Our towns and villages

From the top of a bell tower
You can always see the neighbouring bell tower.
Translation of a song by Lluís Llach


Benimeli is a municipality located to the north, along the central axis of the region. It is part of the historical subregion known as La Rectoria (together with Tormos, Sagra, El Ràfol d'Almúnia and Sanet i Els Negrals), which spreads out around the middle course of the River Girona. The village is situated 92 metres above sea level, with an area of 3.5 km2 and 415 inhabitants, known locally as Benimelí and Benimelina.

Benimeli's municipal district. Surface area: 3.5 km². Population: 415 (INE data 2021).


Benimeli is located at the foot of the mountain range called Serra de Segària, on its southwestern slope. The summit or trigonometrical point, situated at an altitude of 508 metres, is a part of its municipal territory. This mountain range determines the orography of the surrounding towns and villages, Benimeli amongst them, shaping —together with the River Girona and its basin— the agricultural and mountainous landscape that can be seen.

To find the earliest known origin of human settlement in the area of Benimeli, it is necessary to climb up Segària, where there are remains of an Iberian oppidum, which was basically a fortified village on high ground protected by a large wall and, in this case, inhabited between the 5th and 1st centuries BC. However, the origin of Benimeli itself lies in the Andalusian mediaeval period, probably as a Muslim farmhouse constructed during the first part of the 11th century and owned by one of the wealthy families that lived in major cities. The name of the village comes from how it used to be called (Bani Malik) and in the documents it appears in various forms, such as Benimelich, Benimelig, Benimelique, Abenameli or even Venimelin. With regards to the meaning, there are several hypotheses available —'sons of Màlik', 'son of the king' or 'hamlet of the sons of Màlik'— but what is clear is that it is a toponym with Arabic roots.

After the expulsion of the Moorish families, these lands were repopulated with people from the Balearic Islands and other Christian areas. It was Benimeli's turn when a town charter was granted on February 19th, 1612. As can clearly be seen, Balearic surnames such as Llull and Ginestar have survived until today.

There are two other outstanding historical moments related to La Rectoria in general, and Benimeli in particular. On the one hand, the Segona Germania uprising of 1693, in which the peasants rebelled against lordly abuses and, calling themselves Agermanats, created a small army and stood up to the Establishment. Many of them were from Benimeli, Sagra, Sanet i Els Negrals and El Ràfol. The other noteworthy moment was the robbery of Benimassot which took place in February of 1874, carried out by Vicent de la Tona's gang of bandits, known as Els Segrestadors de La Marina (The Kidnappers of La Marina). The booty amounted to 55,000 reals (equivalent to 660,000 euros nowadays) and was hidden at Aunt Xima’s home (the mother-in-law of Joan Francés, mayor of Benimeli and the bandit’s cousin).


  • The Ecce Homo patronal festivities are celebrated during the third full week of August in honour of the village’s patron saint, Ecce Homo, and La Puríssima.
  • The Cor de Jesús festivities are celebrated during a weekend in mid-June.
  • The festivities of Sant Andreu Apòstol are celebrated on the last Sunday of November.
  • El Rosari de l'Aurora is celebrated on the first Sunday of October.


  • The baked flatbread “coques” with paprika and tomato are one of the most appreciated dishes in the village.
  • As far as snacks are concerned, the smoky grilled eggplant and bell pepper dish called “escalivada” is one of the classics of the summer period, when vegetables are being produced in great quantities.
  • Rice dishes are also a fundamental part of the local diet. The ones that stand out are the brothy rice known as “arròs caldós”, with beans, cardoon stalks and turnips, and the baked rice known as “arròs al forn”, made in a clay pot, with pork cutlet, sausage, chickpeas, tomato and potatoes.

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