Few cities like Valencia are able to live so harmoniously the remnants of their most remote past, dated in the year 138 a. C., with the most innovative and avant-garde buildings that rise in the new millennium.Valencia is commerce and culture, cinema, theater, museums, music, business. It is an international and avant-garde design center, and one of the most active cities in fairs and congresses in Europe.Due to its geographical location, Valencia has historically been the gateway from Spain to the Mediterranean, and has the special charm of the cities that are the port of the sea. In addition, the fine sand and clean water, the open sea and the proximity of the coastal mountains give the Valencian coast a unique attraction.
The beaches and dunes of Canet d’En Berenguer stand out , where the coast acquires an idle and residential aspect, as well as to the north of the Valencian capital, where small holiday cities have grown up (La Pobla de Farnals, Alboraya and el Puig) that allow the use of coastal spaces that a few years ago were dedicated to garden crops.For its part, and within the municipality of Valencia, the beaches of La Malvarrosa and Levante have a varied complementary offer of places to eat and enjoy an evening by the sea. To the south, nature is more present in the Saler beach and in the Natural Park of L’Albufera, where you can enjoy the sun in a unique setting. The beaches of Cullera, Gandía and Olivacombine their scenic interest with the numerous sports and recreational facilities.Meanwhile, the interior of the province offers interesting routes such as the one that draws the course of the Turia river, and charming towns such as Buñol, Requena or Xátiva .
From the Roman forum to the City of Arts and Sciences
When you walk through Valencia, you can feel, between its walls and under the pavement, the beat of many centuries. From the remains of the Roman forum founded by Junius Brutus found in the current Plaza de la Virgen, which gave birth to Valentia, to the emblematic City of Arts and Sciences, the population has been transforming its appearance while it has rescued monuments that they are testimony of past ages.
The Cathedral of Valencia is based on the same place where the first temple of the city was built in Roman times and, later, an Arab mosque. Its construction, from 1262 to 1426, as well as the extensions and subsequent reforms have left their mark on an interesting superposition of styles over the predominant primitive Gothic.El Miguelete , the tower that most identifies with Valencia outside its borders, is the Gothic bell tower of the Cathedral. It rises to a height of 50.85 meters, as measured by its perimeter. The effort to climb the 207 steps that lead to its climax is amply compensated by splendid views over the city.In the Plaza de la Virgen we must highlight the Basilica of the Virgin of the Desamparados , and very close, the Royal Convent of Santo Domingo , erected by the order of the Dominicans in the thirteenth century with the approval of King James I. In the historic center of Valencia is possible to find other churches of interest, among which those of Santa Catalina, San Nicolás and San Martín stand out .Civil architecture occupies an important place in the history of the city. Of the old medieval wall two old doors of access to the city are conserved, the Towers of Serranos and the Towers of Quart.
Gothic style, built in the fifteenth century and extended between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, is the Palau de la Generalitat . The building, currently headquarters of the autonomous government, stands out externally for the Renaissance tower that overlooks the Plaza de la Virgen.But without a doubt, the most outstanding one is the Lonja de la Seda , an elegant Gothic building erected at the end of the 15th century and which has been declared a World Heritage Site . Former place of commercial transactions, inside the building are real treasures, such as the monumental Hall of the Columns, the Central Tower and the Board Room of the Consulate of the Sea. The City Council, in the heart of the city, is integrated into the old ensemble of the Real Casa de la Enseñanza, from the 18th century. Meanwhile, modernism has left its mark on the city with some examples, such as the Central Market , built in iron, glass and tiles, the Mercado de Colón or Estación del Norte.This huge architectural legacy joins a variety of museums. One of the symbols of the capital is the City of Arts and Sciences , futuristic complex that houses the Planetary Cinema-L’Hemisfèric, the Palace of Arts, aimed at the promotion and dissemination of art, the Museum of Science ” Prince Felipe “and the Universal Oceanographic Park.Valencia, with the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) , occupies one of the first places in the Spanish contemporary art scene. It has nine galleries that include the permanent collections of Julio González and Ignacio Pinazo and house other temporary exhibitions of painting, photography and modern art, from the avant-garde of the beginning of the century to the present.Located in a baroque building, the Museum of Fine Arts San Pío V is one of the most outstanding of the country for its collections of primitive Valencians; authors of the Valencian school like Hernando Yáñez de la Almedina, Juan de Juanes, the Ribalta, Ribera, Espinosa, Vicente López, Sorolla and Pinazo; and others of the stature of Pinturicchio, Andrea del Sarto, Van Dyck, Murillo, Velázquez, El Bosco, El Greco and Goya. The museum also has sculptures by Mariano Benlliure and interesting archaeological pieces.Another outstanding pinacoteca is in the complex of the Corpus Christi College. The Patriarch Museumincludes a pictorial collection from the 16th and 17th centuries and works by Juan de Juanes, El Greco and primitive flamencos. The church preserves Ribalta’s “Last Supper” on its high altar and Flemish tapestries in the Communion Chapel. The National Museum of Ceramics and Sumptuary Arts González MartíIt is located in the Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas, from the late 15th century and remodeled in the 18th century. Its interior contains a wide collection of ceramic pieces from Manises, Paterna and Alcora, some of which date back to the Christian era. Also interesting are the collections of ceramics from antiquity, the socarrats, the Chinese and Japanese pieces and those signed by authors such as Picasso.
The festive character of Valencians is reflected in two of its museums: the Fallero Museum , which brings together the “ninots indultats” of fire since 1934 and other elements that illustrate the history of the Fallas; and the Fallero Artist’s Museum, enclosure that includes an exhibition of sketches, posters, photographs and indultats ninots. Nor should we forget the City Museum or the Municipal Historical Museum, as well as the houses of illustrious figures such as Vicente Blasco Ibáñez or José Benlliure.
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