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|Autonomous Community||Valencian Community|
|• Type||Mayor-council government|
|• Body||Ajuntament de València|
|• Mayor||Rita Barberá (PP)|
|• City||134.65 km2 (51.99 sq mi)|
|Elevation||15 m (49 ft)|
|Population (2010) INE|
|• Density||6,000/km2 (16,000/sq mi)|
|• Urban||1,175,000 to 1,564,145|
|• Metro||1,705,742 to 2,300,000|
|Demonym||valencià, valenciana (va)|
valenciano, valenciana (es)
|Time zone||CET (GMT +1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (GMT +2) (UTC)|
|Website||Valencia Tourism Office|
|Autonomous Community||Valencian Community|
|• Type||Mayor-council government|
|• Body||Ajuntament de València|
|• Mayor||Rita Barberá (PP)|
|• City||134.65 km2 (51.99 sq mi)|
|Elevation||15 m (49 ft)|
|Population (2010) INE|
|• Density||6,000/km2 (16,000/sq mi)|
|• Urban||1,175,000 to 1,564,145|
|• Metro||1,705,742 to 2,300,000|
|Demonym||valencià, valenciana (va)|
valenciano, valenciana (es)
|Time zone||CET (GMT +1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (GMT +2) (UTC)|
|Website||Valencia Tourism Office|
Valencia (Spanish: [baˈlenθja]), or València (Valencian: [vaˈlensia]), is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with around 809,000 inhabitants in the administrative centre. Valencia is also Spain's third largest metropolitan area, with a population ranging from 1.7 to 2.5 million. The city has global city status. The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the largest on the Mediterranean Sea, with a trade volume of 4.21 million TEU's.
Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with approximately 169 acres; this heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. Major monuments include Valencia Cathedral, the Torres de Serranos, the Torres de Quart, the Llotja de la Seda (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996), and the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences), an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. The Museu de Belles Arts de València houses a large collection of paintings from the 14th to the 18th centuries, including works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya, as well as an important series of engravings by Piranesi. The Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (Valencian Institute of Modern Art) houses both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and photography.
The original Latin name of the city was Valentia (Latin pronunciation: [waˈlentia]), meaning "strength", or "valour", the city being named according to the Roman practice of recognizing the valour of former Roman soldiers after a war. The Roman historian Livy explains that the founding of Valentia in the 2nd century BC was due to the settling of the Roman soldiers who fought against an Iberian rebel, Viriato. During the rule of the Muslim kingdoms in Spain, it was called Medina at-Turab (مدينة التراب, 'City of Sands'), since it was located on the banks of the River Turia, while the term Balansiyya (بلنسية) was reserved for the entire Taifa of Valencia. By gradual sound changes, Valentia [waˈlentia] has become Valencia [baˈlenθja] in the Castilian and València [vaˈlensia] in Valencian (in Valencian the grave accent <è> /ɛ/ contrasts with the acute accent <é> /e/, nevertheless the word 'València' is an exception to this rule which is spelled according to Catalan etymology, though it uses a pronunciation closer to Vulgar Latin).
The city is situated on the banks of the Turia river, on the eastern coast of the Iberian peninsula and the western part of the Mediterranean Sea, fronting the Gulf of Valencia. At the time of its founding by the Romans it stood on a river island in the Turia, 6.4 km (4 mi) from the sea. The Albufera, a saltwater lagoon and estuary which lies about 11 km (7 mi) south of the city, is one of the largest lakes in Spain; it was bought by the City Council from the Crown of Spain for 1,072,980 pesetas in 1911, and today forms the main portion of the Parc Natural de l'Albufera (Albufera Nature Reserve), with a surface area of 21,120 hectares (52,200 acres). Because of its cultural, historical and ecological value, it was declared a natural park by the Generalitat Valenciana in 1986.
Its average annual temperature is 22.3 °C (72.1 °F) during the day and 13.4 °C (56.1 °F) at night. In the coldest month—January—the maximum temperature typically during the day ranges from 10 to 20 °C (50 to 68 °F), the minimum temperature typically at night ranges from 2 to 12 °C (36 to 54 °F) and the average sea temperature is 14 °C (57 °F). In the warmest month—August—the temperature during the day typically ranges from 28–34 °C (82–93 °F), about 23 °C (73 °F) at night and the average sea temperature is 26 °C (79 °F). Generally, summer temperatures similar to those experienced in northern part of Europe last about 8 months, from April to November. March is transitional, the temperature often exceeds 20 °C (68 °F), with an average temperature of 19 °C (66 °F) during the day and 9 °C (48 °F) at night. December, January and February are the coldest months, with average temperatures around 17 °C (63 °F) during the day and 8 °C (46 °F) at night. Valencia has one of the mildest winters in Europe, owing to its southern location on the Mediterranean Sea. The January average is comparable to temperatures expected for May and September in the major cities of Northern Europe.
Sunshine duration hours are 2,660 per year, from 150 (average nearly 5 hours of sunshine duration at day) in December to 314 (average above 10 hours of sunshine duration at day) in July. Average annual temperature of the sea is 18.5 °C (65.3 °F). Average relative humidity is 60% in April to 68% in August.
|Climate data for Valencia|
|Average high °C (°F)||16.1|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||11.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||7.0|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||36|
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||4||3||4||5||5||3||1||2||4||5||4||5||44|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||169||169||212||229||256||271||314||285||237||201||167||150||2,660|
|Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN), Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
Valencia enjoyed strong economic growth over the last decade, much of it spurred by tourism and the construction industry, with concurrent development and expansion of telecommunications and transport. Air Nostrum, a regional airline, is headquartered in Valencia. The city's economy is service-oriented, as nearly 84% of the working population is employed in service sector occupations. However, the city still maintains an important industrial base, with 5.5% of the population employed in this sector. Agricultural activities are still carried on in the municipality, even though of relatively minor importance with only 1.9% of the working population and 3973 hectares planted mostly in orchards and citrus groves.
