Pontevedra (Galician: [ˌponteˈβɛðɾa],
Spanish: [ponteˈβeðɾa]) is a Spanish city in the northwest of
the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the
and Province of Pontevedra, and of the
Rias Baixas in Galicia. It is
also the capital of its own municipality which is, in fact, often
considered as an extension of the actual city.
Pontevedra is the
provincial district court seat.
Pontevedra has transformed into one of the most accessible cities and
has been awarded for its urban quality international prizes like the
European prize, "Intermodes" in
Brussels in 2013, the United Nations
Habitat prize in
Dubai in 2014 and the "Excellence Prize" of the
Active Design in
New York City
New York City in 2015.
Pontevedra is on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago.
2.1 Location and subdivisions
6 Health, education and culture
9 Sister cities
10 Notable people
11 See also
14 External links
The name of the city is likely a Latin composite of pons, pontis
(bridge) and veter, vetera, veterum (old, long established). In
Galicia, Latin pons, a masculine word, became feminine, hence Vulgar
Latin Ponte Vetera, which became by the 13th century the modern
Galician language toponymy Pontevedra, "the old bridge", in reference
to an old Roman bridge across the
Lérez River which had been located
near the 12th century Burgo Bridge (gl) that remains in place
Location and subdivisions
Praza da Leña, the old firewood marketplace, in the old quarter
Burgo Bridge was built in the 12th century near the former site of a
Roman bridge, the "old bridge" that gave the city its name.
Ria of Pontevedra, Congress Hall and Tirantes Bridge
The municipality of
Pontevedra is located between 42°20' and 42°30'
north and 8°33' and 8°41' west, in the southwestern Galician coast,
an area popularly known as Rias Baixas. The municipality covers
118.3 km² and is about 20 km wide from north to south.
The city sits at the end of the ria that bears its name, occupying the
valleys of the Lérez and Tomeza rivers. It extends southwards to the
mouth of river Verdugo in Ponte Sampaio. It is surrounded by four
mountainous regions divided by two faults, one stretching north-south
and one from northeast to southwest.
To the north it borders the municipalities of Barro,
Moraña and Campo
Lameiro; to the east,
Cotobade and Ponte Caldelas; to the south,
Vilaboa and Marín, and to the west,
Poio and the ria,
leading to the Atlantic Ocean.
The main parroquias (parishes) of
Pontevedra are: Alba, Bora,
Campañó, A Canicouva, Cerponzóns, Estribela, Lérez, Lourizán,
Marcón, Mourente, Ponte Sampaio, Salcedo, San Xosé, Santa María de
Xeve, Tomeza, Verducido, Xeve.
The neighbourhoods or main areas of
Pontevedra are: O Burgo,
Monteporreiro, Campolongo, Mollabao, A Seca, Salgueiriños, A Parda,
Gorgullón. The residential area of A Caeira, although officially
located in the municipality of Poio, is often considered as just
another neighbourhood of
Pontevedra since the vast majority of the
residents work in
Pontevedra and relate to the city.
The municipality of
Pontevedra is composed of the city of Pontevedra
and fifteen rural parishes in close proximity, with a total population
of 82,946 (as of 2014). This results in a relative high density of
population of 710.1 inhabitants per square kilometre. More than
two-thirds of the population live in the city, and less than one-third
in the rural parishes.
The population of
Pontevedra is aging, with generational replacement
is not necessarily assured, although the city's population has been
gradually growing in recent years. Broken down by age, 15.93% of the
population were senior citizens, 69% between 15 and 65 years, and just
15.01% under the 15 years of age. The natality rate (9.8‰) is only
+1.8 over the mortality rate (8‰). The migrational balance is
slightly positive (+350 people in 2006). According to the local
Pontevedra is, since 1999, the fastest growing Galician
city, with an average of +1000 more inhabitants per year.
