Lleida, a city of Templars

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Lleida, a city of Templars

Lleida is located in an enviable spot, because it is one of the richest and most productive areas of Europe. Situated next to the Segre River, halfway between the sea and the mountains and perfectly connected, it is a customary meeting point between the railway lines which link Spain with the rest of the Mediterranean. It has modern means of transport headed by the high-speed train AVE and the motorway which connects Lleida with the cities of Barcelona and Zaragoza, where one can arrive from any part of the world by plane.

When we enter the streets of Lleida, the first visit has to be the architectural complex of Seu Vella, whose building, according to historians, began in 1203, under the direction of the master Pere de Coma, in the place where there was once a Muslim mosque. Devoted to Santa María, the temple was consecrated to worship in 1278. The works were not interrupted and, in the 14th century, the cloister was finished. In the same period, a belfry was begun and the works lasted until 1431. From the inside of the temple, the sculpture of the naves stand out, which are of Tuscan, Tolosan and Provençal influence. It is possible to go to Seu Vella on foot from Sant Martí Street by entering the walled enclosure by the Lleó Door or using the line 12 regular buses which run from Monday to Saturday from 7.30 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.

One important point of the city is Lleida’s Town Hall, which is located in Paeria’s Palace, one of the most representative works of Romanesque civil architecture in Catalonia. Built at the beginning of the 13th century, this building was transferred by the Sanaüjas to house the town council. The Paeria, as it is known by the people of Lleida because it is the house of the ‘paer en cap’ (major), has at present many treasures which reflect local identity. The term ‘ paer’ comes from the Latin word ‘patiarii’, which means peaceful man. This nickname was adopted after the concession of the privilege granted by King Jaime I in 1264 to the old consuls of Lleida.

As regards gastronomy, this Catalonian city has its own identity when we talk about fruits, snails, roast meat or sausages. The surrounding orchards provide fruits and vegetables for meat dishes and above all, pork. It is worth mentioning that the areas of Lleida are leaders in the breeding and fattening of this animal. In addition, the wine with Garantee of Origin Costers del Segre and the olive oil Les Garrigues are top quality products that are renowned all over the world.