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Vila Franca de Xira
is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 317.7 Km² and a total population of about 136,886 inhabitants . Situated on the west bank of the River Tejo (Tagus), just 32km 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 (fig.1), which is also a notable breeding ground for the magnificent Lusitano horse, esteemed for its quick reflexes and maneuverability.
The Lusitano horse is also known as the Pure Blood Lusitano or PSL (Puro Sangue Lusitanos), is a Portuguese horse breed, closely related to the spansih Andalusian horse. Both are sometimes called Iberian horses, as the breeds both developed on the Iberian peninsula.
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).
3km 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, 11km west of Vila Franca de Xira.
The municipality is composed of 11 parishes, and is located in the District of Lisbon.
Location in Portugal
7717197 Last modified: 2016-11-24 11:00:35, 7772 bytes
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