Since the break of the crisis (2008), Valencia has been among the Spanish regions most affected by it and has not been able to slow down growing unemployment rate, growing government debt etc. Severe spending cuts have been introduced by the city authorities.
In 2009, Valencia was the 29th fastest improving European city. Its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and the arts contributes to its status as one of the world's "Gamma"-rank global cities.
Valencia’s port is the biggest on the Mediterranean western coast, the first of Spain in container traffic as of 2008 and the second of Spain in total traffic, handling 20% of Spain’s exports. The main exports are foodstuffs and beverages. Other exports include oranges, furniture, ceramic tiles, fans, textiles and iron products. Valencia’s manufacturing sector focuses on metallurgy, chemicals, textiles, shipbuilding and brewing. Small and medium sized industries are an important part of the local economy, and unemployment is lower than the Spanish average.
Following the announcement that the 32nd America's Cup would be held in Valencia in 2007, the port underwent radical changes in which it was divided into two parts, one part remaining unchanged while the other section would be used exclusively for the America's Cup festivities. The two sections are now divided by a wall that projects far into the water in an effort to maintain clean water for the America's Cup side.
Public transport is provided by the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV) which operates the Metrovalencia and other rail and bus services. The Estació del nord (North Station) is the main railway terminus in Valencia. A new temporary station, Estación de València-Joaquín Sorolla, has been built on land adjacent to this terminus to accommodate high speed AVE trains to and from Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Alicante. Valencia Airport is situated 9 km (5.6 mi) west of Valencia city centre. Alicante Airport is situated about 170 km (110 mi) south of Valencia.
The City of Valencia also makes available a bicycle sharing system named ValenbiSi to both visitors and residents. As of October 13, 2012, the system has 2750 bikes distributed over 250 stations all throughout the city.
Starting in the mid-1990s, Valencia, formerly an industrial centre, saw rapid development which expanded its cultural and touristic possibilities, and transformed it into a newly vibrant city. Many local landmarks were restored, including the ancient Towers of the medieval city (Serrano Towers and Quart Towers), and the San Miguel de los Reyes monastery which now holds a conservation library. Whole sections of the old city, for example the Carmen Quarter, have been extensively renovated. The Paseo Marítimo, a 4 km (2 mi) long palm tree-lined promenade was constructed along the beaches of the north side of the port (Playa Las Arenas, Playa Cabañal and Playa de la Malvarrosa).
The city has numerous convention centres and venues for trade events, among them the Feria Valencia Convention and Exhibition Centre (Institución Ferial de Valencia) and the Palau de congres (Conference Palace), and several 5-star hotels to accommodate business travelers.
In its long history, Valencia has acquired many local traditions and festivals, among them the Falles, which were declared Celebrations of International Touristic Interest (Fiestas de Interés Turístico Internacional) on 25 January 1965, and the Water Tribunal of Valencia (Tribunal de las Aguas de Valencia), which was declared an intangible cultural heritage of humanity (Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad) in 2009. In addition to these Valencia has hosted world-class events that helped shape the city's reputation and put it in the international spotlight, e.g., the Regional Exhibition of 1909, the 32nd and the 33rd America's Cup competitions, the European Grand Prix of Formula One auto racing, the Valencia Open 500 tennis tournament, and the Global Champions Tour of equestrian sports.
The 2005 America's Cup yachting races were held at Valencia in June and July 2005 and attracted huge crowds. According to official data from the organizing committee, as many as 150,000 visitors flocked to Valencia's port each day during the two weeks of events.
The third largest city in Spain and the 15th most populous municipality in the European Union, Valencia has a population of 809,267 within its administrative limits on a land area of 134.6 km2 (52 sq mi). It is. The urban area of Valencia extending beyond the administrative city limits has a population of between 1,175,000 and 1,564,145. 1,705,742 or 2,300,000 or 2,516,818 people live in the Valencia metropolitan area. Between 2007 and 2008 there was a 14% increase in the foreign born population with the largest numeric increases by country being from Bolivia, Romania and Italy.
One notable demographic change in Valencia in the last decade has been the growth in the foreign born population which has risen from 1.5% in the year 2000 to 15.1% in 2009, a trend that has also occurred in the two larger cities of Madrid and Barcelona. The main countries of origin were Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Morocco and Romania.
Valencia is known internationally for the Falles (Las Fallas), a local festival held in March, and for paella valenciana, traditional Valencian ceramics, intricate traditional dress, and the architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.
La Tomatina, an annual tomato fight, draws crowds to the nearby town of Buñol in August. There are also a number of well-preserved traditional Catholic festivities throughout the year. Holy week celebrations in Valencia are considered some of the most colourful in Spain. Valencia has a metro system, the Metrovalencia (Valencia Metro).
The University of Valencia (officially Universitat de València Estudi General) was founded in 1499, being one of the oldest surviving universities in Spain, and the oldest university in the Valencian Community. It was listed as one of the four leading Spanish universities in the 2011 Shangai Academic Ranking of World Universities.
In 2012, Berklee College of Music opened a new campus at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia providing focus on the music of the region through its Mediterranean Music Institute. Since 2003, Valencia also hosts the music courses of Musikeon, leading musical institution in the Spanish-speaking world.
The two official languages spoken in the city are Valencian and Spanish. Due to political and demographic pressures in the past, the predominant language is Spanish, but Valencian is taught and spoken in most of the surrounding metropolitan area and province of Valencia. The government emphasizes the usage of the local language by posting signs and announcements of the metro area in Valencian with Spanish translations. Valencian is also used when naming streets. Street signs generally give the Valencian name for the street. However, older streets and those which span longer distances are also labelled in Spanish.
Valencia is famous for its gastronomic culture; typical features of its cuisine include paella, a simmered rice dish with seafood or meat (chicken or rabbit), fartons, buñuelos, the Spanish omelette, rosquilletas and squid (calamares).
