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Valencia city

The city of Paella and oranges

Valencia is the capital city of the province. Coincidentally, it is the third largest city in Spain. Valencia is an artsy, multifaceted, authentic city that is rich in terms of culture and local products such as the famous Paella dish called ‘Paella Valenciana’, Valor chocolate and Agua de Valencia. Similar to Barcelona, Valencia is located on the Mediterranean Sea and withholds a large amount of expansive beaches. The city is also famous for being the largest cycling city in Spain, thanks to the cycle friendliness and the amount of bike paths present. The best-known beach of Valencia is Las Arenas, with a large choice of shops and restaurants where one can enjoy delicious paella. The wide beaches of Valencia are striking compared to other beaches, as they are approximately 100m wide, so there is enough space for everyone!

The Jardin del Turía is a unique river, as it is dry and 9km long running through the city of Valencia. It is a meeting point for many people or a place to play sports. It is ideal for a long walk or a bike ride. In the past the river flooded often which affected the centre of Valencia. In 1957 there was a terrible flood whereby over 100 people died so therefore it was decided to let the river dry up and to swap it for a green park.

Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias
In other words the city of art and science, this area is the business card of Valencia. Not a single tourist shall skip this impressive city. The Valencians Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela designed it. It took 20 years to build the city and the construction ended in 2009. Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias is located in the dry river Turia’. This masterpiece is made up of six parts including: L’Umbracle, L’Oceanogràfic, Agora, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, L’Hemisfèric and the Museum of Science ‘Príncipe Felipe’. The Umbracle part is a city garden where different types of flora and fauna can be discovered. In the summertime, half the garden is transformed into a magical open-air nightclub with beautiful lights over the water.

El Carmen and Plaza de la virgin
El Carmen is the historical heart of Valencia and it is one of the most artistic areas of the city. The features of this neighbourhood are its small alleys, street art, small boutiques and churches. It is actually an open-air museum where there is something to admire on every street corner. In this area the most beautiful square is located, calledplaza de la virgin’. There is something romantic and historical here which is not surprising because at the time of the Romans this was the most important square. The most striking aspect is the amount of cats that have made El Carmen their home. It is for this very same reason that this area is called the cats’ neighbourhood. There is even an art piece dedicated to cats calledLa casa de los gatos’ (cats house), which are depicted on a photograph there. Throughout the whole neighbourhood there are drawings of cats, sometimes hidden in small side streets. Shopping is also good in this hip artistic area and one can find many boutiques run with love. Regarding art, unique souvenirs and vintage shops can be found in El Carmen.

Las Fallas
Las Fallas is a large secular traditional party in Valencia, which many Valencians look forward to every year. This event attracts visitors’ from around the world. They celebrate the start of spring. Las Fallas starts traditionally on the last Sunday of February and ends on the 19th of March with ‘La Crema’. The largest parties and activities take place between 15th and 19th of March, although throughout the whole period celebrations take place. Lots of fireworks are lit, there are paella contests on the streets and people drink a lot during these days. Throughout the whole year dolls are made, called ‘Ninots’ which are designed as creatively and prettily as possible. The dolls are displayed through the whole city accompanied by music and a loud parade. Every visitor of the open-air display can choose his or her favourite piece. Towards the end of the Fallas, all the votes are counted. The winning Ninot is the only doll left in Valencia, which is not burnt during the Crema on the evening of March 19th. This Ninot is brought to the Fallas museum where it can be admired for a long time. The rest of the self-made structures are burnt on the last night of the show. An exciting yet strange experience!

Fun facts:
- The most expensive art piece ever during Las Fallas cost 1 million euros.
- Approximately 300 firemen make sure that Valencia doesn’t go up in flames during La Crema.
- Las Fallas makes a big chance to reach the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list.

La Lonja de la Seda
La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Fair) is a unique building located in the centre of Valencia. It was declared A UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. Recently silk is not traded any longer, and the building is open to visitors. In the 15th century traders were locked up in tower when they could not pay their debts any longer. La Lonja de la Seda was built between 1482 and 1533 and it resembles an old castle with a beautiful inside patio famous for its orange trees. La Lonja is a masterpiece from the late Gothic architecture and it is definitely worth a visit!