Temecula is a city in southwestern Riverside County, California, United States. The city is a tourist and resort destination, with the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, the Temecula Valley Polo Club, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film Festival, championship golf courses, and resort accommodations for tourists which contribute to the city's economic profile.
The city of Temecula, forming the southwestern anchor of the Inland Empire region, is approximately 58 miles (93 km) north of downtown San Diego and 85 miles (137 km) southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Temecula is bordered by the city of Murrieta to the north and the Pechanga Indian Reservation and San Diego County to the south. Temecula had a population of 100,097 during the 2010 census and an estimated population of 114,742 as of July 1, 2018. It was incorporated on December 1, 1989.
Temecula is one of the most historic communities in Southern California. From Indian village to mission outpost, Mexican rancho to crossroads settlement, railroad town to modern city, the story of Temecula is rich and varied.
The name Temecula comes from the Luiseño Indian word “Temecunga” – “temet” meaning “sun” and “-ngna” which means “place of”. The Spanish interpreted and spelled the word as “Temecula” translated to mean “Where the sun breaks through the mist”. Temecula is the only city in California to still retain its original Indian name.
The hillsides of Temecula were the home of Temecula Indians, the first residents of the area. Ancestors of Temecula Indians were here as early as 900 A.D. The Luiseno Indians still inhabited Temecula in the 1700’s when the first Spanish padres arrived. The first known European man to set foot in this area was a Franciscan padre, Father Juan Norberto de Santiago, who arrived in the valley in 1797. It was during this period that the Pala Mission was built and Christianization of the native Indians began.