Valencia is an important and well doing city in Catalonia Spain. It is an interesting mixture of modern and new in the east coast of Spain – on the western shores of Mediterranean. History of Valencia is long and it has been ruled by local tribes to Romans, Moors and Christian kings. Even famous Spanish war lord El Cid hold the city as his kingdom in 1080 some years. There are not anymore many old buildings left in the city because it seem to be rich and thus able to build new modern buildings. Here some photos from new years eve 2015/2016.

Past of Valencia

City was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. After Rome won Carthagians Hispania came totally under Roman control and many Roman colonies were founded. Valencia was one of those and got then name as Valentia Edetanorum. As Roman period city had no special status especially because there were other important ports. After Romans church had lot of influence and finally Visigoth took the city as part of their realm. When invading muslim army defeated Visigoth king, city surrendered for Moors 714 AD. At that time Cathedra of Saint Vincent became a mosque. After Andalusian muslim state (caliphate) was devided to several small kingdoms, Valencia became one of the growing center for moors. It became one of the taifas – an independent muslim kingdom – who fought of power against taifa of Zaragossa in eastern coast. An interesting event took place in 1092 when Spanish war lord El Cid – Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar conquered city for himself for five years. He had an peculiar private army consisting Christian and Moorish soldiers. Later on at 1102 city was regained by Almoravid berbers coming from north Africa. King of Leon and Castile – Alfonso V – hold city for short period but again new berbers – Almohads – came from north Africa and took the city holding it until 1171. They were hard liners and city was restored for muslim religion. Still Jews had rather big and successful colony in the city at same time. But Aragon grew stronger and stronger and 1171 king James I of Aragon conquered the city. He had a great army in spirit of crusaders. This siege army had soldiers from Aragonese, Catalans and Navarrese origin but also crusaders and from order of Calatrava. When city surrendered 28.9.1171 several tens of thousands Moors had to leave the city. They have been querying help from all other muslim states but with no success and they were run over by Christian invasion. In middle-ages city had Black Death and rebellions but still continued it’s growth. The 15th century especially was time when city was flourishing. Buildings like Serrano towers, the silk exchange and Micalet was built then. Also arts like painting and sculpting were high level in the city. When new world – America – was found, port of the city and commercial business went down – economic crisis came. Also at 17th century some of the Morisco-population was expelled which increased economic downfall. Economic started to increase again in 18th century and now city is one of the most modern and richest cities in Spain. Part of wealthy Catalonia together with Barcelona.

Roman History

I came in Valencia to see the Roman and Moorish history but did not find it too much. City has become a modern city and many old buildings have been replaced by newer ones. So Valencia is much different than Granada or Toledo – or even Zaragoza. But stil there is something old to see when one is sharp when looking around.

I guess this was the closest I got with Romans here. A nice mosaic from city excavation in museum.

Other pics from Valencia

El Almudin – This used to be an old muslim palace – now a museum of historical paintings.

Santa Catalina Church is very nice small church and it has an unique atmosphere.

It’s tower is very beautiful and sceneries from top are magnificent.

Miguelete – Cathedral tower from Santa Catalina church tower.

Middle of the city lies main post office which is very nice looking building. Plaza de Ayuntamiento beside is a park/plaza where happens all the time something.

Facade of La Lonja de la Seda – once a thriving mercantile business center. Building has three different parts: orange garden (yard), main hall and sala de contracts.

It has a nice orange three garden.

Main hall is also looking very majestic.

But the main attraction here is the mercantile part. La Lonja de la Seda is a an old building where merchants used to works contracts.

Sala de contract with twisted very big columns is really remarkable.

Valencia Cathedral was built in thirteen century and is the biggest church in the city. It has an hexagonal shape and it is very special style. Plazas outside looks really nice.

One of the doorway into church is very nice looking and all the time people walk in front of it to take selfies…

Nice looking shrine in one plaza near cathedral.

View from Plaza de la Reina towards Santa Catalina church. Church has really special look and from tower one gets great view over city.

Plaza before Cathedral is very nice and there are restaurants around plaza. It is last day of year and still there stands a big Christmas three before church.

Front of Cathedral in front of main door.

Torres de Serranos are remains of old walls and gate into city. Very impressing! Maybe El Cid once ride into this gate when he took the city.

Plaza de la Virgen has a nice big fountain where people spent time. Plaza is actually very nice.

The big market house – plaza del mercado – is full of people. One hardly fits into the crowd.

It is new years eve – surprisingly nearly all restaurants are closed in the city – only few are open and there are big queue’s. In the late hours people come outside on the streets and plaza in front of mayor’s house is full of people.

Zoo of Vanlencia is one of the finest I have seen. It is wide having lot of wild animals. But especially surroundings fro animals are great. Here for example elefants have big area to life and it actually looks like Africa. It is good to think that it is 1.1. today and temperature is about +20 and sunshine – not bad even in Spain.

Puente de Calatrava – Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Palace of Arts). What can you say about this? Valencia is a modern city today. And probably very prosperous…

Puente de Calatrava is really dominant in this scenery. Can’t deny it is impressive. But also it tells that there is not anymore old past – it has been replaced by modern architecture.

A view between these two magnificent buildings.

It looks like spaceship has landed on the shores of Valencia.

Hmm… there may be some artistic in this pic.

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Palace of Arts)

Yes very modern and impressive! Valencia is not like Toledo – still living in it’s glorious past. Valencia has stepped to be a modern city.

View from scenery back from modern Palau des arts into the old city. It is getting dark…

Lights are turned on and city is getting ready for evening – street sceneries are looking peaceful and nice.

Nice looking fountain standing in dark alongside our trip back.

Next day still last view to old town of Valencia.

Next day my journey will take me into Xativa.

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