Castellón de la Plana is capital of Castellón province eastern Spain and lies on the Costa del Azahar (the Orange Blossom Coast) north of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. It is surrounded by a fertile agricultural area that produces oranges and lemons for domestic and international markets. The climate is warm with plenty of sunshine, and Castellón de la Plana is popular with holidaymakers throughout the year.
Most of the historical buildings are located in the tiny old town, around the Plaza Mayor (Main Square). These include the Gothic Concatedral de Santa Maria, built in the 13th century and reconstructed one century later and again in 1936 and the Ayuntamiento (City Hall), erected at the beginning of the 18th century featuring a pretty Tuscan-style façade rising up over a colonnade. Also worth seeing is the standing bell-tower of the procathedral, known as El Fadrí (the single one), built at the turn of the 17th century and the Llotja del Cànem (Hemp Exchange Market), built during the first half of the 17th century to be used by traders in hempen cloth and ropes, a very important activity in the area at the time. On the northeast edge of the town, at the end of a broad avenue decorated with orange trees, stands the Basilica of Santa María del Lledó, a basilica devoted to an image of the Virgin Mary found in 1366 by a farmer when he was ploughing his lands. The original 14th-century chapel was extended to its present Baroque form during the 16th century.
The first known building in the area was the Moorish castle of Fadrell, near the Alquerías de La Plana. The town proper was officially founded in 1251, after the conquest of the Moorish Kingdom of Valencia by King James I of Aragon in 1233. During the Middle Ages, the city was protected by moats, walls and towers, and a church was built, later becoming a cathedral, but in the 19th century, the city walls were torn down. It became capital of Castellón in 1833. However, now much of the town is modern, and was rebuilt after extensive damage sustained during the Spanish Civil War - the city was one of the last Republican strongholds.
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