Valencia where ancient meets modern

There are few cities like the Spanish city of Valencia, which is able to harmoniously combine the remnants of its farthest past, dating to the year 138 BC, with the most innovative and avant-garde buildings from the new millennium.

Valencia is trade and culture, cinema, theatre, museums, magic, business. It is the centre of international and avant-garde design, and one of the most active cities in Europe regarding fairs and conferences.

Spain’s third largest city is also home to a festival called The Falles, a traditional celebration in honour of St Joseph. The days and nights in Valencia are one running party during the five days of Falles. There are processions galore — historical processions, religious processions, and hysterical processions. The restaurants spill out to the streets. Explosions can be heard all day long and sporadically through the night. Foreigners may be surprised to see everyone from small children to elderly gentlemen throwing fireworks and bangers in the streets, which are littered with pyrotechnical debris.

Valencia was first settled by the Romans in the 2nd century BC, and Valencia is named after the Latin word for “valour”, that was bestowed on the Roman soldiers in honour of their bravery as displayed during the war with Iberia.  The city has been conquered by a number of different invaders including Visigoths, Moors, Catalan and Aragonese, and this is partly why Valencia is so architecturally interesting.

Within the confines of the city you will find buildings of Roman and Moorish design, Gothic buildings from the late medieval period.  Baroque and Renaissance architecture is also represented.  Modernistic architecture from the early 20th century and Art Decor from the 1920s and 1930s is also on display.  Perhaps the most significant architecture, though, is that of Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava who designed some of Valencia’s most iconic and futuristic buildings such as the City of Arts and Sciences which contains a number of public buildings including an opera house, science museum, arts centre, IMAX and planetarium.  Calatrava also designed a futuristic bridge which is named after him.

Thanks to its location, Valencia has historically been Spain’s Mediterranean port and has that special charm of cities that are also seaports. And the fine sand and clean water, the vastness of the sea and the closeness of the coastal mountains make the Valencian coast uniquely attractive.

Valencia has hosted two America’s Cup defences (the America’s Cup is one of yachting’s most prestigious events), and it also hosts a Formula One Grand Prix. However, the big sport in Valencia is football (soccer) and the local team Valencia C.F. has won the Spanish football league a few times as well as the UEFA European Championship.

One of Valencia’s main claims to fame is that it is the home to that traditional Spanish dish paella, that rice, seafood and meat dish that is named after the pan it is cooked in.

Valencia is a city of all ages; it ticks all the boxes in terms of interesting places to see, great things to do, excellent beaches, brilliant cultural activities, terrific climate, great food, variety of lodging and welcoming locals who do know how to party.

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