Vila Franca de Xira
|• President||Alberto Mesquita (PS)|
|• Total||318.19 km2 (122.85 sq mi)|
|• Density||430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+01:00 (WEST)|
|Local holiday|| Ascension Day |
Vila Franca de Xira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvilɐ ˈfɾɐ̃kɐ ðɨ ˈʃiɾɐ] ( listen )) is a city and municipality in the Lisbon District in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 136,886, in an area of 318.19 km². Situated on both banks of the Tagus River, 32 km north-east of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, settlement in the area dates back to neolithic times, as evidenced by findings in the Cave of Pedra Furada. 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). The town also has a 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.
The municipality contains several forts built during the Peninsular War and forming part of the Lines of Torres Vedras. These include the Fort of Subserra on the first line of defence and the Forts of Serra da Aguieira and the Fort of Casa on the second line. Another place of interest, on the left bank, is the Hermitage of Nossa Senhora de Alcamé, which was built so that farmers on the Tagus floodplain would both have somewhere to pray and also somewhere of safety during floods. An annual pilgrimage is held to the hermitage with participants going by boat from the town of Vila Franca de Xira on the right bank.
The current Mayor is Alberto Mesquita,elected in 2013 as a member of the Socialist Party.
|Vila Franca de Xira Municipality (1801–2011)|
|3 839||5 202||15 766||24 053||40 594||88 193||103 571||122 908||136 886|
Administratively, the municipality is divided into 6 civil parishes ( freguesias ):
The Tagus is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. The river rises in the Montes Universales in mid-eastern Spain, flows 1,007 km (626 mi), generally west with two main south-westward sections, to empty into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon. Its drainage basin covers 80,100 square kilometers (30,927 sq mi) – exceeded in the peninsula only by the Douro. The river is highly used. Several dams and diversions supply drinking water to key population centres of central Spain and Portugal; dozens of hydroelectric stations create power. Between dams it follows a very constricted course, but after Almourol, Portugal it has a wide alluvial valley, prone to flooding. Its mouth is a large estuary culminating at the major port, and Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
The Lines of Torres Vedras were lines of forts and other military defences built in secrecy to defend Lisbon during the Peninsular War. Named after the nearby town of Torres Vedras, they were ordered by Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, constructed by Sir Richard Fletcher, 1st Baronet, and his Portuguese workers between November 1809 and September 1810, and used to stop Marshal Masséna's 1810 offensive. The Lines were declared a National Heritage by the Portuguese Government in March 2019.
The Lisbon Metropolitan Area is a metropolitan area in Portugal centered on Lisbon, the capital and largest city of the country. The metropolitan area, covering 18 municipalities is the largest urban area in the country and the 10th largest in the European Union, with a population in 2015 of 2,812,678 in an area of 3,015.24 km².
Almeirim is a city and a municipality in Santarém District, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 23,376, in an area of 222.12 km². The city proper had a population of 10,520 in 2001.
Vila Franca do Campo is a town and municipality in the southern part of the island of São Miguel in the Portuguese Autonomous Region of the Azores. The population of the municipality was 11,229 in 2011, in an area of 77.97 km². The town proper, which incorporates the urbanized parishes São Miguel and São Pedro, has 4100 inhabitants.
The Ribatejo is the most central of the traditional provinces of Portugal, with no coastline or border with Spain. The region is crossed by the Tagus River. The region contains some of the nation's richest agricultural land, and it produces most of the animals used in the Portuguese style of bullfighting.
Alpiarça is a municipality in Santarém District in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 7,702, in an area of 95.36 km².
Cartaxo is a municipality in the district of Santarém in continental Portugal. The population in 2011 was 24,462, in an area of 158.17 km². The urbanized centre of Cartaxo had a population of 9,507 in 2001.
Monsaraz is a civil parish (freguesia) of the municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz, on the right margin of the Guadiana River in the Portuguese Alentejo region, near its border with Spain. The population in 2011 was 782, in an area of 88.29 km².
Azambuja is a municipality in the Portuguese district of Lisbon, in the historical region of Ribatejo. The population in 2011 was 21,814, in an area of 262.66 km². Since 2002, it was integrated into the NUTS III statistical subregion of Lezíria do Tejo.
Alverca do Ribatejo is a city (cidade) and a former civil parish in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. In 2013, the parish merged into the new parish Alverca do Ribatejo e Sobralinho.
Castanheira do Ribatejo e Cachoeiras is a civil parish in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. It was formed in 2013 by the merger of the former parishes Castanheira do Ribatejo and Cachoeiras. The population in 2011 was 8,266, in an area of 26.78 km².
Loures is a city and a municipality in the central Portuguese Grande Lisboa Subregion. It is situated 13 km to the north of Lisbon. It was created on 26 July 1886 by a royal decree. The population in 2011 was 199,494, in an area of 167.24 km². It borders the municipalities of Odivelas, Sintra, Mafra, Arruda dos Vinhos, Vila Franca de Xira and Lisbon. The municipality is basically divided in three areas: the rustic one, to the north, the urban one, to the south and the urban-industrial, to the east. Portela de Sacavém is the site of Portugal's largest airport.
Alhandra, São João dos Montes e Calhandriz is a civil parish in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. It was formed in 2013 by the merger of the former parishes Alhandra, São João dos Montes and Calhandriz. The population in 2011 was 12,866, in an area of 27.54 km².
Alverca do Ribatejo e Sobralinho is a civil parish in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. It was formed in 2013 by the merger of the former parishes Alverca do Ribatejo and Sobralinho. The population in 2011 was 36,120, in an area of 23.92 km².
The Fort of Casa was the most easterly of the forts and redoubts built in 1809-10 during the Peninsular War on the second line of the three defensive Lines of Torres Vedras aimed at protecting the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. It is situated in the parish of Forte da Casa, in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, in the Lisbon District.
The Forts of Serra da Aguieira were three forts constructed within 100 metres of each other as part of the second line of defence of the so-called Lines of Torres Vedras, which were constructed by Anglo-Portuguese forces in 1810 in order to protect the Portuguese capital Lisbon from possible invasion by the French during the Peninsular War. The forts are situated in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira, in the Lisbon District of Portugal. From north to south the three forts are the Fort of Aguieira, the Fort of Portela Grande, and the Fort of Portela Pequena.
The Vila Franca de Xira Bullring, also known as the Palha Blanco Bullring is situated in the centre of the town of Vila Franca de Xira in the municipality of the same name in the Lisbon District of Portugal. It was built in 1901, is still used and is one of the eight “First Category” bullrings in the country.
The Hermitage of Nossa Senhora de Alcamé is situated on the Lezíria flood plain on the left bank of the River Tagus, in the municipality of Vila Franca de Xira in the Lisbon District of Portugal. Designed by José Manuel de Carvalho e Negreiros, its construction was ordered in 1746 by the First Patriarch of Lisbon, Tomás de Almeida, and continued until around 1755.