Travel through Time in Spain: València
Valencia is the oldest city in Spain with its history dating back to the Roman period. The city was under the ruling of the Moors in the middle age; thus, regarding various historic architectures, the city has lots to offer. The traditional dish, paella, is also originated from this city. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures before eating my paella in Valencia because my friends and I were too hungry at that time. We finished our paella in a blink of an eye that even ourselves were shocked at our speed of eating. It was the tastiest paella I have ever had in my life! Same with Barcelona, I believe that Valencia is worth many visits, as there are simply too many things to see. I can only share what I have visited during my trip here.
Our first stop was the Valencia central market (Mercat Central). It is a 8000 qm2 market built in the 20th century with Valencian Art Nouveau style. The market is very spacious and offers all kinds of seafood, fruits and vegetables, to name but a few.
Near the central market is the Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda). It is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996 for its Valencian-Gothic building style. This building was originally built in the 15–16 century for merchants to trade silk and do some marine business. Near the building, was an orange garden. According to some people who have tried the oranges, it is said to be not tasty, perhaps just for decoration purposes. Inside the building, we see spiral pillars and splendid ceilings. As the building preserves its ancient look, being inside the building felt as if we were the merchants ourselves back in the time.
In between Valencia central market and the Silk Exchange is the Santos Juanes church (Església de Sant Joan del Mercat). The current church was a reconstructed version in the Baroque style, which focuses on the exquisite decoration of the building and its pillars.
The only church that we entered was the Metropolitan Cathedral–Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia (Valencia Cathedral)(photo 1–3), built in the 13th century. During the Moorish ruling time, the exact location of this church was a mosque. A holy grail is said to be inside the church. Next to the Valencia Cathedral is Basílica de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats (photo 4), which is located near Plaza de la Virgen.
Other beautiful places include Town Hall Square (Plaza del Ayuntamiento) (photo 1) where the City Hall (photo 2) is located, the Valencia Northern Train Station (Estación del Norte)(photo 3), and Plaza de Toros Monumental de Valencia (photo 4). Plaza de Toros is the arena for bullfighting (bullring) and this arena in Valencia is the world’s second largest bullring. The buildings in Valencia mostly looked very fancy. Maybe due to its rich history, even the architects nowadays try to design buildings that resemble those from the past.
Lastly, I want to introduce two of my favorite places in Valencia. First one is the modern building complex, City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències). This architecture was built in the 20th century and the city invested around 900 million euro for this project. It is a great place to chill and although it is one of the important tourist attractions in Valencia, it is not overcrowded. The place also won one of Spain’s 12 Treasures. Other treasures include Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Alhambra Palace in Granada, Seville Cathedral and so on, but more on those later.
Second one is Marina Beach Club Valencia and the beaches nearby. From Platja de Llevant to Platja de la Patacona is a 3km walk that allows you to go through around 4 beaches and see the coastal line of Valencia.