Villarreal

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For the football club, see Villarreal CF.
For other uses, see Villarreal (disambiguation).
Vila-real
Vila-real (Valencian)
Villarreal (Spanish)
Municipality
Vila-real (official)[1]
400px
Hostal del Rei (King's Hotel), Main Plaza
Flag of Vila-real
Flag
Coat of arms of Vila-real
Coat of arms
Vila-real is located in Spain
Vila-real
Vila-real
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 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 Castelló
Comarca Plana Baixa
Judicial district Vila-real
Founded 20 February 1274
Government
 • Type Mayor-council government
 • Body Ajuntament de Vila-real
 • Mayor José Benlloch (PSPV)
Area
 • Total 55.1 km2 (21.3 sq mi)
Elevation 42 m (138 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Total 51,367
 • Density 930/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Demonym vila-realencs (va)[2]
villarrealenses (es)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 12540
Dialing code +34
Official language(s) Valencian and Spanish
Website Official website

Villarreal (Spanish: [ˈbiʎareˈal]), officially Vila-real (Valencian: [ˈvila reˈaɫ]),[1] is a city in the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain.

The city is located at 42m above sea level, 7 km to the south of the province's capital (Castelló de la Plana), which it is separate from by the Mijares (or Millars) River. it has 51,367 inhabitants (2010 data), most of them living in the urban area that covers about 10.72% of its comarca's 55.4 km2 surface. Ranked by population, it is the second-largest city in the province (after the capital), and fifteenth in the Valencian Community.

The city was founded with royal status by King James I of Aragon in 1274 during his campaign to regain Muslim territory in present-day Valencia during the Reconquista. It later became an agricultural centre for orange cultivation, and more recently a centre for the ceramics industry.

Name[edit]

The city's former Valencian name, Vilareal, adorns its representative in a tapestry of the 1592 Valencian Parliament.

Both the Castilian Spanish Villarreal and Valencian Catalan Vila-real are cognates meaning 'Royal Town', due to the city's foundation by King James I of Aragon. Throughout the Middle Ages, as were most European settlements, it was known by its Latinised name Villae Regalis. A 1592 tapestry of the Valencian Parliament shows the city's representative with the old Valencian name Vilareal. It was in the late 18th century, as Spain became more centralised, that the Castilian name took over. The city was renamed in 1939, after the Spanish Civil War, as Villarreal de los Infantes (Royal Town of the Infantes), to avoid confusion with other Spanish localities with the same name. It is sometimes still referred to under this extended version.[3]

On 27 February 2006, after a campaign which started in the 1980s, the Valencian form became the only official name for the city, after a unanimous vote by the city council.[1]

Inhabitants of the city are known as vila-realencs (male) or vila-realenques (female) in Valencian, and villarrealenses in Spanish.

History[edit]

Villarreal was founded on 20 February 1274 by King James I of Aragon (hence its royal status), to strengthen his reconquest of Eastern Spain from the Moors. It was placed strategically on the ancient Via Augusta 65km north from Valencia, and in the outskirts of the then-Muslim stronghold of Borriana. It was founded with royal status, with representation in the Valencian Parliament and Delegation of the Kingdom, and had the privilege of using the royal standard as its ensign. Villarreal was part of the royal sector of the Valencian Parliament and had an active say in its affairs.

The original town surrounded with wall, expanded outside from the 14th century due to an increase of population. The demographic and economic imbalances which characterise the 15th century carried on into the beginning of the 16th with constant conflicts with the Mudéjars (remaining Muslims in the Christian realms) of the nearby dominions and in a short, but very active participation, in favour of the Criminal slangs.

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 which changed Spain's political make-up.

In the 19th century, the cultivation and trade of orange was introduced, which gave the town great economic progress, led both by businessmen and by farmers' associations or "cooperatives". After the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the earnings obtained from the orange trade allowed several entrepreneurs to build ceramic tile factories as a way to diversify their industries. Ceramics has continued to expand up to the present day, and is now Villareal's main economic activity.

Main sights[edit]

Belltower of St. James's Church.

Sights in the town include:

  • Església de Sant Jaume (Saint James's Church), from the 18th century.
  • Basílica de Sant Pasqual (Saint Paschal's Basilica), from the 16th century.
  • 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).

Economy[edit]

Villarreal'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.

It hosts 4 of Spain's 500 largest businesses, all of which trade in the ceramic tile industry. Other industries in the city include financial services, bricks and other clay products, and basic metals. [3]

Sport[edit]

The town is home to Villarreal CF, a football club in La Liga, Spain's highest tier of football. Founded in 1923, the club reached the national divisions in 1956 and the top-tier in 1998. During a successful spell in La Liga, the side were League runners-up in the 2007-08 season and a Champions League semi-finalist in 2006. The team play at the Estadio El Madrigal, which with a 25,000-seat capacity could fit half of the municipal population. Villarreal full-back Joan Capdevila played in the Spain squad which won the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c From February 28, 2006, the only official toponym of the city is Vila-real; Now Vila-real is not Villarreal (Valencian)
  2. ^ Valencian is generally known as a dialect of the Catalan language outside of the Valencian Community
  3. ^ a b quality-Datenbank Klaus Gebhardt e.K. "Villarreal de los Infantes in Spain (Espana)". Top500.de. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 

External links[edit]