Valencia has a cultural and historical heritage so overflowing that to stroll through its streets is to come into contact with centuries of history. The capital of the Turia is much more than the Fallas, the typical Valencian paella, oranges or horchata, iconic products that have made it world famous. It is a museum that elegantly combines its rich historical legacy with the modernity of its new constructions.
This city, chosen by Times magazine as one of the 50 best places in the world, has evolved under the influence that various civilizations have exerted on it for 2,000 years. In every corner of its streets, squares, stations and markets emerge everything from ancient castles and medieval towers to modernist architecture that finds its best expression in the North Station, the Central Market or the Colón Market.
Main facade of the Mercado de Colón / FLICKR
A historic center of medieval origin
Despite being a large and modern city, Valencia invites you to explore it on foot through the cobbled streets of its old town, the ancient home of the Romans, Visigoths and Muslims. Everything is a stone’s throw away. Most of the monuments and ancient buildings They are grouped in the historic center and museums such as the Fine Arts Museum, the Ceramics Museum or the Valencian Institute of Modern Art give some clues to the past and future of Valencia.
The center of Valencia reflects its history and preserves its medieval layout, a whole labyrinth of alleys. It is the point where the political life of the city congregates, which houses the Cortes Valencianas, the headquarters of the Consell and the Generalitatin addition to other buildings.
In this nucleus, the remains of the wall and the doors used by merchants and workers to enter and leave the city are still preserved. Today, these old artisan neighborhoods survive as they did then and are the heart of commerce and leisure in modern Valencia, with markets as the hub of social life.
A city to discover
Valencia is studded with other points that deserve to be discovered, such as the Virgin Squaresurrounded by the St. Mary’s Cathedral; the Basilica of the Forsaken; the Central Marketone of the liveliest in Europe; the towers of serranos, which offer an admirable view of the city; or the Silk Pavilion, a superb Gothic-style construction listed as a World Heritage Site.
There is also space for green parks and gardens, such as the Botanic Garden, the oldest in Europe created in the 16th century, or Turia Gardensauthentic lung of the city.
Plaza de la Virgen with the Cathedral in the background / EP
City of Arts and Sciences
Although it is difficult to compete with the popularity of the beaches of Malvarrosa, Las Arenas, Patacona or El Saler, the symbol of the city is undoubtedly the City of Arts and Sciences. It is a complex designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava that extends along almost two kilometers in the old bed of the Turia.
This huge complex is a work of art in itself. his appearance and futuristic design makes it one of the most photographed places in Valencia. It is one of the 12 Treasures of Spain and receives more than four million visitors each year. It houses a science museum, a planetarium and an oceanographic, among many other scientific and cultural events.
Designed by the most famous son of Valencia, Santiago Calatravait is a very modern bridge and of a very modern aesthetic which is worth seeing up close. The visit to the city will not be completed without having crossed it at least once.
It is located on the old bed of the Turia river, and just below it is the ‘Alameda’ metro stop. This bridge is one of those that connects the north of the city with the south.
Calatrava Bridge / FLICKR
Gothic in style and built on the remains of a Muslim mosque, it took almost two centuries to acquire its current appearance. Today, the cathedral houses an ornate Holy Chalice that some consider to be the Holy Grail. The chalice dates from the 1st century and has been used by various Popes over the centuries.
Interior of the Cathedral of Valencia /
Although this site originally started out as an open-air market, the city decided to move it indoors in the 19th century. The officials organized several architectural competitions to come up with a new design. The result was a new modernist style known as Valencian Art Nouveau, which slightly resembles a cathedral with its domes on the roof and a larger one in the center. The entire building is filled with iron columns, shiny ceramic tiles, and delicate stained glass. It is one of the largest markets in Europe.
Interior of the Central Market of Valencia / FLICKR
The Silk Exchange
East old silk market The 15th-century Commodities Exchange was built between 1482 and 1533. It is housed in a late Valencian Gothic building with high ceilings and an austere castle-like appearance. The front door gives way to a cool courtyard filled with orange trees and the Pavilion of the Consulate of the Sea, with its ornate ceilings and elaborate stone staircase.
The building has three bodies with different uses, such as the Contracting Hall, the Central Tower and, finally, the Consulate of the Sea. The best-known image is that of the Contracting Hall, a large space populated by helical columns that divide the area into three naves.
Image of the Trading Room or Column Hall of the Lonja / FLICKR
The Túria Garden is a long stretch of park that runs along an old dry bed (the river was diverted to prevent flooding in the city). The government wanted to build a road instead, but the citizens fought to win a green space. It is dotted with sculptures, sports fields, parks and buskers.
Turia Gardens / FLICKR
The towers of Valencia
In addition to the Miguelete tower that crowns the Cathedral, there are two towers that capture the attention. These two imposing pentagonal cubes are the last vestiges of the old city wall, which had 12 towers but was demolished in 1865. The Gothic tower of Serrans or Torre de Serranos was built at the end of the 14th century and is one of the best monuments preserved from Valencia. The other tower is the 15th-century Quart Towers, which has had various uses over the years, including a women’s prison and a military prison.
The Torres de Serranos, a vestige of the old wall that protected the city / FLICKR
Just 10 kilometers from the city, it is nature in its purest form. this beautiful lfresh water lagoon It is the largest in Spain. Located several kilometers away, it is part of a National Park with large natural areas full of routes for hikers. It is also home to more than 300 species of birds, making it a perfect spot for wildlife viewing.
L’Albufera, a wetland that houses protected flora and fauna / EP