About two thousand Roman colonists were settled there in 138 BC during the rule of consul Decimus Junius Brutus Galaico. The Roman historian Florus says that Brutus transferred the soldiers who had fought under him to that province. This was a typically Roman city in its conception, as it was located in a strategic location near the sea on a river island crossed by the Via Augusta, the imperial road which connected the province to Rome, the capital of the empire. The centre of the city was located in the present-day neighbourhood of the Plaza de la Virgen; here was the forum and the crossing of the Cardo Maximus and the Decumanus Maximus, streets which are still the two main axes of the city. The Cardo corresponds to the existing Calle de Salvador – Almoina and the Decumanus to Calle de los Caballeros.
Pompey razed Valentia to the ground in 75 BC as punishment for its adherence to Sertorius, but it was rebuilt around fifty years later, including large infrastructure projects, and by the mid-first century was experiencing rapid urban growth. Pomponius Mela says it was one of the principal cities of Tarraconensis province. Valencia suffered a new period of decline in the third century, but an early Christian community arose there during the latter years of the Roman Empire in the fourth century.
A few centuries later, coinciding with the first waves of the invading Germanic peoples (Suevi, Vandals and Alans, and later the Visigoths) and the power vacuum left by the demise of the Roman imperial administration, the church assumed the reins of power in the city and replaced the old Roman temples with religious buildings. With the Byzantine invasion of the southwestern Iberian peninsula in 554 the city acquired strategic importance. After the expulsion of the Byzantines in 625, Visigothic military contingents were posted there and the ancient Roman amphitheatre was fortified. Little is known of its history for nearly a hundred years; although this period is only scarcely documented by archeology, excavations suggest that there was little development of the city. During Visigothic times Valencia was an episcopal See of the Catholic Church, albeit a suffragan diocese subordinate to the archdiocese of Toledo, comprising the ancient Roman province of Carthaginensis in Hispania.
The city surrendered without a fight to the invading Moors (Berbers and Arabs) in 714 AD, and the cathedral of Saint Vincent was turned into a mosque. Abd al-Rahman I, the first emir of Cordoba, ordered the city destroyed, but several years later his son, Abdullah, had a form of autonomous rule over the province of Valencia. Among his administrative acts he ordered the building of a luxurious palace, the Russafa, on the outskirts of the city in the neighbourhood of the same name. So far no remains have been found. Also at this time Valencia received the name Medina al-Turab (City of Sand). When Islamic culture settled in, Valencia, then called Balansiyya, prospered from the 10th century, due to a booming trade in paper, silk, leather, ceramics, glass and silver-work. The architectural legacy of this period is abundant in Valencia and can still be appreciated today in the remnants of the old walls, the Baños del Almirante bath house, Portal de Valldigna street and even the Cathedral and the tower, El Micalet (El Miguelete), which was the minaret of the old mosque.
After the death of Almanzor and the unrest that followed, Muslim Al-Andalus disintergrated into numerous small states known as taifas, one of which was the Taifa of Valencia which would exist for four distinct periods: 1010–1065, 1075–1099, 1145–1147 and the last from 1229–1238.
Balansiyya had a rebirth of sorts with the beginning of the Taifa of Valencia kingdom in the 11th century. The town grew, and during the reign of Abd al-Aziz a new city wall was built, remains of which are preserved throughout the Old City (Ciutat Vella) today. The Castilian nobleman Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, known as El Cid, who was intent on possessing his own principality on the Mediterranean, entered the province in command of a combined Christian and Moorish army and besieged the city beginning in 1092. By the time the siege ended in May 1094, he had carved out his own fiefdom which he ruled from 15 June 1094 to July 1099; this victory was immortalised in the Lay of the Cid. During his rule he converted nine mosques into churches and installed the French monk Jérôme as bishop of the See of Valencia. He was killed defending the city from an Almoravid siege in July 1099, whereupon his wife Ximena Díaz ruled in his place for two years.
The city remained in the hands of Christian troops until 1102, when the Almoravids retook the city and restored the Muslim religion. Although the self-styled 'Emperor of All Spain', Alfonso VI of León and Castile, drove them from the city, he was not strong enough to hold it. The Christians set it afire before abandoning it, and the Almoravid Masdali took possession on 5 May 1109. The event was commemorated in a poem by Ibn Khafaja in which he thanked Yusuf ibn Tashfin for the city's liberation.The declining power of the Almoravids coincided with the rise of a new dynasty in North Africa, the Almohads, who seized control of the peninsula from the year 1145, although their entry into Valencia was deterred by Ibn Mardanis, King of Valencia and Murcia until 1171, at which time the city finally fell to the North Africans. The two Muslim dynasties would rule Valencia for more than a century.
In 1238, King James I of Aragon, with an army composed of Aragonese, Catalans, Navarrese and crusaders from the Order of Calatrava, laid siege to Valencia and on 28 September obtained a surrender. Fifty thousand Moors were forced to leave. Poets such as Ibn al-Abbar and Ibn Amira mourned this exile from their beloved Valencia. After the Christian victory and the expulsion of the Muslim population the city was divided between those who had participated in the conquest, according to the testimony in the Llibre del Repartiment (Book of Distribution). James I granted the city new charters of law, the Furs of Valencia, which later were extended to the whole kingdom of Valencia. Thenceforth the city entered a new historical stage in which a new society and a new language developed, forming the basis of the character of the Valencian people as they are known today.
On 9 October, King James, followed by his retinue and army, took possession of the city. The principal mosque was purified and the Mass was celebrated. James incorporated city and territory into the newly formed Kingdom of Valencia, one of the kingdoms forming the Crown of Aragon, and permitted all people that lived in the city, Jews, Muslims and Christians, to stay there and live as citizens of the kingdom.
