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Salouhistory
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In the twenties, construction of the modernist chalets along the Passeig Jaume I promenade was begun, and the first summer residents and tourists began to arrive. In the 60s, Salou began a process of spectacular urban growth leading up to the current tourism phenomenon. 1965 saw the erection of the monument to King Jaume I, a veritable symbol of contemporary Salou.

In the 70s, an organised movement with wide popular support promoted the city’s municipal segregation, which culminated in the Supreme Court decision of 30 October, 1989, granting the nucleus of Salou administrative independence from Vila-seca and ordering the Catalonian Autonomous Government to recognise it as an independent municipality. From that day to the present Salou has undergone its most significant urban and social transformation, with a drive to re-equip and renew the city’s services and large demographic growth.

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The coast along which the city of Salou is located has long been favoured for its beaches and coves. The presence of a population in the area was first seen in the times of the early Iberians and ancient Romans. This was the era of the mythical Salauris, traditionally identified with modern Salou. With the arrival of the Saracens, the region became progressively less inhabited and was eventually abandoned.
The 13th century was marked by the conquests of King Jaume I, who, aware of the exceptional conditions of the natural port of Salou, concentrated the fleet there that, in 1229, would sail to take Majorca.

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During the second half of the 14th century, living conditions in Salou became difficult. The war between Peter I of Castile and Peter of Aragon and continuous pirate raids led to another decrease in the population. In fact, it was to ensure the defence of the city’s people and goods against the endless attacks by privateers, that, in 1530, the Archbishop of Tarragona, Pere de Cardona, ordered the Old Tower, today an art centre, to be built.

Salou remained a part of the Tarragona prelacy until 1673, when the prelacy ceded certain rights to the nearby town of Vila-seca, thereby initiating a process through which Vila-seca would gradually come to possess Salou and its port. Needless to say, this led to multiple disputes with the neighbouring city of Reus. In 1776, the Santa Maria del Mar Church was sanctified, a modest chapel used for worship by the sailors’ guild, which, from the middle of the century on, exercised exclusive control over port and fishing tasks.

In 1820, the Captaincy and the New Customs Building were built, but in November of the same year, a decree issued by the Constitutional Courts suppressed operation of Salou’s port. Despite the fact that the Lighthouse was inaugurated in 1858, the port’s decadence was already clear.In 1863, the bath houses of the Ponent beach were authorised, and in 1865, operation of the railroad station began. In 1887, the Reus-Salou tram line, popularly known as the “carrilet,” was inaugurated.

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SALOU SCENE MAGAZINE 2016
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