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Lleida is a town in the Lleida province in the region of Catalonia.
Explore Lleida (Lerida)
Lleida was founded in Roman times (records even go as far back as the Bronze Age making it one of the oldest towns in Catalonia) and was later taken over by the Moors. In the mid 12th century it was reconquered by the Catalans. Not much of its early history remains but it does still have a magnificent cathedral, the Seu Vella, founded in 1203.
The Seu Vella is built within the walls of a ruined fort built, La Suda, built by the Moors. It sits high above the town on a hill called the Turo de la Seu. If you walk up it's a steep 20 minute climb, otherwise there is a lift from the Placa Sant Joan in the town below.
The Seu Vella old cathedral, also known as the Lleida castle, is a fortified building which, after being deconsecrated in 1707, became a military building until 1940. Much has been destroyed over the years but enough remains to be well worth a visit. The cathedral is built in a mix of Romanesque and Gothic and its Gothic cloisters are particularly lovely. The cloister is one of the largest in Europe and has 17 different, ornate Gothic windows. It has a tall octagonal tower which is 60m high and dominates the skyline of Lleida. Also views from the cathedral over the town and plains below are fabulous.
On the same site is the Castle of La Suda which was built during the Arab rule of Lleida and later became a royal residence. This now contains a museum displaying the history of the castle.
Both La Suda and the Seu Vella are national monuments.
As well as the Seu Vella there are a number of other interesting sights in Lerida:
Below in Lleida town a new cathedral has been built, the Seu Nova, built in Baroque style. There are various other buildings of note:
The town hall is housed in the 13th century building called the Paeria Palace. This is a large Romanesque building which was built in the 13th century. In its basements are prison cells used from the 15th century. Its walls contain 16 and 17th century graffiti.
In 1297 the University of Lleida was built, this is the third oldest university in Spain.
The castle of Gardeny began life as a monastery built by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. The knights Templar played a signigicant role in the reconquest of Lleida from the Moors and they were given buildings and land in thanks. Donations continued to be made to them over the years and the Knights Templar's of Lleida became an important Templar decision-making group in the region.
Many changes were made to the sight in the 17th and 18th centuries when it became a military fort but it remains a fine example of Templar architecture.
The Sant Maria hospital is a large Gothic building interesting to visit in its own right and it also houses the Museu Arqueologic, an exhibition of archeology from Prehistoric, Iberian, Roman and Visigoth eras.
Lleida also has a number of attractive Modernist buildings including the Magi Llorens house and the Escorxador Municipal Theatre.
Lleida has the oldest and best conserved tanneries in Spain. These are located at 9 Rambla de Ferran Avenue and provide a fascinating insight into this important trade. The Tanneries were built in the 13th century.
Lleida will soon have a Parador from where you can visit the city in style. The Convento de Predicadores, an ancient Dominican convent, is being converted into the El Roser Parador.
Where to visit nearby?
The Aiguestortes i l'Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is very popular for skiing in winter and hiking in summer.