Lleida Mini Guide
Located inland in the north east of Spain between Barcelona
, Lleida (known in Spanish as Lerida) has mountains, a river, castles and churches. This sizable city has 130,000 citizens who speak Catalan, though some of the elderly speak Spanish while another language, Aranese in spoken in the Aran valley to the north. It had a strategic historic importance due to its position on the banks of the Segre river which meant that it was inhabited by Romans, Visigoths and Moors.
Under the Romans the city flourished, and it was a key defense of Pompey in his war against Caesar. In 1148 Lleida was conquered by Moors and during the 18th century it was the seat of the most famous university in the kingdom of Aragon. By the 1930s the city was a main defense point for Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and in one vicious bombing attack by the Legion Kondor, 48 children and teachers were killed. Lleida is culturally rich and was named the Catalan capital of culture in 2007.
Various festivals are celebrated. They include the Mostra de Cinema Llatino America de Lleida, a Latin American film festival, and the international Senglar rock festival is held in July on the outskirts of the city. Take a stroll through Lleida and you will see many landmarks. There is the Seu Vella - a Gothic cathedral which was turned into a military fortress, La Paeria - the city council building which has artifacts from Roman, Moorish and medieval times and the fortress on the hill at Gardeny which was used during the 12th and 13th centuries. Lleida is particularly popular with visitors who are hoping to ski during the winter months, but should you have hired a car it is just as possible to get to the Mediterranean coastline as well. Overall this is an area of natural beauty which is great for camping trips and walks in the woods where you can even seek out mushrooms to pick and eat.
The flora and fauna of the Pyrenees mountains makes Lleida a gastronomical haven as well and there are a number of hotels which specialise in local cuisine and fine wines too. The website www.lleidatur.com has an extensive list of all the gastronomic fairs and events in the region as well as many other points of interest for visitors. An airport is currently being built to serve the city, but you can get there by Spain's AVE high speed rail link also from Barcelona, Zaragoza, Guadalajara