Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Valencia, Spain

About Valencia

By Julie Coburn

Discover Valencia – One of the Most Fascinating City’s in Southern Spain!
Anyone who visits the Mediterranean coastline in Spain should definitely have Valencia on their list of Cities to visit. This vibrant place is a wonderful mixture of old and new both in terms of culture and architecture. The first thing to note when visiting is you will need a map. Valencia is the 3rd largest City in Spain and is home to more than 800,000 people. It also boasts the fact it’s one of the largest container ports in Europe and if boats are your thing, a visit to the harbor is a must!
For those of you that are interested in religious history, Valencia will not disappoint. Even if you’re not religious, a visit to the Valencia Cathedral is not to be missed. Nestled in the heart of the City, this building features architecture that boasts the rich history this part of Spain has to offer.
You will find Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles with every step you take. Most famously, the Santo Caliz Chapel is said to house the “Holy Grail” (what some believe to be the cup that Jesus and his followers drank from at the Last Supper).
If art interests you, a visit to the Saint Francis Borja Chapel will treat you to a famous painting by Goya. For those of you that like a view the bell tower, also called Miguelete or Micalet is the true landmark of Valencia. From the top it’s possible to take in the view of the whole city.
After you have taken in the sites of the Cathedral and the surrounding areas of the old town, it’s well worth a visit to the City of Arts and Sciences. This is the complete opposite to many other landmarks in Valencia because it looks almost space-age. It was designed by an architect called Santiago Calatrava and is one of the most eye-catching sights to be found in this great City.
There are five magnificent buildings. The first is the Palau de le Arts Reina Sofia (the Opera House) and doesn’t look unlike the Sydney Opera House. After this, you’re treated to the IMAX theatre which is surrounded by a pool of cool, clear water. Next you have the Prince Felipe Science building which is a huge structure and on sunny days (of which there are many), you will need your sunglasses as this building is constructed of many plates of glass and is also surrounded by a light reflecting pool of water.

The latest addition to this spectacular tourist attraction is the Agora where many major sports events take place. We must also not forget the famous L’Oceanografic which is largely an aquarium. Built in 2002 this part of the City of Arts and Sciences is now the largest aquarium in Europe and, it’s possible to see all manner of Mediterranean fish as well as housing aquariums that represent all the World’s seas and oceans. In this part of the City it’s very easy to lose a whole day!
There are many other sites to see in Valencia. The Bullring stands proud; it’s possible to visit the Turia River, the Bioparc, La Lonja de la Seda (old silk exchange) and the Central Market which has a bewildering array of fruits and vegetables.

Eating out
This is something you will have little difficulty with. Whether you have decided to take in some of the sights or visit the beach, there are wonderful little cafes and bars to be found everywhere. Visiting Valencia and not sampling the tapas or paella on offer would seem like an insult to the locals!
Various meats and fish are also in abundance in Valencia however; do be aware the
eating culture here is probably different to what you would expect at home. Lunch-time is when many of the locals descend upon the restaurants and don’t be surprised if you can’t find a place to eat in the evenings until after at least 8pm. The night-life in this wonderful City starts and ends late.

The Language
Of course Spanish is widely spoken however, you should be aware the local dialect Valenciana which is an older version of the language is also spoken. In fact it’s taken very seriously by many of the locals. English speaking waiters etc can be found but, it’s worth taking a phrase book with you. Enjoy!


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