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Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Haro is a town and municipality in the northwest of La Rioja province in northern Spain. It is known for its fine red wine and every year the Haro Wine Festival is held where locals hold a wine battle. It has an important architectural heritage, including the main entrance of the Santo Tomás Church, the work of Felipe Vigarny, numerous palaces, and the old town, which was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1975. Apart from its role as home to many of the great bodegas in La Rioja, one of Haro’s other claims to fame is that it was the first town in Spain to have electric street lighting.

There are several theories about the founding of Haro, though the most realistic theory is that of Domingo Hergueta, who argued that before the town, there was a lighthouse near the village of Cerro de la Mota which illuminated the mouth of the Ebro river. The town received the name of the lighthouse, and in Castilian Spanish evolved into the name ‘Haro’. During the Roman rule of Hispania, a fort called Castrum Bibilium was built in the cliffs of Bibilio. The first mention of Haro dates back to the year 1040, in a document of the King of Navarre, García Sánchez III de Navarra “el de Nájera”. The villa was donated by Alfonso VI of Castile to Diego López de Haro I.

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