According to historical data on the capitulation of the city, the kingdom of Valencia had a population of 120,000 Muslims, 65,000 Christians and 2,000 Jews, who by the terms of the capitulation and its covenants were mostly allowed to remain on their land. According to the Arab historian Hussein Mones of the University of Cairo, these were the words which King Zayan spoke to James I when he surrendered the keys to the city:
The city went through serious troubles in the mid-fourteenth century. On the one hand were the decimation of the population by the Black Death of 1348 and subsequent years of epidemics, and on the other, the series of wars and riots which followed. Among these were the War of the Union, a citizen revolt against the excesses of the monarchy, led by Valencia as the capital of the kingdom, and the war with Castile, which forced the hurried raising of a new wall to resist Castilian attacks in 1363 and 1364. In these years the coexistence of the three communities that occupied the city—Christian, Jewish and Muslim—was quite contentious. The Jews occupying the area around the waterfront had progressed economically and socially, and their quarter was gradually expanding its boundaries at the expense of neighboring parishes. Meanwhile, the Muslims who remained in the city after the conquest were entrenched in a Moorish neighbourhood next to the present-day market Mosen Sorel. In 1391 an uncontrolled mob attacked the Jewish quarter, causing its virtual disappearance and leading to the forced conversion of its surviving members to Christianity. The Muslim quarter was attacked during a similar tumult among the populace in 1456, but the consequences were of minor importance.
The 15th century was a time of economic expansion, known as the Valencian Golden Age, in which culture and the arts flourished. Concurrent population growth made Valencia the most populous city in the Kingdom of Aragon. Local industry, led by textile production, reached a great development, and a financial institution, the Canvi de Taula, was created to support municipal banking operations; Valencian bankers lent funds to Queen Isabella I of Castile for Columbus' voyage in 1492. At the end of the century the Silk Exchange (Llotja de la Seda) building was erected as the city became a commercial emporium that attracted merchants from all over Europe.
This boom was reflected in the growth of artistic and cultural pursuits. Some of the most emblematic buildings of the city were built during this period, including the Serranos Towers (1392), the Lonja (1482), the Miguelete and the Chapel of the Kings of the Convent of Santo Domingo. In painting and sculpture, Flemish and Italian trends had an influence on artists such as Lluís Dalmau, Peris Gonçal and Forment Damian. Literature flourished with the patronage of the court of Alfonso the Magnanimous, supporting authors like Ausias March, Roiç de Corella, and Isabel de Villena. By 1460 Joanot Martorell wrote Tirant lo Blanch, an innovative novel of chivalry that influenced many later writers, from Cervantes to Shakespeare. Ausiàs March was one of the first poets to use the everyday language Valencian, instead of the troubadour language, Occitan. Also around this time, between 1499 and 1502, the University of Valencia was founded under the parsimonious name of Estudio General (General Studies).
Valencia was one of the most influential cities on the Mediterranean in the 15th and 16th centuries. The first printing press in the Iberian Peninsula was located in Valencia. The first printed Bible in a Romance language, the Valencian Bible attributed to Bonifaci Ferrer, was printed in Valencia circa 1478.
Following the discovery of the Americas, the European economy was oriented towards the Atlantic to the detriment of the Mediterranean trade. Despite the dynastic union of Aragon with Castile, the conquest and exploitation of America was the exclusive domain of Castile. The Valencians, like the Catalans, Aragonese and Majorcans, were prohibited participation in the cross-Atlantic commerce. Faced with this loss of business, Valencia suffered a severe economic crisis, which manifested itself early in 1519–1523 when the artisan guilds known as the Germanies revolted against the government of the Habsburg king Charles I in Valencia, now part of the Crown of Aragon, with most of the fighting done in 1521. The revolt was an anti-monarchist, anti-feudal autonomist movement inspired by the Italian republics, and a social revolt against the nobility who had fled the city before an epidemic of plague in 1519. It also bore a strong anti-Islamic aspect, as rebels rioted against Aragon's population of mudéjars and imposed forced conversions to Christianity. The uprising and its leaders were brutally repressed by the vicereine Germaine of Foix, an action which accelerated the authoritarian centralization of the government of Charles I. Queen Germaine favored harsh treatment of the agermanats; she is thought to have signed the death warrants of 100 former rebels personally, and sources indicate that as many as 800 executions may have occurred in total. The agermanats are comparable to the comuneros of neighboring Castile, who fought a similar revolt against Charles from 1520–1522.
The crisis deepened during the 17th century with the expulsion in 1609 of the Jews and the Moriscos, descendants of the Muslim population that converted to Christianity under threat of exile from Ferdinand and Isabella in 1502. From 1609 through 1614, the Spanish government systematically forced Moriscos to leave the kingdom for Muslim North Africa. They were concentrated in the former Kingdom of Aragon, where they constituted a fifth of the population, and the Valencia area specifically, where they were roughly a third of the total population. The expulsion caused the financial ruin of some of the nobility and the bankruptcy of the Taula de Canvi in 1613. The Crown endeavoured to compensate the nobles, who had lost much of their agricultural labour force; this harmed the economy of the city for generations to come. Later, during the so-called Catalan Revolt (1640–1652), Valencia contributed to the cause of Philip IV with militias and money, resulting in a period of further economic hardship exacerbated by the arrival of troops from other parts of Spain.
The decline of the city reached its nadir with the War of Spanish Succession (1702–1709) that marked the end of the political and legal independence of the Kingdom of Valencia. During the War of the Spanish Succession, Valencia sided with Charles of Austria. On 24 January 1706, Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough, 1st Earl of Monmouth, led a handful of English cavalrymen into the city after riding south from Barcelona, capturing the nearby fortress at Sagunt, and bluffing the Spanish Bourbon army into withdrawal.