According to the 2001 census, 29.6% of the population have Galician as
their mother tongue, where 32.1% speak it "often". The remaining 38.3%
speak Spanish as their native language or speak mostly in Spanish
Pontevedra has a humid oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb). The average
temperature is 15 °C (59 °F), with a daily average of
9.5 °C (49.1 °F) in January and 20.5 °C
(68.9 °F) in July. These are unusually mild for a city so far
north, and are due to Pontevedra’s proximity to the sea and to the
moderating effect of the ria. Yet, like all the Galician coast,
Pontevedra is subject to occasional Atlantic storms in winter. These
are characterised by a quick drop in temperature, rain and gales. With
eleven of the twelve months above 10 °C (50 °F) Pontevedra
is in the maritime subtropical climate zone under the Trewartha
climate classification, a classification it falls short of under the
Köppen classification due to the cool summer nights.
Overall Pontevedra, as Galicia, is rainy, especially at the end of
autumn and winter, with an annual average precipitation of 1,700 to
1,900 millimetres (66.9 to 74.8 in), and around 134 rainy days
per year. Summer is drier, generally speaking, but the odd heavy
rainfall does happen even then.
Climate data for
Pontevedra 108m (1981-2010)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología
Pontevedra is well connected by road and rail. It sits on the A
Vigo railway and motorway corridor.
Pontevedra is located
between the Galician capital
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela (58 km to the
north) and the largest Galician municipality,
Vigo (30 km to the
Pontevedra itself does not have an airport, but both the
municipalities of Compostela and
Vigo have airports. A good network of
roads and motorways efficiently connects
Pontevedra with these cities,
and also with
Portugal (57 km to the south), and inland
(100 km to the eastern city of Ourense). Regular bus lines link
Pontevedra with other Galician cities and towns, as well as with
Lisbon (among others).
The city of
Pontevedra capital, seen from The Caeira neighbourhood
AVE high-speed train (in Spanish Tren de alta velocidad, or TAV)
Pontevedra and the city is a stop in the "Atlantic Line",
running from the northern Galician city of
A Coruña to Lisbon
Pontevedra will benefit from the
high-speed train connecting Galicia and central Spain. That Galician
connection will be fully operational in 2018.
Despite the fact that
Pontevedra was once the main Galician port, at
present the tiny
Pontevedra harbour is only used for recreational
purposes, not for cargo or passenger transportation. Neighbouring
Marín is a major military and commercial harbour 7 km away.
Pontevedra has traditionally been a trading city. In the Middle Ages,
guilds thrived in the old town, giving name to streets and squares
still preserved today. At that time
Pontevedra was the main Galician
port, providing for a very intense fishing and sea-trading activity.
In the 1833 territorial division of
Spain Galicia was sub-divided into
four provinces, and
Pontevedra became capital of its own province. The
city then became an administrative and commercial centre, in contrast
with Vigo, which attracted the industrial activity, after Franco's
government gave this city a free-trade zone and a Development Pole. In
fact, the first modern industries to appear in
Pontevedra would only
do so in the 1960s.
At present, the tertiary sector employs 65 per cent of the population,
while industry employs 17 per cent. Industrial activity is reduced to
a handful of companies, namely pulp mills (in gradual recession) and
construction. The tertiary sector is not especially dynamic, although
a number of policies have been implemented to improve the situation.
Tourism is on the increase, with visitors coming mostly from
Portugal. The total unemployment rate is 20.47% (November 2015) with a
54% unemployment rate for young people (16–25 years old) according
to data from the INE (National Statistics Institute). Pontevedra
was the seat of Caixa de Pontevedra.
The Fiel Contraste
A local legend relates the foundation of
Pontevedra to Teucer, hero of
the Trojan War, a legend which was reinforced with the suspicion that
Greek traders might have arrived to the
Rias Baixas area in ancient
times. However, historians and archaeologists tend to agree that
the initial settlement was probably formed during the integration of
Gallaecia (old Galicia) into the
Roman Empire (circa 1st century
BC)(Reference is required). The current name of the city is a Latin
composite, derived from Pons/Pontis (bridge) and Veteris/Vetera (old),
hence Ponte(m)Vetera(m), and thence
Galician language Ponte-Vedra,
"the old bridge", in reference to the old Roman bridge across Lérez
River. Well-connected since Roman times,
itself as an intermediate town during the Suebic period (circa 5th-6th
During the 12th century
Pontevedra rose as an important commercial
centre; it reached its zenith in the 15th century as a trade and
Pontevedra was the main Galician urban centre. In
Pontevedra has the second largest "old town" in Galicia, only
after Santiago de Compostela.
