About Valencia

From Gothic quarters to futuristic architecture, Valencia has it all. Valencia is a city in which the light and sea of the Mediterranean coexist in a striking manner as in a Sorolla painting. The third largest city in Spain, Valencia has an ample cultural offer together with a boiling nightlife and beautifull beaches. Valencia bursts with tradition, and loads of fiestas are organized for the enjoyment of the people thoughout the year, but the most important of all remains "Las Fallas". The spectacular City of Arts and Sciences with its extravagant
architecture is one of the must see places in Valencia. In recent years, important international sport events like the America's Cup and the Formula 1 Grand Prix on a street circuit at the city's port have put Valencia more than ever on the world map.

The Palace Of The Marques De Dos Aguas From Valencia

The Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas is one of Valencia’s most emblematic buildings. The Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas houses the Ceramics Museum and a sample of a Valencian kitchen at the second floor, but the first floor is still a luxurious palace that combines rococco, neo-classical and oriental elements. The unbelievable baroque entrance to the Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas never fails to impress the visitors and is one of Valencia's most photographed sights. The rich ornament of the building is enough incentive to come here even if you don't intend to go inside, though you really should. If you are not a big ceramic fan you will be more likely inclined to skip the Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas tour. But just wait and see the photos I've taken inside of the palace with all that marvelous old furniture and Gods forbid to say you don't sigh with envy for visiting the Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas.

The Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas is one of the best palaces in Spain. The Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas dates from as far back as XV century, initialy built in a Gothic style although it has been thoroughtly modified since then. In 1740 the Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas was re-shaped to Baroque by Hipolito Rovira, and it is then when the famous Baroque entrance was added. The last modification took place in 1850s-60s, when the entire facade was redesigned to the one that we can see today with the Turia River and Jucar River allegory, the two most important rivers of the Valencian Comunity, represented by two gigantic human figures. In 1949 the Palace of the Marques de Dos Aguas was bought by the Ministry of Education to house the collection of ceramics donated by Dr. Gonzalez Marti one of the finest ceramic collections in Spain.


Valencia Top Ten Tourist Attractions

The Cathedral, El Miguelete and Plaza de la Virgen

Each of the three gates of the Cathedral has a diferent style: Irons Gate (baroque), the Apostles Gate (gothic) and the Palace Gate (Romanesque). The bell tower El Miguelete where you can enjoy amazing views. And the Plaza de la Virgen sits on the site that once was the forum of Roman Valencia.

Plaza del Mercado: Lonja de la Seda, Santos Juanes Church and Mercado Central
The Plaza del Mercado is home to 3 buildings of interest, the Silk Market, one of the best examples of gothic civil architecture in Europe which is Patrimony of the Humanity (UNESCO), the Santos Juanes Church in baroque style and the Central Market, a colourful market in a beautiful modernist building.

Serranos Towers
The Serranos Towers are considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in all of Europe, and were constructed at the end of the 14th century by Pere Balaguer as part of the city's fortification. They provisionaly housed prison cells and served as a triumphal arch on many festive occasions.

National Ceramics Museum Gonzalez Marti

Valencia Top Ten Tourist AttractionsThe National Ceramics Museum Gonzalez Marti is housed in the Palace of Marquez de Dos Aguas that dates from the 15th century and was refurbished in 1740 on rococo style with a magnificent alabaster entrance. Inside, you can find the 19th century rooms and a collection of tiles made in the Royal Ceramics Factory in Alcora.

The City of Arts and Ciences
Valencia Top Ten Tourist AttractionsThe City of Arts and Ciences complex includes four buildings: L'Hemisferic is a Laserium, Planetarium and IMAX cinema, the Science Museum is one of those museums where it is forbidden not to touch, L' Oceanographic is a giant marine park or aquarium and the Palau de les Arts is an Opera House.

The Museum of Fine Arts San Pio V

Located in a Baroque building recently renovated, The Fine Arts Museum San Pio V is one of the most outstanding painting archives in Spain, renowned for its collections of primitive Valencian painters, although there are also works by El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, and some archeological pieces.

San Juan del Hospital Church
San Juan del Hospital is one of the oldest churches in Valencia, built around 1261. The church has a single nave covered with a pointed barrel vault. Inside, you may contemplate the magnificent chapel of Santa Barbara and others chapels with painted murals from the Gothic period.

