10 unknown secrets of Valencia
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1. SUMMERED ROMANTIC GARDEN During a visit to Valencia, the famous Turia park is a must-visit. The green strip that meanders around the northern part of the center is not to be missed. Another (smaller) park that is certainly worth a look, are the Jardines de Monforte. These gardens are a stone's throw from the Turia park but are skipped by many people. Maybe because the garden is somewhat hidden and you just have to know about the park ... The park is perfect for when you want to enjoy the peace. Be sure to bring a good book and crash down on one of the benches. Funny fact: the Jardines de Monforte used to be used primarily for royal purposes. Large parties were then organized in the gardens. The romantic park is now also used for other purposes. The Jardines de Monforte is a popular wedding venue and for wedding photo shoots. Especially the long arch with beautiful pink flowers is often chosen for the romantic photos.
Good to know: the metro stations Facultats and Alameda are within walking distance of the park. Fancy a walk? From the main square Plaza Ayuntamiento, it is a 20-25 minute walk to the Jardines de Monforte. Another idea is to go to the park by bike.
2. UNKNOWN 'JEWISH' PEARL The house is passed by so many; you also have to look up for a moment to spot the building. Casa Judía, built in 1930, is cheerful, with lots of blue, green and orange. On the gate is a star of David and probably because of this the house is called Casa Judía (Jewish house). However, to date, it is not entirely clear why the star is on the house. Was it a private addition by the architect? Or was it a wish of the client, José Salom, who was probably Jewish?
Location Calle Castellón 20 (between Plaza de Toros and Gran Vía)
3. DINING WITH A VIEW TO THE CITY OF ART AND SCIENCE A beautiful view of the special City of Art and Science and relatively affordable. This sounds too good to be true? But dreams can become reality ... At Restaurante Vertical they have relatively affordable lunch and dinner menus. The lunch menu costs € 55 and the dinner menu € 70. Both menus are tasting menus with unique flavors. A selection from the lunch menu: noodles with squid and red prawns (main course), lychees with a passion fruit gel (pre-dessert) and chocolate crumble with cookie foam and vanilla mushrooms (dessert). Good to know is that you dine at Vertical. The restaurant is located at the Aqua shopping center. To get to the restaurant, you need to take the elevator to the top floor at the hotel Aqua ****. Make a reservation before you go to Vertical!
4. THE MUSEUM OF THE SILENCE A walking route across a cemetery. It sounds almost too crazy to be true, but it is what the Museo de Silencio (the museum of silence) offers. The Cementerio General de Valencia cemetery was opened in 1807 after it was forbidden for cemeteries to come to every church in the historic center. There are special people buried, including the famous Valencian writer Vicente Blasco Ibañez, at the Cementerio General de Valencia. There are four routes across the cemetery: 18 lives and 18 minutes of silence (important people from Valencia), Women who have left their mark, Illustrious people and Popular people. Do you speak a word of Spanish? Then you can put the corresponding app on your smartphone where you can follow the routes.
5. VALENCIA AS THE LARGEST BORNE OF EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE AGES It is almost impossible to imagine, but in the Middle Ages, Catholic Valencia was a city that was known for its ... prostitution. Valencia had the largest brothel in Europe from 1356 to 1671. Maybe you think, that will probably be in a back neighborhood, but nothing is less true. The brothel was located in the center, next to the well-known silk fair La Lonja. Could this be a reason why there are many erotic images in and around La Lonja? The brothel in Valencia had a good organization and there were also rules attached to this. Men were not allowed to have a relationship with ladies in the brothel. 280 men between 1367 and 1399 cut this rule to their boot and eventually got a fine. Fines could also be received at the time when you as a Jew or Muslim entered into a relationship with a Christian. Three people were fined for this. This and much more special data have been recorded, making it clear that Valencia was a rather erotic city in the Middle Ages. In the seventeenth century, there was more resistance to brothels and prostitution. At the end of the seventeenth century, mass prostitution disappeared for a large part in Valencia. Special note: one of the last prostitution areas in Valencia was in the Convento de San Gregorio, which was a monastery! Nowadays you can find the theater Teatro Olympia here.
6. ROMAN RESTS UNDER THE CATHEDRAL Valencia was founded in 138 BC by the Romans. The city was named 'Valentia Edetanorum'. Influences from this Roman era can still be seen in Valencia. Thus the Romans started with irrigation channels and dams that the Moors (of secret 8) would later work out. When in the modern era the basilica wanted to expand and began digging, they encountered relics of this Roman period! From 1985 to 2005 there was digging in the center where various objects were found. You can admire this Roman remains in the Almoina museum (behind the cathedral and the basilica). Later still more Roman remains were found, namely under the famous Cathedral of Valencia! When the museum was to be renovated and expanded, Roman remains emerged three meters deep. A Roman street and at least three houses were found from the first and second century. Parts of this can be admired in the new museum of the Valencian cathedral.
