Bathed in the Mediterranean’s light, Valencia is a city whose culture must be experienced, and whose cuisine must be enjoyed.
Founded in 138 BC, it is one of the oldest cities in Spain.
Today’s Plaza de la Virgen is the former site of a Roman forum.
After its Muslim conquest Valencia became part of the Caliphate of Cordoba, and in the 11th century the Taifa Kingdom of Valencia was founded. Lavish buildings were built, of which only vestiges remain today.
El Cid took the city in 1094, but it would remain in Christian hands for just 8 years.
It was not until 1238 that Jaime I definitively conquered it.
The cathedral, built on the old mosque, dates from this period.
Although representative of the Valencian Gothic style, it also features Romanesque, Renaissance and Neoclassical elements.
Inside it houses magnificent quattrocento paintings, along with one object shrouded in legend: a chalice that, according to some historians, could be the long-sought Holy Grail.
Its bell tower, El Miguelete, is one of the city’s symbols.
The church of San Nicolás was also built in the 13th century, known as Valencia’s miniature Sistine Chapel.
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries one of its great figures, San Vicente Ferrer, preached at the church of Santos Juanes.
The city’s defences were buttressed by a series of towers, the Torres de los Serranos, along the wall.
These centuries also saw great tragedies: the Black Plague of 1348, the Anti-Jewish Revolt of 1391, and the popular uprising of 1456 against the Muslims in the Morería quarter.
The fifteenth century was, at the same time, however, a period of economic and cultural splendour. The Taula de Canvi was founded, a municipal bank to support commercial operations,
and the Silk Market was established, a symbol of Valencia’s social development and the prestige of its bourgeoisie.
El Palacio de Benicarló, the current seat of the regional parliament, Las Cortes Valencianas, also dates from this period, as does the Convento de Santo Domingo’s Chapel of the Kings.
The 16th century was also a tumultuous time, witnessing the Revuelta de las Germanías, a social uprising against the bourgeoisie that culminated with a brutal crackdown against its organizers.
The crisis was aggravated during the seventeenth century by the expulsion of the Jews and Moors in 1609.
During the War of Succession, Valencia sided with Archduke Carlos, whose defeat against Felipe V resulted in the Nueva Planta decrees, which put an end to Valencia’s fueros, special legal privileges and institutions.
The era’s signature building is that of the Marqués de Dos Aguas.
Art Nouveau took on its own personality in the city, with Valencian Modernism, a trend reflected in Central Market, and the Post Office.
In the contemporary era Valencia embraced the an architectural avant-garde, with its bridge by Calatrava and Arts and Science Complex.
But Valencia is famous for more than just its monuments.
There is its its paella, its horchata, its beaches, and, above all, Las Fallas, attracting people from all over the world, to enjoy their tradition, festivities, fires and artwork.