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Villena

Villena is a city in Spain, in the Valencian Community. It is located at the northwest part of Alicante, and borders to the west with Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, to the north with the province of Valencia and to the east and south with the province of Alicante. It is the capital of the comarca of the Alto Vinalopó. The municipality has an area of 345.6 km² and a population of 34,928 inhabitants as of INE 2008.There is evidence of settlement in the area from Middle Paleolithic. However, it is on dispute if the current city dates from visigothic times or before, though certainly it existed in the 11th century, during the Muslim period. After the Christian conquest, it became Seigneury, Principality, Duchy and finally Marquisate, until the people, encouraged by the Catholic Monarchs, revolted against the marquis. In 1525 Charles V conceded the title of City to Villena. This is the most economically prosperous period, as shown by the monuments that survived to nowadays. Although a railway station was inaugurated in 1858, economy kept being mainly agricultural until the rural exode that took place in the 1960s. Then, the economic model changed rapidly so that currently economy is based mainly on tertiary sector and industry, chiefly footwear, construction and furniture.
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