Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, with a population of approximately one million people. The area of the city is 135 square kilometers. Valencia is a culturally rich city, which can be seen most prominently through the city’s architecture as well as in the fabulous museums and art galleries that can be found here. Valencia is famous for food and revelry it’s the home of paella and Las Fallas, a weeklong fiesta in March that climaxes with the burning
of hundreds of enormous papier-mache figures.
Valencia was founded by the Romans in the year 138, and gained more identity and importance during the Muslim era. Changing hands again, in 1094, Valencia was captured by the troops of “el Cid,” and was then ruled under the Aragonese Crown beginning in 1238 by Jaime I. When the Moors were expelled in 1609, Valencia suffered a major blow to it’s economy, but later in the 18th century participated in the economic and cultural renaissance of Spain. Valencia took an active part in the War of Independence in the 19th century against the French. Today, as the capital city of the Province of Valencia, ‘Valencianos’ are very proud of their identity and of their dialect, ‘Valenciano.’ In fact, you will find official notices, street signs, etc. written in Valenciano, classes given in Valenciano, and programs on television in the dialect.
As Spain’s third largest city, it has one of the largest ports, and many consider it to be Spain’s chief commercial and industrial centre. It is also the seat of two major universities and many other educational institutions. Textiles, machinery, automobiles, locomotives, airplanes, and electrical equipment are the chief manufactures. International banking and finance are also very important.
When it comes to the great cities of Spain, Valencia was up until recently one of the country’s best-kept secrets. You won’t find hordes of British and German tourists here yet (they’re all sunning themselves on the beaches of the Costa Blanca to the south of the city). What you will find is a vibrant city with wonderful shops, fascinating museums, beautiful palm-fringed plazas and a Millennium science complex which boasts some of the finest facilities in the whole of Europe. The construction of one of Europe’s most exciting millennium projects and the being the host of the 2007 and 2011 Americas cups and the mediterranean F1 has led to a major boom in Valencia’s tourism and hotel industries. The futuristic and totally mind-blowing structures of the new Arts and Science Centre are bringing Spanish and foreign visitors in droves to the city.