KNOWING SPAIN. THE TOWN OF CREIXELL (TARRAGONA-CATALUNYA)
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Creixell belongs to the district of Tarragones of the province of Tarragona. It covers a territorial extension of 10, 5 Km2. It is very near from the Mediterranean coast, and right next to ?El Mass?s de Bonastre?. This massif occupies more than half of the surface of the township which is situated in the north part; and in the east side is where there is the inhabited centre, in a plane area. The littoral has no geographic accidents. Within the township, there are many private residential areas which are very close to the village. One of the most famous is the “Barri de les Botigues de Mar”, which is next to the beach which is 1.200 mts. long, far from the inhabited centre.
According to the last census carried out by the Nacional Institute of Statistics, in 2001 there were 2.086 inhabitants.
The oldest remains that have been found in the village belong to a Roman village from the II and III centuries. They were built in an area that is known nowadays as “La Clota”, between the national road and the beach. By the coast of Creixell is been found some pieces of ceramics, lead, stone and other tools used hundred of years ago.
The first documents talking about Creixell date from the XI century. It appears a place called “Lloc de les Morisques” which belongs to the township nowadays. Creixell appears in many documents of donation and sales, until the Archbishop of Barcelona Ramon de Castellvell, in 1190, gave a Population permit to the people who wanted to live in the village of Creixell.
In the XVI century, most of the villages of El Tarragon?s developed an intense vitality and activity due to the presence of ?La Comuna del Camp?. However, there were many attacks from the pirates and some plagues that affected these villages, such as the Black Death. Nevertheless, a few years later they experienced a demographic increase due to the entrance of many French people in this area. During the “Guerra dels Segadors” the village was sacked and robbed by the soldiers. It supported the Archiduque Carlos during the “Guerra de Successi?”, as many villages of “La Comuna” did, and contributed to the war with some soldiers and quantities of money.
During the XVIII century, Creixell became a part of the “Corregiment de Tarragona”, and as in all the villages of the country, there was a strong demographic and economic decrease. In 1767, after the Jesuits were expulsed, the jurisdiction of the village went to the hands of the crown, which sold it to Salvador de Marc. He and his descendants governed the “Se?or?o de Creixell and Roda” until the manor rights were abolished.
During the XIX century, the Carlinas fights divided the village at the time that it started to recover from the recession until the philloxera crisis impacted in it.
In the XX century, after the Civil War in 1936, the emigration was important. In the decade of the sixties, the tourist phenomena completely changed the life of Creixell, as well as most of the littoral villages of the Costa Dorada.
There is a few typical dishes such as the ?esmarris?, a peculiar way of eating anchovies and blue fish. ?All i Pebre? is another dish consisting of fish stew served with their best local wine.
Another very typical dish is ?el Rossejat? which consists of rice, but toasted. To manage this, they pour the rice on top of boiling olive oil, letting it toast, and later pouring some stock.
FIESTAS AND TRADITIONS
On the 25th of July they celebrate the ?minor major fiesta?, in honour to Sant Jaume. There is another major fiesta called ?Minerva?, celebrated on the third Sunday of September, in honour to the ?Santisim Sacrament?.
The agriculture was the most important activity in Creixell, until 1960. Since then, this activity has decreased in number of employees. In the irrigated lands, which are the ones that give higher profits, the farmers grow some vegetables. The dry lands have almost disappeared, although the carob tree is still important, which is used as a raw material by many industries.
The activities related with the cattle, fishing and industry are very infrequent. The tourism has been the basic activity since 1960. All the necessary equipment for tourists has been installed, and this has necessarily changed the structure of the village (camping?s, apartments, etc).
The tourists who visit Creixell come from the nearest counties and enjoy the village not only during the Summer but all the weekends throughout the year.
PLACES TO VISIT
The parish church, which was built in the XVI century, in honour to Sant Jaume. It is a Gothic building, and it has a belfry that was built around 1771, following the designs of the architect Jujol.
The Castle, from its first construction in the XI century, it only conserves the “tal?s”. The building was reconstructed between the XVI and XVII centuries and modified again in the XIX century.
There are some interesting “Masies within the township, which are typical Catalan homes. The most famous is “Cal Mercader”. It was built at the beginning of the XVIII century, but after then it had some reformations done, and is fairly damaged nowadays. Inside the “Clos de Mas Mercader” there is the Chapel of Santa Teresa which is well conserved.
Another interesting place is the Hermitage of la Mare de D?u de F?tima, which was built in 1952.
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