Pontevedra was on the route of the Way
of Saint James, namely its southern or "Portuguese" branch. The
"Igrexa da Virxe Peregrina" (Church of the Pilgrims), with its
distinctive scallop-shaped floor plan, is a popular destination for
tourists and pilgrims.
In the 16th century it still was a commercial city, with an increase
in fishing. At that time,
Pontevedra was the largest Galician port, as
it was a secure port open to the sea. One of Christopher Columbus'
ships, the carrack Santa Maria, originally named La Gallega ("The
Galician"), was built in Pontevedra. It was in centuries later
that the sedimentation caused by river Lérez gradually rendered the
harbour unsuitable for large-scale navigation.
The end of the 16th century marked the beginning of the decline of the
city, a decline which had already started for the rest of Galicia from
the end of the 15th century. The situation would worsen during the
17th and 18th centuries. The port drastically reduced its activity due
to the mentioned geographical causes. Furthermore, political decisions
and dynastic conflicts provoked a general decay in trade, thus
resulting in the depopulation of the city; the population was reduced
in half during that time, also affected by epidemics.
Gothic Bells House
In the beginning of the 19th century
Pontevedra was little more than a
small backward town. Fishing, arts and crafts kept the economy going.
Yet, with the establishment of new provincial divisions in 1833
Pontevedra suddenly saw itself transformed into a provincial capital.
Pontevedra then grew and slowly became an administrative centre. The
introduction of the railway also reconnected the city with the rest of
the country, after having lost its harbour. All in all, Pontevedra
sees in this century a cultural, economic and urban revival. It is in
Pontevedra when, in 1853, Xoán Manuel Pintos publishes the first book
in modern Galician, "A gaita gallega".
Pontevedra entered the 20th century with great prospects. At that
point the city was the Galician cultural and political heart.
Galicianists - such as
Alexandre Bóveda and
Castelao - took up
residence in the city, where they founded the Partido Galeguista
("Galicianist Party") in 1931, origin of contemporary Galician
nationalism. Yet, the
Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and subsequent
Francoist dictatorship (1939–1975) suddenly ended Pontevedra's
progression. Political repression and economic hardships forced many
to emigrate. It was only during the 1960s, with the introduction of
some industrial activity, when the local economy partially recovered.
However, these same industries would later cause serious environmental
and health concerns, forcing the eventual closure of some of them.
With the end of the dictatorship in 1975 the construction sector also
developed. Improvements in the communications network during the 1980s
and 1990s helped
Pontevedra to regain weight in the Rias Baixas
region, acting again as a trade hub and focusing on its administrative
functions as provincial capital. Since 1999
Pontevedra has seen
intense urban renewal and cultural revival, positively influencing the
Pontevedra has transformed into one of the most
accessible cities for disabled people, and was awarded a national
prize for this issue in 2006 and the European prize, "Intermodes" in
The introduction of university studies in the city during the 1990s
contributed further to the growth of the city.
The city of
Pontevedra capital, night view.
Pontevedra is a provincial and comarcal (county, but with no
administrative role) capital, as well as seat of the district court.
The city hosts the headquarters of the provincial government as well
as a delegation of the Galician government, in addition to some
offices representing the Spanish government. The city provides a wide
range of administrative services with an effect reaching far beyond
its municipal limits. This makes
Pontevedra a focal point for intense
political struggles despite its relative small size.
Administrative City of Pontevedra
Since the restoration of democracy in 1977 after the dictatorship,
Pontevedra's local government had traditionally been controlled by the
People's Party of Galicia (Partido Popular de Galicia,
PPdeG-PP). However, after the 1999 elections the office of
won by Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores, representing the Galician
Nationalist Bloc (Bloque Nacionalista Galego, BNG), in coalition with
Socialists' Party of Galicia
Socialists' Party of Galicia (Partido Socialista de Galicia,
PSdeG-PSOE), until today. The local corporation is divided into a
number of departments, or concellarias, each one dealing with a
specific issue such as Planning, Environment, Revenue, Mobility and
Transportation, Sports, Public Works, or Tourism.