The English held the city for 16 months and defeated several attempts to expel them. English soldiers advanced as far as Requena on the road to Madrid. After the victory of the Bourbons at the Battle of Almansa on 25 April 1707, the English army evacuated Valencia and Philip V ordered the repeal of the privileges of Valencia as punishment for the kingdom's support of Charles of Austria. By the Nueva Planta decrees (Decretos de Nueva Planta) the ancient Charters of Valencia were abolished and the city was governed by the Castilian Charter. The Bourbon forces burned important cities like Xativa, where pictures of the Spanish Bourbons in public places are hung upside down as a protest to this day. The capital of the Kingdom of Valencia was moved to Orihuela, an outrage to the citizens of Valencia. Philip ordered the Cortes to meet with the Viceroy of Valencia, Cardinal Luis de Belluga, who opposed the change of capital because of the proximity of Orihuela, a religious, cultural and now political centre, to Murcia (capital of another viceroyalty and his diocese). Because of his hatred of the city of Orihuela which had bombarded and looted Valencia during the War of Succession, the cardinal resigned the viceroyalty as a protest against the actions of Philip, who finally relented and returned the capital to Valencia.
With the abolition of the charters of Valencia and most of its institutions, and the conformation of the kingdom and its capital to the laws and customs of Castile, top civil officials were no longer elected, but instead were appointed directly from Madrid, the king's court city, the offices often filled by foreign aristocrats. Valencia had to become accustomed to being an occupied city, living with the presence of troops quartered in the Citadel near the convent of Santo Domingo and in other buildings such as the Lonja, which served as a barracks until 1762.
The Valencian economy recovered during the 18th century with the rising manufacture of woven silk and ceramic tiles. The Palau de Justicia is an example of the affluence manifested in the most prosperous times of Bourbon rule (1758–1802) during the rule of Charles III. The 18th century was the age of the Enlightenment in Europe, and its humanistic ideals influenced such men as Gregory Maians and Perez Bayer in Valencia, who maintained correspondence with the leading French and German thinkers of the time. In this atmosphere of the exaltation of ideas the Economic Society of Friends of the Country (Societat Econòmica d'Amics del País) was founded in 1776; it introduced numerous improvements in agriculture and industry and promoted various cultural, civic, and economic institutions in Valencia.
The 19th century began with Spain embroiled in wars with France, Portugal or England, but it was the War of Independence which most affected the Valencian territories and the capital city. The repercussions of the French Revolution were still being felt when Napoleon's armies invaded the Iberian Peninsula, against which the Valencian people rose in arms on 23 May 1808, aroused by such characters as Vicent Doménech el Palleter. The mutineers seized the Citadel, a Supreme Junta government took over, and on 26–28 June the First Battle of Valencia occurred when Napoleon's Marshal Moncey attacked the city with a column of 9,000 French imperial troops; he failed to take the city in two assaults and retreated to Madrid. Marshal Suchet began a long siege of the city in October 1811, and after an intense bombardment forced its surrender on 8 January 1812. After the capitulation, the French instituted some reforms in Valencia, which became the capital of Spain when the Bonapartist pretender to the throne, José I (Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's elder brother), moved the Court there in the summer of 1812. The disaster of the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June 1813 obliged Suchet to quit Valencia and the French troops withdrew in July.
During the Napoleonic invasion, the Valencians had sent their representatives to the Cortes of Cádiz, where a liberal, anti-seigneurial national constitution was drafted. Ferdinand VII became king after the victorious end of the Peninsular War, by which Spain was freed from the Napoleonic domination. When he returned on 24 March 1814 from exile in France, he was requested by the Cortes to respect the liberal Constitution of 1812, which seriously limited the royal powers. Ferdinand refused and went to Valencia instead of Madrid. Here, on April 17, General Elio invited the King to reclaim his absolute rights and put his troops at the King's disposition. The king abolished the Constitution of 1812; this act was followed by the dissolution of the two chambers of the Spanish Parliament on 10 May. Thus began the six years (1814–1820) of absolutist rule, but the constitution was reinstated during the Trienio Liberal, a period of three years of liberal government in Spain from 1820–1823. A fervent follower of the absolutist cause, Elío had played an important role in the repression of the supporters of the Constitution of 1812. For this, he was arrested in 1820 and executed in 1822 by garroting. Conflict between the absolutists and the liberals continued, and in the period of conservative rule called the Ominous Decade (1823–1833) which followed the Trienio Liberal there was ruthless repression by government forces and the Catholic Inquisition. The last victim of the Inquisition was Gaietà Ripoli, a teacher accused of being a deist and a Mason who was hanged in Valencia in 1824.
Baldomero Espartero became, on the death of King Ferdinand VII in 1833, one of the most ardent defenders of the hereditary rights of his daughter, Isabella II. On the outbreak of the First Carlist War, the government sent him to the front, where he severely defeated the Carlists in many encounters. He was associated with the radical, or progressive, wing of Spanish liberalism and would become its symbol and champion after taking credit for the victory over the Carlists in 1839. During the regency of Maria Cristina, Espartero ruled Spain for two years as its 18th Prime Minister from 16 September 1840 to 21 May 1841. Under his progressive government the old regime was tenuously reconciled to his liberal policies. During this period of upheaval in the provinces he declared all the estates of the Church, its congregations and its religious orders to be national property, although in Valencia most of it was subsequently acquired by the local bourgeoisie. City life in Valencia carried on in a revolutionary climate, with frequent clashes between liberals and republicans and the constant threat of reprisals by the Carlist troops of General Cabrera.
The reign of Isabella II as an adult (1843–1868) proved to be a period of relative stability and growth for Valencia in which services and the infrastructure, including municipal water supply, paved roads, and gas distribution were substantially improved, and a large-scale construction project was initiated at the port. Gas lighting was introduced in 1840 and soon after a public works project began to pave the streets with cobblestones, a task that took several years because of the lack of council funds. The public water supply network was completed in 1850, and in 1858 the architects Sebastián Monleón Estellés, Antonino Sancho and Timoteo Calvo drafted a general expansion project for the city which included the demolition of its ancient walls (a second version was printed in 1868). Neither proposed project received final approval, but they did serve as a guide, although not necessarily closely followed, for future growth. By 1860 the municipality had 140,416 inhabitants, and beginning in 1866 the ancient city walls were almost entirely demolished to facilitate urban expansion. Electricity was introduced to Valencia in 1882.
