Valencia's Rich History and Historical Sites
Valencia’s Rich History
Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC as a retirement paradise for former Legionnaires. Ever since then it has become a favorite haven for sun-worshippers from all over the Continent. The importance of Valencia to European history dates back even further than that.
Archeologists have traced the history of Valencia back to 100,000 B.C. All around Valencia you’ll be able to explore Greek, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Jewish and Moorish sites and cites as well. In Sagunto, for example, you’ll find one of the best preserved Roman theaters in Europe.
It was later conquered by the Moors. Re-conquered by El Cid in 1096. Then recaptured by the Moors. It was finally re-conquered by Jaime I, known as James the Conqueror, in 1238 and absorbed into the kingdom of Aragon. Today Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, known for its year-around near perfect climate, its exuberant outdoor living, vivacious nightlife, spectacular fiestas, artistic ceramics, fabulous cuisine and phenomenal, new age architecture.
The moment you pass through the Torres de Serranos, the magnificent medieval gateway, you’ll find yourself in one of the most modern, innovative cities in the world. Everywhere you look, you’ll see a seamless blending of the Medieval into a brave, new, future world. Take the Cathedral of Valencia for example. In this one unique building, originally built in 1262, you’ll see distinct examples of Spain’s three great architectural styles in its three portals. The oldest is the Romanesque Puerta del Palau, the main entrance. La Puerta de los Hierros, in Baroque style. And the Gothic ‘Puerta de los Apostoles’. From the grotesque gargoyles of La Lonja, the exquisite Gothic Silk Exchange, to the fluid avant-garde architecture of Santiago Calatrava, born in Valencia, you’ll discover a range of architectural styles found in no other city of the world.
27 Historical Sites.
The Lonja de la Seda(the Silk Exchange) is definitely one building you won’t want to miss. It offers one of the most remarkable example of Gothic architecture found anywhere in Europe. Built at the end of the 15th century it has been declared a World Heritage Site.
There are several other magnificent structures you’ll want to see as well. One is the Mercado Central (Central Market), one of the largest and most attractive enclosed markets in Europe. This huge iron, glass and tile Art Nouveau building, with its famous parrot and swordfish weathervanes, was opened in 1928. Everywhere you look, you’ll find other structures from a bygone era: masías (farmhouses), riu-raus, (raisin stores), neveros (ice stores), acequias (irrigation channels), aljibes (cisterns), and lavaderos (washing places). And of course you won’t want to miss a visit to Valencia’s historic Cathedral and famous watchtower to mention just a few.
lt took 2000 years for Valencia to become the First City of the New Millennium.
Today Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, known for its exuberant outdoor living, vivacious nightlife, spectacular fiestas, fabulous cuisine and phenomenal, new age architecture.