Once upon a time in Valencia… (my little introduction to Valencia)

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Where is Valencia?

Valencia is bathed by the Mediterranean Sea on the east coast of Spain and has a dry Mediterranean climate of warm summers, mild winters and average annual temperature of 18.4°C. The hottest month is August and the coldest January, though you can count very cold days in winter on the fingers of one hand! Something typical of Valencia is its humidity,  which increases the sensation of cold in winter and makes the heat of summer somewhat heavier.

Near Valencia there are many places to explore, such as the natural, freshwater lagoon of L’Albufera and its nature reserve, just 10 kilometres away. This is one of the largest lakes in Spain and an important point of hibernation for migratory birds.

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Surrounded by marshes and separated from the sea by a long thin sandbar, it is undoubtedly a place you could happily get lost in, strolling among its paddy fields or the wonderful Dehesa del Saler woods, where Mediterranean pines mix with sporadic brush and golden dunes gently carry you to outstretched beaches that make you totally forget you are just 10 minutes from the city. Finally, from the sanctuary of the Albufera, I can pretty much guarantee you will experience one of the most beautiful sunsets you have ever seen.

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A little history

Valencia was founded as Valentia Edetanorum by the Romans in the year 138 BC, and subsequently invaded by Visigoths and Moors to be then conquered by King Jaime I of Aragon in the thirteenth century. Thus Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures have left evident traces in the traditions, architecture and gastronomy of the city.

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The curious layout of Valencia’s historic centre streets has its origin in the arrangement of imperial Roman camps centred around the now square of Plaza de la Virgen, with the Cardo Maximus, or main north-south-oriented street, the current-day streets of Salvador – Almoina. The Decumanus Maximus, or main east-west-oriented street, was today’s Calle Caballeros and had two gates, Porta Praetorian, the closest to the enemy, and Porta Decumana, the furthest. Bustling with merchants, this was the commercial heart of the city and has left Valencia with one of the most extensive historical centres in Spain.

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Each historical period has left its architectural mark on the city, as you can immediately see just walking around. Modernisme is one of my favourite movements, which you can note in many of my photographs and buildings such as the market Mercado de Colón, the station Estación del Norte, the market Mercado Central, the exhibition hall Palacio de la Exposición and the beautiful house Casa del Punt de Gantxo, which are all fine examples of the style.

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The present day, architecturally speaking, lives in perfect harmony with historic Valencia. Modernity is clearly exemplified in the cultural and architectural complex of the City of Arts and Sciences, while the roots of the past can be seen everywhere in the historical centre and the different neighbourhoods of the city, such as the oldest area of Ciutat Vella, the trendy Ruzafa, the coastal Poblados Marítimos and the distinctive Benimaclet. Each of these contributes a particular essence and a multitude of differentiating nuances that enrich the whole of Valencia, making it even more beautiful and unique.

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Full of light and life, Valencia is a city of customs and traditions that unite in perfect harmony with the very latest trends, which, if at all possible, make it even more cosmopolitan and special, and most definitely worth your visit!

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Post translated by Adam Bishop: adambishop.es@gmail.com


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