During the Cantonal Revolution of 1873, a cantonalist uprising that took place during the First Spanish Republic, the city was consolidated with most of the nearby cities in the Federal Canton of Valencia (proclaimed on July 19 and dissolved on August 7). It did not have the revolutionary fervor of the movement in cities like Alcoy, as it was initiated by the bourgeoisie, but the Madrid government sent General Martinez-Campos to stifle the rebellion by force of arms and subjected Valencia to an intense bombardment. The city surrendered on August 7; Alfonso XII was proclaimed king on 29 December 1874, and arrived in Valencia on 11 January 1875 on his way to Madrid, marking the end of the first republic. Despite the Bourbon restoration, the roughly even balance between conservatives and liberals in the government was sustained in Valencia until the granting of universal male suffrage in 1890, after which the Republicans, led by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, gained considerably more of the popular vote.
During the second half of the 19th century the bourgeoisie encouraged the development of the city and its environs; land-owners were enriched by the introduction of the orange crop and the expansion of vineyards and other crops,. This economic boom corresponded with a revival of local traditions and of the Valencian language, which had been ruthlessly suppressed from the time of Philip V. Around 1870, the Valencian Renaissance, a movement committed to the revival of the Valencian language and traditions, began to gain ascendancy. In its early stages the movement inclined to the romanticism of the poet Teodor Llorente, and resisted the more assertive remonstrances of Constantine Llombart, founder of the still extant cultural society, Rat Penat Lo, which is dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of the Valencian language and culture.
In 1894 the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Valencia (Circle of Fine Arts in Valencia) was founded.
During the 20th century Valencia remained the third most populous city of Spain as its population tripled, rising from 213,550 inhabitants in 1900 to 739,014 in 2000. Valencia was also third in industrial and economic development; notable milestones include urban expansion of the city in the latter 1800s, the creation of the Banco de Valencia in 1900, construction of the Central and Columbus markets, and the construction of the Gare du Nord railway station, completed in 1921. The new century was marked in Valencia with a major event, the Valencian regional exhibition of 1909 (La Exposición Regional Valenciana de 1909), which emulated the national and universal expositions held in other cities. This production was promoted by the Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia (Mercantile Athenaeum of Valencia), especially by its chairman, Tomás Trénor y Palavicino, and had the support of the Government and the Crown; it was officially inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII himself.
In the early 20th century Valencia was an industrialized city. The silk industry had disappeared, but there was a large production of hides and skins, wood, metals and foodstuffs, this last with substantial exports, particularly of wine and citrus. Small businesses predominated, but with the rapid mechanization of industry larger companies were being formed. The best expression of this dynamic was in the regional exhibitions, including that of 1909 held next to the pedestrian avenue L'Albereda (Paseo de la Alameda), which depicted the progress of agriculture and industry. Among the most architecturally successful buildings of the era were those designed in the Art Nouveau style, such as the North Station (Gare du Nord) and the Central and Columbus markets.
Industrial workers began to organize in increasing numbers to demand better living conditions. The Republican party of Blasco Ibáñez responded to these demands and gained enormous popular support, dominating the ruling council between 1901 and 1923.
World War I (1914–1918) greatly affected the Valencian economy, causing the collapse of its citrus exports. The establishment of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in 1923 tempered social unrest for some years, but not the growing political radicalization of the working classes. The labor movement gradually consolidated its union organization, while the conservative factions rallied around the Valencian Regional Right.
The Republic (1931–1939) opened the way for democratic participation and the increased politicisation of citizens, especially in response to the rise of Conservative Front power in 1933. This climate marked the elections of 1936, won by the Popular Front political coalition which promoted the fervor of the masses. The military uprising of July 18 failed to triumph in Valencia. For some months there was a revolutionary atmosphere, gradually neutralised by the government.
The inevitable march to civil war and the combat in Madrid resulted in the removal of the capital of the Republic to Valencia. On 6 November 1936 the city became the capital of Republican Spain under the control of the prime minister Manuel Azana; the government moved to the Palau de Benicarló, its ministries occupying various other buildings. The city was heavily bombarded by air and sea, necessitating the construction of over two hundred bomb shelters to protect the population. On 13 January 1937 the city was first shelled by a vessel of the Fascist Italian Navy, which was blockading the port by the order of Benito Mussolini. The bombardment intensified and inflicted massive destruction on several occasions; by the end of the war the city had survived 442 bombardments, leaving 2,831 dead and 847 wounded, although it is estimated that the death toll was higher, as the data given are those recognized by Francisco Franco's government. The Republican government passed to Juan Negrín on 17 May 1937 and on 31 October of that year moved to Barcelona. On 30 March 1939 Valencia surrendered and the Nationalist troops entered the city. The postwar years were a time of hardship for Valencians. During Franco's regime speaking or teaching Valencian was prohibited; in a significant reversal it is now compulsory for every schoolchild in Valencia.
The dictatorship of Franco forbade political parties and began a harsh ideological and cultural repression countenanced and sometimes even led by the Church. The financial markets were destabilised, causing a severe economic crisis during which rationing was imposed; a black market in rationed goods existed for over a decade. The Francoist administrations of Valencia silenced publicity of the catastrophic consequences of the floods of 1949 with the attendant dozens of deaths, but could not do the same after the even more tragic flood of 1957 when the river Turia overflowed its banks again, killing many Valencians (officially, eighty-one died; the actual figure is not known). To prevent further disasters, the river was eventually diverted to a new course. The old river bed was abandoned for years, and successive Francoist mayors proposed making it a motorway, but that option was finally rejected with the advent of democracy and fervent neighborhood protests. The river was divided in two at the western city limits (Plan Sur de Valencia), and diverted southwards along a new course that skirts the city, before meeting the Mediterranean. The old course of the river continues, dry, through the city centre, almost to the sea. The old riverbed is now a verdant sunken park called the 'Garden of the Turia' (Jardí del Túria or Jardín del Turia) that allows cyclists and pedestrians to traverse much of the city without the use of roads; overhead bridges carry motor traffic across the park.
