has become Villareal's main economic activity.

Villarreal CF made their own piece of history in the UEFA Champions League of 2006 when they reached the semifinals of the competition. They were managed by Chilean Manuel Pellegrini and had a number of South American players in the team such as Riquelme, Forlan and Sorín.

Sights

The most interesting sights in the town are:

  • Sant Jaume Main Church (18th century)
  • Sant Pasqual basilica.
  • Plaça Major (Main Square) a square surrounded by several porticoed houses built in different periods.
  • The City Museum "Casa de Polo"
  • Chapel and park of Mare de Déu de Gràcia (Our Lady of Grace).

References

  1. ^ From February 28, 2006, the only official toponym of the city is Vila-real; Now Vila-real is not Villarreal (Catalan)

External links

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