The province of Valencia is the largest of the three provinces that make up the Valencian community. The region around Valencia is mainly mountainous, with a rich,agricultural, coastal plain, producing citrus fruits, rice, olive oil, and wine.
Valencia is one of the largest cities in Spain and is on the Mediterranean Sea. Spain's national dish comes from here - "Paella Valenciana". The river that flowed through the city, was diverted in 1957 after a bad flood, and the old riverbed makes for a long urban park today.
The Romans were in Valencia, and Roman remains lie hidden beneath Arab ruins and the modern churches and palaces. Here "El Cid", Spain's national hero, fought the Moors, and many festivals in the city celebrate these events.Until the mid-nineteenth century a city wall defended the town. Little remains of the walls except Torres de Serranos, Torres de Quart and some remains of the apron wall in the basement of the Valencia institute of Modern Arts. Outside the old wall grew the modern city of Valencia with its wide pavements and modernista architecture.
The Old Town
The reconquest of Valencia by Jaime I, from the Moors, took place in 1238. And many of the city's most famous buildings date from that period.
The Cathedral is mainly of early gothic style, with three portals which are Romanesque, gothic and baroque. The main chapel, Capilla Mayor, is in baroque style, the two lateral chapels are neoclassic.
In the Capitulary is displayed the Holy Chalice, out of which Jesus Christ and the Apostles are said to have drunk during the Last Supper.
The octagonal bell-tower, called Miguelete, is a landmark in the city. From the top you have a view over all Valencia, and Victor Hugo is said to have counted 300 more bell-towers across the city.
In the Cathedral's Museum are works of Goya, Jacomart, Cellini, Paggibonsi as well as paintings of Valencian school of 15th to 17th century.
Close to the cathedral there is the Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados, ("Mare de Deu dels Desemparats"), a church consecrated to the patroness of the city, and the Almudín, a medieval granary that is nowadays used as a museum.
In the nearby church Iglesia de San Esteban are said to have been married the daughters of El Cid. Some other interesting buildings in this area of town are the Palace of Almirantes de Aragón, the church San Juan del Hospital and the Convento de Santo Domingo.
The River Turia actually was completely re-routed round the outside of the city after flooding 1957. The old river-bed still exists, and forms a long park through the city..
You can still see three of the original river bridges, Puente de la Trinidad, Puente del Real, and Puente de Serranos. Puente de Serranos with the Torre de Serranos formed part of the old town-walls that defended the town.
The Modern Art Museum is to be found on the banks of the dry river, is one of the leading museums of modern arts in Spain.
La Lonja and Surroundings
On the Plaza del Mercado, you will find Valencia's best known monument, La Lonja, the old stock-exchange building that dates from 1483. The Gothic building , features a beautiful columned room where the old tables on which trading transactions were done.
Palacio de la Generalidad, a 15th century palace that today is used as seat of government. Its at the Plaza de Manises. The wall-paintings in its Salon de las Cortes, Salón Dorado and Galería de Retratos de los Reyes de Valencia are particularly noteworthy.
Beside the Palacio de la Generalidad is the baroque church, the Iglesia de los Santos Juanes, with important wall-paintings of Palomino, and noteworthy bell-tower Campanil de la Iglesia de Santa Catalina.
Other buildings near the Calle Torno include Palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas, a rococo style building designed by Hipólito Rovira. The Patriarca College, built in 1603. Valencia's University and its Law Court. And from the modern era is the Nuevo Puente, built in 1995, nicknamed La Peineta, "side-comb", from its shape..
Barrio del Carmen
The Barrio de Carmen district offers shops, café, theatres, bars, restaurants.
Valencia is a land of flowers. The Jardines de la Alameda and Jardines de Monforte date from 18th century. Real Gardens, which include the Zoological Garden, display a variety of roses and large pine-woods.
Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences
On the edge of the city is being built this spectacular "city within a city". If you are staying in the city centre, you can get there via a little tourist train along the old river bed. Its first building in this complex opened in 1998, is an enormous, white, eye-shaped hemisphere set in a huge pond. Its "pupil" is a planetarium which house an IMAX cinema. Then there is the Science Museum, an ultra modern building of white concrete and cascades of glass. Other building are going up on the site
Beaches in Valencia, the city is on the sea
Pineda Beach is a beach to the south of Valencia .
Saler Beach has sdome six kilometres of sandy beach and is near La Albufera Natural Park.
Devesa Beach although isolated, is set right in the La Albufera Natural Park.
El Recati Beach in Perellonet is a long sandy beach in the residential area.
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