The economy began to recover in the early 1960s, and the city experienced explosive population growth through immigration spurred by the jobs created with the implementation of major urban projects and infrastructure improvements. With the advent of democracy in Spain, the ancient kingdom of Valencia was established as a new autonomous entity, the Valencian Community, the Statute of Autonomy of 1982 designating Valencia as its capital. On the night of 23 February 1981, shortly after Antonio Tejero had stormed Congress, the Captain General of the Third Military Region, Jaime Milans del Bosch, rose up in Valencia, put tanks on the streets, declared a state of emergency and tried to convince other senior military figures to support the coup. After the televised message of King Juan Carlos I, those in the military who had not yet aligned themselves decided to remain loyal to the government, and the coup failed. Despite this lack of support, Milans del Bosch only surrendered at 5 a.m. on the next day, 24 February.
Democracy has led to the recovery of the Valencian language and culture, but could not resolve the social tensions concerning these symbols; this identity conflict, known facetiously as the Battle of Valencia, has been characterised by considerable conflict and violence, dividing Valencia socially and politically.
Valencia has experienced a surge in its cultural development during the last thirty years, exemplified by exhibitions and performances at such iconic institutions as the Palau de la Música, the Palacio de Congresos, the Metro, the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències), the Valencian Museum of Enlightenment and Modernity (Museo Valenciano de la Ilustracion y la Modernidad), and the Institute of Modern Art (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno). The various productions of Santiago Calatrava, a renowned structural engineer, architect, and sculptor and of the architect Félix Candela have contributed to Valencia's international reputation. These public works and the ongoing rehabilitation of the Old City (Ciutat Vella) have helped improve the city's livability and tourism is continually increasing.
On 9 July 2006, during Mass at Valencia's Cathedral, Our Lady of the Forsaken Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI used, at the World Day of Families, the Santo Caliz, a 1st-century Middle-Eastern artifact believed by many to be the Holy Grail. It was supposedly brought to that church by Emperor Valerian in the 3rd century, after having been brought by St. Peter to Rome from Jerusalem. The Santo Caliz (Holy Chalice) is a simple, small stone cup. Its base was added in medieval times and consists of fine gold, alabaster and gem stones.
Valencia was selected in 2003 to host the historic America's Cup yacht race, the first European city ever to do so. The America's Cup matches took place in summer 2007. On 3 July 2007, Alinghi defeated Team New Zealand and successfully defended the America's Cup. Twenty-two days later, on 25 July 2007, the leaders of the Alinghi syndicate, holder of the America's Cup, officially announced that Valencia would be the host city for the 33rd America's Cup, held in June 2009.
Since 1991 the City Council has been governed by the People's Party of Spain (Partido Popular) (PP) and Mayor Rita Barberá Nolla who became mayor by a pact made with the Valencian Union. She is a member of the National Council of the People's Party and a Representative in the Valencian regional Parliament (Corts Valencianes). She turned down an offer to become a national deputy at the 2008 Spanish General Election.
The ancient winding streets of the Barrio del Carmen contain buildings dating to Roman and Arabic times. The Cathedral, built between the 13th and 15th centuries, is primarily of Gothic style but contains elements of Baroque and Romanesque architecture. Beside the Cathedral is the Gothic Basilica of the Virgin (Basílica De La Virgen De Los Desamparados). The 15th-century Serrano and Quart towers are part of what was once the wall surrounding the city.
UNESCO has recognised the Silk Exchange market (La Llotja de la Seda), erected in early Valencian Gothic style, as a World Heritage Site. The modernist Central Market (Mercado Central) is one of the largest in Europe. The main railway station Estación Del Norte is built in modernisme (the Spanish version of Art Nouveau) style.
World-renowned (and city-born) architect Santiago Calatrava produced the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències), which contains an opera house/performing arts centre, a science museum, an IMAX cinema/planetarium, an oceanographic park and other structures such as a long covered walkway and restaurants. Calatrava is also responsible for the bridge named after him in the centre of the city. The Music Palace (Palau De La Música) is another noteworthy example of modern architecture in Valencia.
The Valencia Cathedral was called Iglesia Mayor in the early days of the Reconquista, then Iglesia de la Seo (Seo is from the Latin sedes, i.e., (archiepiscopal) See), and by virtue of the papal concession of 16 October 1866, it was called the Basilica Metropolitana. It is situated in the centre of the ancient Roman city where some believe the temple of Diana stood. In Gothic times, it seems to have been dedicated to the Holy Saviour; the Cid dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin; King James I of Aragon did likewise, leaving in the main chapel the image of the Blessed Virgin which he carried with him and is reputed to be the one now preserved in the sacristy. The Moorish mosque, which had been converted into a Christian church by the conqueror, was deemed unworthy of the title of the cathedral of Valencia, and in 1262 Bishop Andrés de Albalat laid the cornerstone of the new Gothic building, with three naves; these reach only to the choir of the present building. Bishop Vidal de Blanes built the chapter hall, and James I added the tower, called El Miguelete because it was blessed on St. Michael's day in 1418. The tower is about 58 m high and topped with a belfry (1660–1736).
In the 15th century the dome was added and the naves extended back of the choir, uniting the building to the tower and forming a main entrance. Archbishop Luis Alfonso de los Cameros began the building of the main chapel in 1674; the walls were decorated with marbles and bronzes in the Baroque style of that period. At the beginning of the 18th century the German Conrad Rudolphus built the façade of the main entrance. The other two doors lead into the transept; one, that of the Apostles in pure pointed Gothic, dates from the 14th century, the other is that of the Paláu. The additions made to the back of the cathedral detract from its height. The 18th-century restoration rounded the pointed arches, covered the Gothic columns with Corinthian pillars, and redecorated the walls. The dome has no lantern, its plain ceiling being pierced by two large side windows. There are four chapels on either side, besides that at the end and those that open into the choir, the transept, and the sanctuary. It contains many paintings by eminent artists. A silver reredos, which was behind the altar, was carried away in the war of 1808, and converted into coin to meet the expenses of the campaign. There are two paintings by Francisco Goya in the San Francesco chapel. Behind the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is a small Renaissance chapel built by Calixtus III. Beside the cathedral is the chapel dedicated to the Our Lady of the Forsaken (Virgen de los desamparados or Mare de Déu dels Desamparats).
