"Where I spent my childhood..." Vilanova i la Geltru by Belsaita
Vilanova i la Geltru Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 22 photos
Yes I was born at this nice town, and stayed there until I was 17. It has changed quite a lot, but different as other coastal resorts, I would say it has improved. Formerly mainly an industrial city, recently it has re-discovered its beaches and tourism possibilities.
Vilanova i La Geltrú is the capital of El Garraf. Located half-way between the main metropolitan areas of Barcelona (40 Km to the North), and Tarragona (45 Km to the South). Its current population is about 62,000.
A bit of history:
Many centuries ago, there was an Iberian settlement (you can still see some remains near the beach). Some Roman vestiges have been found in the area too. But it looks it was a very small setlement.
In the early middle ages, there were 2 castles (with its villages) in the area: La Geltrú and Cubelles. It's said that some inhabitants from La Geltrú, fed up of the abuses of one evil lord, escaped from him crossing the small river that divided both properties. This way, they were under protection of the Lord of Cubelles (it seems he was more benevolent), so the primitive town was named Vila-Nova de Cubelles (New Town of Cubelles). A few centuries later the new setlement and the old town of La Geltrú were united, and in 1274 Vilanova i la Geltrú awarded the Carta Pobla (City Charter) by the King Jaume I the Conqueror. The old division river is now under the Carrer de la Uniò (Union street).
As a city, it has always had a dynamic economy, originally based on its agriculture and wine shipping commerce (in the 18th and 19th centuries), and later on, its textile industry. There were quite a few enterprising men who traveled to America in the 19th Century, mainly to Cuba, and became rich "Indianos". You can still admire a few of their beautiful houses, one of them now a worth-visiting museum: Casa Papiol . At the time, Vilanova was known as Havana Xica (little Havana), and for this reason there are many street names with Cuban reminiscences. Since the first half of the 20th century the industry diversified, with the presence of large factories. The city still maintains a certain amount of agricultural commerce and one of the most important fishing fleets in Catalonia (3rd seaport, after Barcelona and Tarragona). Recently, there has also been an important development in the sector of tourism and leisure facilities.
OK, that's enough... come and see yourself!
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