Vila Franca de Xira
|Vila Franca de Xira|
Location in Portugal
|• Mayor||Alberto Mesquita (PS)|
|• Total||317.7 km2 (122.7 sq mi)|
|Population ([year needed])|
|• Density||419/km2 (1,090/sq mi)|
|Municipal holiday||Ascension Day
Vila Franca de Xira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvilɐ ˈfɾɐ̃kɐ ðɨ ˈʃiɾɐ]) is a municipality in the Lisbon District in Portugal with a total area of 317.7 km2 and a total population of 133,224 inhabitants. Situated on the west bank of the Tagus River, just 32 km north-east of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, Vila Franca de Xira is said to have been founded by French followers of Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, around 1200.
The town is mostly famous for its bull-running festivals in July and October. Bulls are raised in the salty marshlands of the Ribatejo, which is also a notable breeding ground for the magnificent Lusitano horse, esteemed for its quick reflexes and maneuverability.
A number of brightly coloured Portuguese bullfighting costumes are on display in the ethnographic museum in the town's bullring, the Praça de Toiros (or Touros) Palha Blanco. Nearby, the town's Misericórdia church features striking 18th-century azulejos (glazed tiles). You can find too the Museum of Neo-Realism.
Three km south of Vila Franca de Xira lies the Lezíria Grande Equestrian Centre, where visitors can watch stylish displays of the impressive Lusitano horses. The centre also stages typical bullfighting spectacles in its outdoor bullring. Visitors can ride Lusitano horses and take dressage lessons at the Quinta de São Sebastião, a sprawling estate at Arruda dos Vinhos, 11 km west of Vila Franca de Xira.
|Vila Franca de Xira Municipality (1801–2008)|
|3 839||5 202||15 766||24 053||40 594||88 193||103 571||122 908||136 886|
- Alhandra, São João dos Montes e Calhandriz
- Alverca do Ribatejo e Sobralinho
- Castanheira do Ribatejo e Cachoeiras
- Póvoa de Santa Iria e Forte da Casa
- Vila Franca de Xira
- Diário da República. "Law nr. 11-A/2013, page 552 131" (pdf) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 4 August 2014.