Results of the local elections in Pontevedra:
Health, education and culture
Pontevedra is well provided with quality private and public clinics
and health centres, where the Montecelo Hospital stands out as the
largest health centre in the comarca and one of the largest in the
province. This hospital is renowned for its oncology department.
Public health is regulated by the Galician Health Service (Servizo
Galego de Saúde).
Ponte dos Tirantes, modern bridge over Lérez River
The city houses a number of university departments, acting as a branch
of the University of Vigo. Namely these are: Nursing, Forestry
Technical Engineering, Physiotherapy, Educational Sciences and Sport,
and Social, Media and Communication Sciences. Many come to Pontevedra
to complete their studies in Fine Arts, as this is the only location
in Galicia where this discipline can be studied at university level.
Pontevedra also hosts a branch of the Spanish national distance
university, the UNED. The city has its own Official School of
Languages, regulated by the Galician Department of Education.
Cultural infrastructure in
Pontevedra is mainly represented by two
venues: The Teatro Principal, in the old town, with a capacity of 434
seated spectators; and the Auditorium-Congress Hall, a modern
complex composed by an auditorium with capacity for 772 seated people,
a large congress hall, and a number of meeting rooms and smaller
halls. In addition, every year the City Council organises a series
of free, open and public activities, such as a
Jazz festival, open air
cinema sessions, a medieval fair reenactment, and other
festivities that normally take place in the streets and public squares
of the old town.
Pontevedra Conservatory was established in 1863 and is celebrating
its sesquicentenary in 2013. It has been renamed the Conservatorio
Profesional de Música Manuel Quiroga, in honour of one of the city's
most famous sons, the violinist, composer and artist Manuel Quiroga
An ancient town and medieval port,
Pontevedra has been described as a
"definitive old Galician town". Sights include the pilgrim chapel in
the Praza da Peregrina, the historic Zona Monumental (old city), the
Praza de Leña, the market, and the Alameda, a promenade along the
Pontevedra has a large pedestrian centre (the old town and
surroundings) which, together with a number of parks and public
squares, makes the city very pleasant for strolling. In recent years
most historical buildings and streets have been either re-built or
revamped, providing for a well preserved urban landscape.
The city by its Ria
Santo Domingo Church
Upper part of Santa Maria Basilica façade
Round Baroque Pilgrim Church
Corrientes Bridge, from the inside
Curros Enríquez Square, old town
Teucro on San José square
Baroque San Bartolomé church
City Hall, 19th century
Santo Domingo Church
Mugartegui Baroque Palace
19th century palace, Headquarters of the Provincial Council
Pontevedra Baroque Palace
Gothic church of San Francisco
Cultural Center and Concert Hall
Santa Maria square
Marina of Pontevedra, between Barca Bridge and Corrientes Bridge
Market and Lérez River
Renaissance basilica Santa Maria
Footbridge and Tirantes Bridge over Lérez River
Labyrinth of Pontevedra, Robert Morris
Ria and Barca Bridge
García Flórez Palace,
Santa Maria Basilica
Promenade by the sea
Faculty of Social and Communication Sciences
Santa Maria Basilica, inside
San José church in the Campolongo district
Manuel Quiroga street
Graffiti in Campolongo dedicated to Xoan Manuel Pintos
Valle-Inclán on Méndez Núñez square
Church of San Benito Monastery
Pontevedra has a long sporting tradition, with a number of teams
competing professionally in different categories. For example:
Pontevedra CF, playing in the Spanish "Segunda División B".
Handball: SD Teucro, playing in the Spanish
Liga ASOBAL (first
division). There is also a minor handball team called BM Cisne.
Indoor football: Leis 26 Pontevedra, playing in the Spanish second
division of the Spanish indoor football professional league (LNFS).
