Valencia doesn’t seem to realize how beguiling she is, which only adds to her charm. As the capital of a once-prominent region, this unpretentious city proudly showed us a restoring sense of hope through her unique qualities.

Valencia Reveals Her Allure

Previously left behind by Franco, the 20th century Spanish dictator, Valencia gradually emerges from abandonment and obscurity, out from the shadow of Madrid and Barcelona.

Following a period of decline, she rose from the depths of a devastating flood to establish her autonomy and distinction within the diverse country of Spain. Now thanks to the vision and integrity of many who continue to restore her architectural treasures, Valencia continues to dust herself off with patience and grace to reveal splendor beneath the tarnish.

Traditions are valued. Valencians uphold and celebrate their heritage through language—bilingual in Castilian Spanish and Valenciana Catalan—customs, food, architecture, and vibrant fiestas throughout the year. We happened to visit during Día de la Comunidad Valenciana celebrating the history of the Valencian Community.

Charm is abundant—a varied array of building styles and characteristics reflect its rich history.

Throughout Valencia’s old center of Ciutat Vella, Roman origins, Moorish influences, and Christian traditions combine in a layered collection of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque structures. Heritage sites are juxtaposed by modern works of art in the surrounding areas.

At any moment when I thought I’d seen her best features, she would surprise me with another aspect from a different angle.

Around every corner we discovered a stunning gem—church, palacio, tower, plaza, fountain, monument—each constantly making me want to stop and bask in the splendor.

The hulking Medieval twin gate towers of Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart mark entrance points on the outer edge of what was once the wall around the old city. Within the center is the site of the old Roman forum at Plaza de la Virgen.

Constructed along the edge of the plaza are the blended-styles of the Baroque Valencia Basilica and Gothic Cathedral, La Seu, once a Moorish mosque. The Water Tribunal established by the Islamic Moors still meets in front of the west transept doors each Thursday.

After five centuries of Moorish rule during the Middle Ages, Valencia was conquered by the Christian army of King Jaume I of Aragon in 1237. The organic geometry of Islamic design continued to influence construction.

Exquisitely designed structures and spaces, created over centuries, provided me and my family an interesting and inspiring setting to explore.

Continue the Conversation

This 3 part series looks at Valencia through my lens.

I look forward to returning to Spain for further exploration of València, as well as visiting Castellón, the province on València’s northern border.

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