Lleida Tourist Attractions
Lérida (Catalan Lleida) is chief town of its province and the largest city in western Catalonia, the Terres de Ponent. It lies on the Río Segre, half way between Barcelona and Zaragoza, in one of Spain's leading agricultural regions, made fertile by irrigation. Lérida has been the see of a bishop since 1149, and from 1300 to 1717 it had a university, the first in Catalonia, founded by King Jaime II. It is now a marketing center for agricultural produce.HistoryLérida was originally an Iberian foundation, which became Roman in the second Century B.C. under the name of Ilerda. During the Roman civil war the armies of Caesar and Pompey met here. Between 713 and 1117 the town was under Moorish rule for most of the time; then in 1149 it was taken by Ramón Berenguer IV. In later centuries it suffered repeated destruction in successive wars - in 1707 during the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1810 during a siege by the French, in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.
Lérida - Puente Viejo (Pont Vell)
There are good views of the lower town and the castle hill from the Old Bridge over the Río Segre.
Lérida - Diputación (Diputació)
To the east of the bridge, reached by way of the Plaza de San Juan (Catalan Plaça de Sant Joan), the town's main square, and Calle de San Juan, are the offices of the provincial government, the Diputación, where visitors can see collections of coins and of weapons.
Lérida - La Pahería (La Paeria)
To the west of the Old Bridge is an arcaded square, the Plaza de la Pahería, where the Calle Mayor (Catalan Carrer Major) begins. At the near end, on the left, is the Pahería (Paeria), which in the Middle Ages was the seat of the Paer, an officer responsible for maintaining law and order in the town; it is now the Town Hall. Several times rebuilt or renovated, it has an attractive façade with round- headed Romanesque windows. It houses a museum on the history of the town.
Lérida - New Cathedral
At the end of the Calle Mayor, on the right, is the Neo-Classical Catedral Nueva, the New Cathedral (1781), with a Corinthian portico. In the chapterhouse is a museum (valuable liturgical utensils, Flemish tapestries, etc.).
Hospital de Santa María
Opposite the portico of the New Cathedral is the Hospital de Santa María (15th-16th C.), originally a hospice for the poor and sick. The façade, in Catalan Gothic style, is plain, but there is a very handsome inner courtyard with an 18th century staircase. The building is now occupied by the Archeological Museum, with material from the town and surrounding area.
Always closed on: Catalunya Day - Spain (Sep 11)
Lérida - St Lawrence
A short distance northwest of the New Cathedral, adjoining the modern Bishop's Palace, is the little church of San Lorenzo. Built between 1270 and 1300 and much altered in later Centuries, it is said to occupy the site of a Roman temple which had been converted into a mosque. Its most notable features, apart from its octagonal tower, are its fine retablos (14th-15th C.), particularly one depicting scenes from the life and martyrdom of San Lorenzo.
Lérida - Diocesan Museum
West of the Bishop's Palace, in a former Seminary on the Rambla de Aragón (Catalan Rambla d'Aragó), is the Diocesan Museum, with a collection ofmedieval painting and church utensils and ornaments.
Lérida - El Roser
To the east of the New Cathedral in Lérida, El Roser, a Baroque convent now occupied by the Museu d'Art Jaume Morera, houses a museum of modern art displaying works by contemporary Catalan artists.
Lérida - Castell La Suda
From the Bishop's Palace the Calle de la Tallada (Catalan Carrer de la Tallada) and a stepped path lead up to the 12th century Castell La Suda; an easier way up is to take the lift from the Plaza de San Juan. This massive structure with its four towers was originally a Moorish stronghold and later became a palace of the kings of Aragon. From the gardens of the castle there are good views of the town.
Lérida - Old Cathedral
Within the walls of the castle stands the Old Cathedral, which dates from the 13th Century but was not completed until the 16th. It was built on the site of an earlier mosque: hence the position of the cloister on the west end of the cathedral, like the forecourt of a mosque. The cloister is the most striking feature of the cathedral, with its high traceried windows (offering fine views of the town), its finely carved capitals depicting fabulous beasts, intertwining plants and scenes from everyday life and the tall octagonal bell-tower (1416) at its northwest corner. The sculptural decoration of the church and the beautiful doorways shows the same consummate skill as the carving of the capitals. Particularly fine is the Porta dels Fillols in the south aisle - an outstanding example of the sculpture of the Lérida school which also shows Mozarabic influence.
Around Lérida can be found a number of important attractions, including the Desfiladero de Collegats, Parque Nacional de Aigües Tortes, and the village of Tahull.