When people are planning a summer holiday to Spain they usually begin with the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza. However with such low cost travel, especially flights available now in Europe, many people are opting for city breaks. The obvious choices in Spain are the capital Madrid and of course Barcelona but have you ever considered the ancient port city of Valencia situated on the Iberian Peninsula.
It has a rich history with culture and traditions associated with the Moors’who ruled until being thrown out of the city by King Jaime 1st. However much of the remnants of Moorish tradition remains including the water system and culinary influences, Christianity, but most importantly the Romans who established it as a garrison for Roman soldiers who first started construction in Valencia’s old town – El Carmen at the Plaza de la Almoina in 138 B.C.E. Due to its proximity to the sea Valencia thrived as a trading hub through the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries which are generally regarded as the Golden Age of Valencia.
It is during this period that maritime trade and farming started to be established making Valencia one of Spains most important cities. A reflection of the importance of maritime trade was the creation of the Silk Exchange, known as La Lonja, and also the building of Valencia Cathedral. Another important building to be constructed was the Palau de la Generalitat which is the regional government headquarters.
Architecturally much was achieved during this period as was in the later Renaissance period. However a little known fact is that during the early twentieth century the city had an architectural revival where many of the buildings have a Modernist feel to them inspired by the likes of Gaudi of Barcelona’s famous cathedral fame. The del Norte train station certainly has a truly Modernist design as does the largest indoor market in Europe, the Mercado Central. Eight thousand square metres in size it offer over 1500 small restaurants and eateries to choose from. For the more discerning fans of Modernist architecture head out of town to El Cabanyal near the beach where you can find some less formal examples.
When you start planning your trip, make sure you don’t miss the good and warm climate at the city. Check out the sites, lap up the weather in Valencia and enjoy this city.. With its significant history, warm climate, and its close proximity to the warm Mediterranean Sea, Valencia is certainly a good choice for a city break away from the traditional attractions of Barca and Madrid.