Pontevedra has two rugby teams, Mareantes Rugby Clube
Pontevedra Rugby Club. Both teams play in the Galician
First Division. In the 2012/13 season, Mareantes RCP won the play-off
final to become the league champions.
Volleyball: C. Durán (amateur).
Waterpolo: CN Pontevedra, playing in the Galician
Fencing: Club Escola Hungaresa de Esgrima de Pontevedra, founded in
2007, this is the only fencing club in Galicia specialised in sabre.
Members of this club compete regularly in the Galician leagues and in
the Spanish Sabre Championship.
Pontevedra is the seat of the Centro Galego de Tecnificación
Deportiva (High Performance Sporting Centre of Galicia), and it also
hosts a number of rowing and canoeing clubs. World and Olympic
David Cal used to train in the ria of Pontevedra.
Pontevedra is twinned with
Barcelos, Braga, Portugal
Gondomar, Metro Porto, Portugal
Merlo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
San José, Costa Rica
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal
Enrique MacDonell Vice Admiral Spanish Navy.
Paio Gomes Charinho (1225–1295), poet and troubadour
Pedro Mariño de Lobeira (1528–1594), conquistador and chronicler of
Arauco War in the Captaincy General of Chile
Benito de Soto
Benito de Soto (1805-1830) Notorious pirate, considered the "Last
Pirate of the Atlantic Ocean"
Xoán Manuel Pintos Villar (1811–1876), writer, author and editor of
the first publication in modern Galician
Perfecto Feijoo (1858–1935), medical doctor and musician
Manuel Portela Valladares
Manuel Portela Valladares (1867–1952), politician
Castelao (1886–1950), writer, artist and politician, often
considered as the most influential figure in Galician contemporary
history. Although he was not born in Pontevedra,
Castelao expressed a
clear wish to be considered an "adoptive son of the city" and to be
Manuel Varela Radío (1873–1962), medical doctor and academic
Manuel Quiroga (1892-1961), violinist, composer and artist
Valentín Paz Andrade
Valentín Paz Andrade (1898–1987), magistrate, politician and writer
Xosé Filgueira Valverde (1906–1996), historian and writer
Alejandro de la Sota
Alejandro de la Sota (1913–1996), architect
Pío Cabanillas Gallas
Pío Cabanillas Gallas (1923–1991), politician
César Portela (1937-), architect
Luciano Varela (1948-), magistrate
Fina Casalderrey (1951- ), writer
Alberto Casado Cerviño (1952- ), civil servant, vice-president of the
European Patent Office
Víctor Fernández Freixanes (1957- ), journalist, writer and
Francis Lorenzo (1960- ), actor
Manel Loureiro (1975- ), writer
Francisco Javier Gómez Noya
Francisco Javier Gómez Noya (1983- ), triathlete, World Champion
Manuel Miranda (1930-2012), carpenter and musician
Asociación pola defensa da ría
List of municipalities in Pontevedra
Province of Pontevedra
^  (Centre for Active Design, New York). Access date 5 May 2015
^ Cabeza Quiles, Fernando (2008). Toponimia de Galicia. Vigo: Galaxia.
p. 507. ISBN 978-84-9865-092-1.
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Pontevedra (municipality), from the
Galician Institute of Statistics. Access date 22 April 2009
^ Concello de Pontevedra, Introduction to Pontevedra
^ Banco de dados municipal (Pontevedra), IGE, retrieved on 21/05/10
^ Meteogalicia Archived 24 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
(Galician Meteorological Centre). Access date 29 September 2008
^ "Guía resumida del clima en España (1981-2010)".
^ Newspaper La Voz de Galicia Archived 15 July 2009 at the Wayback
Machine., on possible delays in the construction of the high speed
railways. 11 April 2006
^ Newspaper Diario de
Pontevedra Archived 7 July 2012 at Archive.is,
on expected investments and time of completion. 29 September 2008.
^ Vieiros. 12 January 2009.
^ ADIF Archived 23 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine., on the
deployment of the high-speed train in North and North-Western Spain.
14 April 2010
^ Ireland in Galicia Archived 29 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine., by
the Amergin University Institute of Research in Irish Studies Archived
1 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine., University of A Coruña.