The Tribunal de las Aguas (Water Court), a court dating from Moorish times that hears and mediates in matters relating to irrigation water, sits at noon every Thursday outside the Puerta de Apostoles (Portal of the Apostles).
In 1409, a hospital was founded and placed under the patronage of Santa María de los Inocentes; to this was attached a confraternity devoted to recovering the bodies of the unfriended dead in the city and within a radius of three miles (4.8 km) around it. At the end of the 15th century this confraternity separated from the hospital, and continued its work under the name of "Cofradia para el ámparo de los desamparados". King Philip IV of Spain and the Duke of Arcos suggested the building of the new chapel, and in 1647 the Viceroy, Conde de Oropesa, who had been preserved from the bubonic plague, insisted on carrying out their project. The Blessed Virgin was proclaimed patroness of the city under the title of Virgen de los desamparados (Virgin of the Forsaken), and Archbishop Pedro de Urbina, on 31 June 1652, laid the cornerstone of the new chapel of this name. The archiepiscopal palace, a grain market in the time of the Moors, is simple in design, with an inside cloister and a handsome chapel. In 1357 the arch which connects it with the cathedral was built. In the council chamber are preserved the portraits of all the prelates of Valencia.
Among the parish churches are Saints John (Baptist and Evangelist), rebuilt in 1368, whose dome, decorated by Palonino, contains some of the best frescoes in Spain; El Templo (the Temple), the ancient church of the Knights Templar, which passed into the hands of the Order of Montesa and was rebuilt in the reigns of Ferdinand VI and Charles III; the former convent of the Dominicans, at one time the headquarters of the Capital General, the cloister of which has a beautiful Gothic wing and the chapter room, large columns imitating palm trees; the Colegio del Corpus Christi, which is devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, and in which perpetual adoration is carried on; the Jesuit college, which was destroyed in 1868 by the revolutionary Committee of the Popular Front, but later rebuilt; and the Colegio de San Juan (also of the Society), the former college of the nobles, now a provincial institute for secondary instruction.
Other Medieval churches of Valencia are:
The largest plaza in Valencia is the Plaça de l'Ajuntament or Plaza del Ayuntamiento; it is home to the City Hall (Ayuntamiento) on its western side and the central post office (Edificio de Correos) on its eastern side, a cinema which shows classic movies, and many restaurants and bars. The plaza is triangular in shape, with a large cement lot at the southern end, normally surrounded by flower vendors. It serves as ground zero during the Les Falles when the fireworks of the Mascletà can be heard every afternoon. There is a large fountain at the northern end.
The Plaça de la Mare de Déu contains the Basilica of the Virgin and the Turia fountain, and is a popular spot for locals and tourists. Around the corner is the Plaça de la Reina, with the Cathedral, orange trees, and many bars and restaurants.
The Turia River was diverted in the 1960s, after severe flooding, and the old river bed is now the Turia gardens, which contain a children’s playground, a fountain, and sports fields. The Palau de la Música is adjacent to the Turia gardens and the City of Arts and Sciences lies at one end.
Other gardens in Valencia include the Jardines de Monforte (Montforte Gardens), the Jardin Botanico (Botanical Gardens) and the Jardines de Real (Royal Gardens).
|Valencia C.F.||La Liga||Football||Mestalla||1919||55,000|
|Levante UD||La Liga||Football||Estadi Ciutat de València||1909||25,354|
|Huracán Valencia||Segunda División B||Football||Municipal de Manises||2011||1,000|
|Valencia Club de Fútbol Mestalla||Segunda División B||Football||Ciudad Deportiva de Paterna||1944||4,000|
|Valencia Basket Club||ACB||Basketball||Pabellón Fuente San Luis||1986||9,000|
|Ros Casares Valencia||Liga Femenina||Basketball||Pabellón Fuente San Luis||1996||9,000|
|Valencia FS||Tercera División||Futsal||San Isidro||1983||500|
|Les Abelles||División de Honor B||Rugby Union||Polideportivo Quatre carreres||1971||500|
|CAU Rugby Valencia||División de Honor B||Rugby Union||Campo del Río Turia||1973||2,000|
Valencia is also internationally famous for its football club, Valencia C.F., which won the Spanish league in 2002 and 2004 (the year it also won the UEFA Cup), for a total of six times, and was a UEFA Champions League runner-up in 2000 and 2001. The team's stadium is the Mestalla; its city rival Levante UD also plays in the highest division after gaining promotion two years ago, their stadium is Estadi Ciutat de València. From the year 2011 there has been a third team in the city, Huracán Valencia, who play their games in Municipal de Manises, in the Segunda División B.
Valencia is the only city in Spain with two American football teams in LNFA Serie A, the national first division: Valencia Firebats and Valencia Giants. The Firebats have been national champions three times and have represented Valencia and Spain in the European playoffs since 2005. Both teams share the Jardín del Turia stadium.
Once a year between 2008–2012 the European Formula One Grand Prix took place in the Valencia Street Circuit. Valencia is among with Barcelona, Porto and Monte Carlo the only European cities ever to host Formula One World Championship Grands Prix on public roads in the middle of cities. The final race in 2012 European Grand Prix saw an extremely popular winner, since home driver Fernando Alonso won for Ferrari in spite of starting halfway down the field. The Valencian Community motorcycle Grand Prix (Gran Premi de la Comunitat Valenciana de motociclisme) is part of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing season at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo (also known as Circuit de Valencia). Periodically the Spanish round of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters touring car racing Championship (DTM) is held in Valencia.
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