Spain's third-largest city, and capital of the province of Valencia, comes as a pleasant surprise to many. Founded by pensioned off Roman legionaries as 'Valentia' in 138 BC on the bank of the River Turia, it was the these settlers who first developed irrigation for the surrounding region.
With the collapse of Roman power and the brief occupation by the Visigoths, the Muslims took over in AD 711 and made Valencia a rich agricultural and industrial centre. The Christians took over but were expelled but eventually retook it for good in 1238. In the 15th and 16th centuries it reached its golden age and became a major trading centre in the Mediterranean. With such a rich and dynamic history, it is no surprise that today, there is plenty for the culture vulture to see and do.
2 Feb 2007 - Valencia, SpainAnother visit and the memories of what I did and didn't do come came flooding back. Much wandering and staring up and around on the instruction of my guide book ensured that I saw enough things different to jusify a second a visit. What I haven't got a photo of is the bull fighting arena. Whether for or against such sports, people have a taste for such 'sport' and it touches a desire within humans that has been present for thousands of years. For that reason, capturing the image of the the arena also captures a a glimpse of the human condition and the history of the region.
Valencia - Plaza de la Virgen
The Plaza de la Virgen occupies the site that was once the forum of Roman Valencia. The south side backs onto the Cathedral, the east side (in the photo) lies the church of the Nuesta Senora de los Desamparados. Opposite is the 15th century building from where the region was governed. The reclining figure in the fountain represents the River Turia while the eight maidens with their gushing pots symbolise the main irrigation canals that flow from it.
Valencia - Plaza de la Reina
Also known as the Plaza de Zaragoza, this is a large green square dominated by Valencia's Cathedral which can be seen in the photo. Enter the cathedral if you want a leg aching climb up the tower for panoramic views across the city. Behind the cathedral is a wide passage leading to the Plaza de la Virgen.
28 Jan 2006 - Valencia, SpainAnother flying visit but even though its one day trip which is very long, beginning with a trip to the airport at 3AM, I would rather be doing this, soaking up history and culture plus learning something new instead of going into the office!
Such trips usually involve me not got going to sleep the so that I can leave for the airport without risk of oversleeping. Whenever I get a moment I go to sleep so that as soon as board the aircraft I switch off so that when I next wake its normally because my ears are popping during the descent! Bus journeys also give a great opportunity for sleeping though in Valencia the bus transfer is only about half an hour. Still, that's half an hour of sleep. In the summer months I sometimes go for a nap in a public place such as a busy park making sure that my bag is wrapped around a body part!
Valencia - Torres de Serranos
Two imposing, twin towered stoned gates are all that remain of the old city walls which judging by the gates must have been impressive. Unfortunately these were torn down in 1865. The Torres de Serranos are the large guard towers which were the main entrance in the wall surrounding the city of Valencia and were built in the 14th century.
The Torres de Quart are on the western side of the city and bear the marks of Napoleonic century cannonballs.