San Miguel de los Reyes Monastery
The Jeronime monastery of San Miguel de los Reyes was erected in the 16th century over the old abbey. The facade is in the Renaissance style and is framed by two towers with salomonic Baroque columns. The monastery also has two cloisters surrounded by arch galleries.

The Port and The Beach

Valencia is hosting of the 32nd America’s Cup, the international yact race, in summer 2007. Visit the port and enjoy with the team bases, the house of America’s Cup, the superyacht pier and the port sheds. After, walk by the promenade seafront in the Las Arenas, La Malvarrosa and Alboraya beaches.

The Botanic Garden

Valencia Top Ten Tourist AttractionsThe Botanic Garden was founded in 1567 for the study of medicinal plants. In 1802 it was installed in l'Hort de Tramoyeres, where it is currently situated. The restoration that was concluded in the year 2000 allowed for the reclamation of this spectacular green space.


Saint Dionysius´ Feast Day in Valencia

Saint Dionysius´ Feast Day in Valencia
On October the 9th Valencia celebrates Saint Dionysius' Feast Day, the local version of Saint Valentine. The valencian men wrap up specially decorated and shaped marzipan sweets - Piuletes and Tronadors in silk handkerchiefs - Mocaors and give them to their girlfriends as a demonstration of their affection. October the 9th it's also Valencia region's official holiday to celebrate the triumphant entrance of Jaime I into the city after defeating the Moors in battle hundreds of years ago. But will talk about Jaime I in another post. Now let´s enjoy some fruit and vegetable shaped marzipan sweets and at least send some loving thoughts to the loved one!

Saint Dionysius´ Feast Day in ValenciaSaint Dionysius´ Feast Day in ValenciaSaint Dionysius´ Feast Day in ValenciaSaint Dionysius´ Feast Day in ValenciaSaint Dionysius´ Feast Day in Valencia Saint Dionysius´ Feast Day in Valencia Saint Dionysius´ Feast Day in Valencia Saint Dionysius´ Feast Day in Valencia Saint Dionysius´ Feast Day in Valencia


Valencia Museums

For the museum lovers Valencia is heaven. From classic to modern art, from ancient ruins to futuristic architecture, everything is here.

The Museum of Fine Arts, ValenciaThe Museum of Fine Arts
Outstanding works from the Valencian School: Joan de Joanes, Ribalta, Espillosa, Vicente López, Sorolla, Pinazo, etc. International works such as Velázquez's self-portrait, works by Pinturicchio, Andrea del Sarto, Van Dyck, Murillo, El Greco, Goya, etc. In the sculpture pavilion, you'll see interesting examples of contemporary art and an important archeological collection.

IVAM - Valencian Institute of Modern Art
Permanent exhibition of sculptures by Julio González and regular temporary exhibitions by some of today's leading avant-garde representatives of the arts.

National Ceramics Museum - Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas, Valencia National Ceramics Museum - Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas
Housed in the Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas, with a façade in the churrigueresque style, this museum offer an overview of outstanding works in ceramics from Manises, Paterna and Alcora. Thou the ceramics museum housed here are one of the best collections in Spain, the 1st floor of the palace is... well, still a palace. A lovely one! Definetly worth a visit.

Cathedral Museum
Of note are the works by Almedina, Joanes, Goya, Jacomart, Alonso Cano and Orrente.

Paleontological Museum
Contains a collection ol insects and fossils. The most important museum exhibited is the skeleton of a megatherium.

Patriarch's Museum
A collection worthy of mention, including works by El Greco and early Flemish painters.

Prehistory Museum
A view of the Paleolithic Valencia including a range of curious remains and fossils.

Bullfighting Museum
The one in Valencia is between the oldest and most impressive in Spain, with a variety of bullfighting memorabilia from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Las Fallas Museum
The Ninots are the cartoon-like figures or statuettes decorating the monumental Valencian fallas. Each year, since 1934, the cream of the crop have been saved from the roaring flames and kept in this museum, together with posters, photographs and other objects connected with the fallas.

Municipal Historical Museum
Located in the Ayuntamiento (City Hall), the museum has a collection of historical objects, including the Senyera (the regional flag), the pennant of James I the Conquerer,the 15th century Flemish tablet of the Final Judgement and a series of antique books and guild memorabilia.

