Sunset in Alghero (Click to enlarge)
History is certanly an important aspect that makes Alghero a unique town in Sardinia.
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According to historians the origins of the town date back to the first half of the 11th century when the influential Doria family from Genova fortified a fishing village along the north west coast of Sardinia. A strategic landing point was created. It was called L'Aleguerium due to the large quantities of sea vegetables up on the shores by the currents. This name has been seen on documents of the Doria family an his medieval latin (S'Alighera in Sardinian and l'Alguer in Catalan). Thanks to its geographical position Alghero held a very important role in trading in the Mediterranean, therefore it had to be defended frequently by the Genovese from the attacks of Pisan and Aragonese ships. The town remained Genovese until 1353, when the Catalan-Aragonese allied to the Venetians were victors against the Genovese Admiral Antonio Grimaldi at a naval battle just off Porto Conte, thus occupying the stronghold. In November 1354 Pietro IV of Aragon, known as the "Cerimonioso" or "Punyalet" repopulated Alghero with Catalans forcing the Sardinians and the Ligurians to flee. At the same time the town became part of the Kingdom of Aragon and remained such for four centuries, first under Catalan domination and then Spanish. Alghero to this day conserves the characteristics of the Catalan-Aragonese period, which can be noted in the architecture of the churches, of the buildings and of the fortifications and also in the Catalan language which is still spoken.
(from "Historical outline of the town and places of interest", by Azienda Autonoma di Soggiorno e Turismo, Alghero)

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