7. PAELLA VALENCIANA IN EL PALMAR Maybe you are already familiar with paella, but did you know that this Spanish dish originally comes from the Valencia region? And the real paella also has some local secrets ... The locals prefer to eat the paella for lunch. Especially Sunday is according to the locals a good day for this rice dish. They would like to go out of town, for example at a holiday home where the whole day is in the theme of family and food. Is there no holiday home available? Then also the village El Palmar. This is just outside of Valencia and with only dozens of inhabitants and more than 30 paella restaurants, you can also hit your feet here. Here you eat the rice dish in the heart of the paella, namely between the rice fields. Where Valencians like to relax after a good paella Valenciana with a siesta, in El Palmar you can enjoy a relaxing boat trip on the Albufera lake.
Some paella facts: – You can recognize a good paella from the 'socarrat'. This is the 'caked-on' layer on the bottom of the paella pan. This is where most of the taste has gathered and many a Valencian is enthusiastic about it. Just scrape until you have a good bite socarrat and feast! – A paella takes at least 40 minutes to prepare. Is the paella already on the table after ten minutes? Then you do not have to deal with a fresh paella prepared for you. – At most restaurants, a paella is prepared for at least two people. A paella in a small pan for one person is often not freshly prepared for you. – In the Valencia region, you will find three types of paella: Paella Valenciana (with chicken, rabbit snails), Paella de Marisco (with seafood) and Paella Mixta (with chicken and fish).
8. HISTORICAL ELEMENTS AFTER THE MORNING TIME Valencia lived under the Moorish rule for years. The Moors came from North Africa and were Muslim. In the year 711 Valencia was conquered by them. The city was given the Arabic name 'Balansiya'. Under the Moors (in collaboration with the local population) Valencia grew and became an important city in the area. Of course, there were also Islamic elements in the city during this period, such as mosques. In the year 1238, Valencia was definitively recaptured by the Spaniards. This ended the Moorish era and also the many Islamic elements in Valencia (also called the Mudejar style). Where in southern Spain, for example, you still have many wonderful memories of the Moorish period (for example the Alhambra in Granada), you hardly see anything in Valencia. One of the best-preserved elements in Valencia of the Moorish period is the Portal de la Valldigna in the El Carmen district. The gate comes from 1400 and separated Christian Valencia from the Moorish. You can not find large mosques in Valencia anymore, but certain elements to remind you of the Moorish period. After this period, Valencia wanted to protect itself better against outside danger. It was decided to build a city wall that would surround the whole center. This city wall was demolished in the nineteenth century. In a few places in Valencia, you can still admire remnants of the city wall. The best-known place where this is possible is at the IVAM museum.
9. TRENCADIS IN THE CITY OF ART AND SCIENCE The City of Arts and Sciences is one of Valencia's most famous landmarks. The modern building group stands out because of the brilliant white and dark blue colors that are used. From a distance, most buildings seem “just” painted in these colors, but what not everyone knows is that the buildings are tiled with trencadis. This is a mosaic type that you also encounter in the Valencian train station Estación del Norte. If you take a closer look at the buildings (and other elements in the City of Art and Science, such as the benches), you will see all the small stones. What a precision work, you might think. Fortunately, the immense buildings did not have to be covered in stone. Sheets with trencadis have been used to tile the buildings. It seems like a good system, but in the long run, these pebbles began to fall off, giving a dilapidated image of, for example, the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia (opera house). Fortunately, this building has been re-tiled and since 2016 the Opera House looks like new again!
10. AMERICA'S CUP In 2003 America's Cup took place in Valencia, a sailing competition organized since 1851. This event takes place every so many years and normally this is done in the country of the winner. The winner of the Valencia edition was actually Switzerland, but because there is no sea in this country, a competition was organized in which cities could participate that wanted to organize the event. Valencia became the winner and especially for America's Cup a complex was created, called America's Cup. The eye-catcher of the complex is the futuristic white building Veles e Vents, designed by the Brit David Chipperfield. The competition was also held in Valencia in 2007 and 2010, but unfortunately very little happened in the complex. In addition, many Valencians and travelers could not easily find the complex. This is slightly removed from the Valencian beach.
Fortunately, more and more changes are taking place and America's Cup is becoming more popular. In 2016, just outside America's Cup, Valencia's first beach club opened: the Marina Beach Club Valencia. The complex has several restaurants with fine lounge areas where you can relax all year round. In the second half of 2016, the Veles e Vents building was taken care of. It was transformed into a hospitality hotspot with, among other things, a restaurant and a bar. Especially in the weekends (in the summer months) in the evening at the restaurants and the Veles e Vents building very cozy.
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