House-Museum Jose Benlliure, ValenciaHouse-Museum José Benlliure
Contains the works of this wellknown Valencian artist, along with ceramics and objects from the epoch. The studio of José Benlliure is a jewel. Well preserved, with lots of personal items of Benlliure, has a lovely view at the walled garden where Benlliure familly used to relax once. Well worth a visit!

Joaquín Saludes Maritime Museum
Located in the Torres de Serranos (the east gateway to the ancient city), this exposition presents a valuable collection of amphorae and other archeological objects brought up from the Mediterranean seabed, as well as an attractive shipmodel display.

City Museum- Marqués de Campo Palace
Holds an archeological collection illustrating the pre-Roman age and the founding of the city, and a part of the municipal art gallery. It also contains a permanent exhibition of Christian Valencia in the XIIIth and XIVth centuries .

Museum of l´AlmoinaThe exhibition spans 5 empires — the Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Visigoths, Islamic Empire, and Christian Kingdoms. The ruins have been pretty much left alone, and today visitors walk on top of them over vertigo-inducing glass floors.

MUVIM - The Valencia Museum of the Enlightment and Modernity

House-Museum Blasco Ibañez


Las Fallas Festival from Valencia - History

There are a few different theories regarding the origin of Las Fallas festival. One theory suggests that Las Fallas started in the Middle Ages as a simple pagan ritual, when artisans put out their broken artifacts and pieces of wood that they sorted during the winter then burnt them to celebrate the Spring Equinox, the longest day of the year and the subsequent coming of summer. Valencian carpenters used planks of wood to hang their candles on. These planks were known as parots. During the winter, these were needed to provide light for the carpenters to work by. With the coming of the Spring, they were no longer necessary, so they were burned. With time, and the intervention of the ultra-Catholic Spanish Church, the date of the burning of these parots was made to coincide with the celebration of the festival of San José (19th of March), the patron saint of the carpenters.

Las Fallas
Las Fallas de Valencia 2009

Las Fallas tradition continued to change. The parot was given clothing so that it looked like a doll or a real person. Features identifiable with some well-known person from the neighborhood were added as well. Children and young people collected objects to be burnt on bonfires called fallas. All were burnt the evening before St. Joseph's Day in the midst of much celebration. With time, people of the neighborhoods organized the process of the creation of las Fallas and monuments including various figures were born.

For a long time, the term falla was used indistinctly for the torches, bonfires, rag dolls and platforms, but gradually the term came to be restricted to the satirical pyres that exposed vices or prejudices to public scorn. The special characteristic of the satirical fallas is that they represent a reprehensible social action or attitude. They have a specific subject and aim to criticise or ridicule. They are more than mere bonfires or pyres because they show scenes referring to people, events or collective behaviour that their makers - the falleros - consider should be criticised or corrected. The two most popular subjects for fallas are eroticism and social criticism.

Las FallasLas Fallas de Valencia 2009

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, Las Fallas were tall boxes with three or four wax dolls dressed in cloth clothing. This changed when the creators began to use cardboard. The creation of Las Fallas continues to evolve in modern day, when largest monuments are made of polyurethane and soft cork easily molded with hot saws. These techniques have allowed Las Fallas to be created in excess of 30 meters. During the 20th century, Las Fallas had become lavish, majestic and imposing - large enough to be seen from a distance and the competitiveness introduced by the awards meant that the artists strove to produce monumental, elaborate creations.

The most important elements are of Las Fallas: cardboard, plaster and wax, without forgetting the wood of the frames and the metal mesh covered with sacking for the large figures. Using these simple materials, the Valencian artists emulate the large, long-lasting creations of sculptors, showing their skill in the production of grandiose monuments. The most difficult and complex task is the construction of moulds for the heads. These are based on clay models which are then cast in plaster and subsequently in wax to give heads that are then completed by adding a moustache, a squint or a sneering expression to give a non-human touch and turn them into the characters featured in the falla.


Valencia in Photos

As today was a beautiful Sunday we went for a photo session in which Valencia was the protagonist. Here is the end result:

Valencia in PhotosValencia in PhotosValencia in Photos
Valencia in Photos Valencia in Photos Valencia in Photos Door detail (Valencia)

Valencia in PhotosArt Nouveau detail from La Paz Street (Valencia)

Valencia in PhotosValencia in PhotosValencia in PhotosPlaza de la Virgen, next to the Valencia Cathedral (Valencia)

Valencia in Photos The Church of Santo Tomas Apostol and San Felipe Neri (Valencia)

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