Access date 17-11-2008
^ Picture of commemorative monument and explanation
^ Text in Spanish explaining the alleged Galician origin of Columbus
and how the main ship was built in
Pontevedra Archived 30 September
2015 at the Wayback Machine.
^ History of
Pontevedra Archived 17 November 2006 at the Wayback
Machine., by the Concello de Pontevedra. Access date 29 September 2008
^ Details on accessibility urban reform Archived 2 October 2008 at the
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Pontevedra as a "model to follow" in
Portugal Archived 11 October
2008 at the Wayback Machine.. Access date 7 Oct 2008
^ Recent prizes and accolades awarded to the city of Pontevedra
Archived 2 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. Access date 7 Oct.
^ Instituto Galego de Estatística (Galician Institute of Statistics;
primary source) Access date 18 Sept. 2008
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^ El País newspaper Archived 25 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.,
coverage on local elections. Access date 18 Sept. 2008
^ ABC newspaper, coverage on local elections. Access date 18 Sept.
^ Hospital Montecelo de Pontevedra, Mourente s/n, 36071 Pontevedra,
Galicia. Ph (+34)986 800000
Pontevedra Campus Archived 21 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.,
of the University of Vigo
^ University of
Vigo Archived 22 September 2008 at the Wayback
Machine., listing of campuses and departments
^ UNED -
^ Teatro Principal
^ Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de
^ Video of the Feira Franca (medieval fair recreation in Pontevedra).
Retrieved 20 September 2008. Approx. running time 22 minutes
^ Conservatorio Profesional Manuel Quiroga,
Salvador da Bahia Archived 15 July 2009 at the Wayback
^ List of sister cities of Galician municipalities (by IGADI)
Castelao in a letter to the President of the
Pontevedra Centre in
Buenos Aires, 1947 Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
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Pontevedra e o mar. Simposio de
historia marítima do século XII ao XVI. Concello de Pontevedra,
De la Peña, A. (1996): Historia de Pontevedra. Vía Láctea, A
Díaz Martínez, C. et al. (2001): A memoria de Pontevedra. Edicións
Fariña Jamardo, X. (2000): "La capitalidad de Pontevedra", in
Historia de las Rías, vol. 2, p. 489-504. Faro de Vigo, Vigo
García-Braña, C. et al. (1988): Pontevedra, planteamiento histórico
y urbanístico, Deputación Provincial de Pontevedra, Servizo de
Juega Puig, J. et al. (1996): Historia de Pontevedra. Via Láctea, A
Juega Puig, J. (2000): As ruas de Pontevedra. Deputación Provincial
de Pontevedra, Servizo de Publicacións, Pontevedra
López y López Rios, B. (1990): Pontevedra, de la leyenda a la
historia. Deputación Provincial de Pontevedra, Servizo de
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pontevedra.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Pontevedra.
Pontevedra - Official site of the local government (in
Galician and Spanish, with summarised versions in English and French)
Pontevedra - Official site of the
Pontevedra tourist board,
maintained by the local government (in Galician, English, Spanish and
Rias Baixas - Official site of the
Rias Baixas tourist board (in
Galician, English and Spanish)
Pontevedra - Official site of the provincial government
Pontevedra (in Galician)
Pontevedra - local newspaper of
Pontevedra (mostly in
Spanish, with some articles in Galician)
Pazo da Cultura - Official site of the Auditorium-Congress Hall
complex and Teatro Principal, maintained by the local government (in
Galician and Spanish)
Pontevedra Cultura - What's on in cultural events in Pontevedra
Cities in Galicia
Santiago de Compostela
Municipalities in the province of Pontevedra
Caldas de Reis
Fornelos de Montes
A Illa de Arousa
Mondariz – Balneario
Pazos de Borbén
Salceda de Caselas
Salvaterra de Miño
Vila de Cruces
Vilagarcía de Arousa
Vilanova de Arousa
Capitals of provinces of Spain
Castellón de la Plana
Coordinates: 42°26′N 8°38′W / 42.433°N 8.633°W /