City of Vila Franca de Xira
Vila Franca de Xira is predominantly an agricultural area, however, the industry is growing. Vila Franca de Xira is close to Ribatejo. It is a region rich in history where we can find records of human activity on chipped stone instruments collected on the Quaternary terrace of Alverca, which date back to the Lower Paleolithic.
It was in the Roman domain that Vila Franca de Xira had a strong development. Its geographical position favors access to Lisbon by the route along the river as well as by the road that used to transport its agricultural products.
It was an Arab square at the end of the century. XII, received the charter of the Peoples in 1195, and in 1510 it was given the definitive charter given by D. Manuel I. Another milestone in its history was the departure, at the end of the century. XV, of the expedition of Bartolomeu Dias, that from the port of Vila Franca de Xira managed in his trip to fold the Cape of Good Hope. Their lezirias were abundant in cereals, vegetables, game and cattle, windmills, watermills and oil presses where they employed a vast force of newsmen and tenants from other places.
In the 19th century, with industrialization and the construction of the country’s first railway line, which connected Lisbon to Carregado, its population grew strongly; the city gained a new strength, not only economic but also cultural, where Alves Redol and Soeiro, the famous neo-realistic group from Vila Franca, stand out. It is a city that perpetuates its traditions in events organized throughout the year, such as the traditional Feira de Outubro, under the sign of the wild party, includes bullfights and bullfights, starting in the main streets of the city, Salão do Cavalo, Races das Lezírias and a hall dedicated to handicrafts with small taverns where we can delight in the rich gastronomy of the region. In terms of monuments, we can visit the Church Martyr (16th century) and the Church of Misericórdia,
In its train station, rich in tiles by Mestre Jorge Colaço, we can see testimonies of its agricultural strength and its main trades.
(Posted by Fernando Andrezo)