The Plaza de la Virgen sits on the site that once was the forum of Roman Valencia. It is located just north of the larger Plaza de la Reina and is surrounded by impressive buildings and home to lots of pigeons.
You can't miss the impressive Nuestra Senora de los Desamparados on the eastern side of the square, and on the western side is the Gothic Palau de la Generalitat, the seat of government for the Valencia region.
Also in the square there are some cafes with plenty of outside seating for the obligatory people watching.
In the centre of the square is a fabulous fountain which apparently represents the irrigation of the Rio Turia. It also appears to be very popular with those pigeons.
We sat at the edge of the fountain for a while and watched kids chase the pigeons, enjoying the sense of community in the square.
The cathedral was built mainly between the XIII and the XV centuries, but its construction went on for many centuries. It was built on the site of a mosque. This was previously a Visigoth cathedral and at the very beginning a Roman temple. This large church has three doors; one Romanesque, another Gothic and another one Baroque.
One of the highlight of the cathedral is the Holy Grail. This is said to be the chalice used during the last supper by Jesus Christ.
The cathedral is joined by a bridge with another church; the iglesia de los Desamparados. It is a circular church that houses the statue of one of the two patron saints of Valencia. The other is S. Vincente.
This museum is housed inside the Colegio de San Pio V. This building was constructed between 1683 and 1744 for the formation of priests. Through the years it was used as military academy, military storehouse and a military hospital. Here you can see a very large collection of paintings. There are masterpieces of Primitive Valencians (painters from the end of 14th century until the beginning of 16th century). There are also paintings made in more recent years. This museum has sculptures and archaeological finds as well.
Plaza del Ayuntamiento is a large square in the heart of Valencia. It is a popular meeting place for locals and is was bustling day and night when we were there.
One part of the square is home to a flower market, with many stalls competing with their colourful bouquets. There is also a fountain which stops and starts at intervals - make sure you are not standing too close on a windy day.
Surrounding the square are some magnificent buildings. One of these is the impressive City Hall, which has a tall facade with a tower in the centre and two cupolas at either end. On the other side of the square is the city's grand Post Office. This has an unusual tower like structure on the centre top, and also has domes at either end.
The square is home to numerous shops and cafes, and several bus routes also pass through here.
All that remains of Valencia's old city walls are two twin-towered stone gates, the Torres de Serranos & Torres de Quart
The 14th century Torres de Serranos was once the main exit from the city to the north (and to Barcelona), and stands by the empty riverbed of the Rio Turia. If you continue north of Plaza de la Virgen you will soon stumble across it.
The 15th century Torres de Quart is located to the west, at the end of Calle Quart, facing towards Madrid. The tower suffered heavy damage in the 19th century from bombing by Napoleon's troops.
The Torres de Serranos is free to visit, open morning and late afternoon.
It is really worth to visit the Palacio del Marquès de dos Aguas. It dates from the 15th century and was rebuilt in 1740. Probably it is well known for its huge alabaster main door. Here you can visit a ceramic museum with a collection of pieces from prehistoric times to modern works. On the first floor you can see a large ball room, a dining room and lots of other rooms. This was the dwelling of the Marquès dos Aguas.
One of the highlights of this museum is a reconstructed typical Valencian kitchen made entirely of decorated tiles.
The name of this museum is; Museo Nacional de Ceramica y de las Artes Suntuarias Gonzalès Marti.
Estacion del Norte, or North Station, is the main train station in Valencia for inter-city travel. Opened in 1917, it has been called a 'masterpiece of Valencian Modernism'.
I found the front of the station quite unusual - the creamy facade makes it look very clean and un-station-like. Above the clock there is an eagle with its wings spread, sitting on a globe. This is supposed to symbolise speed.
Make sure you stick you head into the ticket hall. It is decorated with ceramic mosaics and murals and is pretty impressive.
I think the highlight of our trip to Valencia was a visit to the City of Arts & Sciences. This is an extensive complex - a cultural & leisure centre which consists of spectacular looking white buildings surrounded by large pools of turquoise water.
The centres attractions are based around 3 themes - art, science & nature.
The Hemisferic is home to a planetarium and an IMAX cinema. The shape of this building is like a half eye and its reflection in the pool beside it completes the second half of the eye - bizarre!
Next there is the Museo de las Ciencias Principe (Science museum), which is the largest interactive museum in Europe.
L'Umbracle is located on the terrace area above the other attractions. It is an unusual arched structure that covers a garden lined with palm trees and is home to over 50 species of plants from the region.
The highlight is L'Oceanografic, which is a large marine park - the largest of its kind in Europe. It is home to around 500 different species. Although we didn’t have the time to go inside the aquarium complex, the fabulous exterior design is well worth a look.
Still under construction when we visited is the Palau de les Arts, which will focus on promoting music and theatre.
Walk up the 207 steps of the Micalet Tower alongside the cathederal and enjoy stunning views from the top. It is a long way up but well worth it.
At the top of the tower is the huge bell and if you are there at midday as we were mind your ears!!!
'La Lonja de la Seda of Valencia' that is how
this building appears on the UNESCO list.
It took more then 50 years to build and was
finally finished in 1533.
It is an amazing piece of late gothic
architecture and has always been used
as a center of trade. It's original function
was a silk exchange. Enjoy the spiral-shaped
columns on the inside and don't forget to
have a closer look at the decorations round
the door and the gargoyles.
The Plaza del Mercado is located west of Plaza de la Reina, and is home to 3 buildings of interest, all constructed in different eras.
The Lonja is a Gothic hall that was built by the city's silk merchants back in the 15th century. If you get the chance stick your head in and check out the silk hall.
Also in the square is the vast Iglesia de los Santos Juanes, which has a small Baroque tower.
Last but not least is the fabulous Mercado Central, built in 1928. It is an huge glass and metal structure that is home to a daily food market. The colourful market is a must see! (more details under my 'Shopping Tips')
This garden was already founded in 1567.
It was parth of the university and meant to
study medicinal plants.
In 1802 the garden found it's present location
and in 1991 the whole garden got restored.
You enter the garden from the street 'quart' ,
via a modern building. The nice thing is that
the building is build round a tree. Have a closer
look how they managed to keep the tree.
The garden is very nice and a lot of school kids
and elderly enjoy it a lot. They got a great
colletion of palm trees. A big area with cactuses.
Also very enjoyable I found the little greenhouse
with carnivore plants.
You are only allowed to pic nic in the area at
the entrance where you can find chairs and
machines with soft drinks. But we only found
out after finishing the food we bought at the
The garden is full of shade and therefor maybe
very pleasent to spend the Siesta at.
The price is very low : 60 eurocent and I think
cats get in for free.
A very curious and remarcable place.
It is completely round with a fountain in the middle.
The buildings are from the 19th century but the place itself was for a long time a place
of trade. Long time ago it was a fish market.
Now you can find in the permatnent stalls
material for sewing and embroidery works.
All really really old fashioned.
Even the shops in the surroundings are from
another era. One is selling uniforms for
different occupations. The windows shops
hasn't been changed for decades I think.
'On sundays' this square becomes the
vivid center of town. The permanent shops
are closed and there is a bird market.
What I found remarcable was that also
people came to sell one or two birds they had
been, breeding themselves.
'at night' sad but true it is the home of
the homeless people.
L'oceanogràfic is an amazing marine park and
the largest of it's kind in Europe.
The price is quit high : 20,50 euro (11/2004)
and I believe it can get very crowded in high season.
Among it's most spectacular inhabitants are
the ocean sunfish , Belugas and sharks.
The architecture is very modern and is a
parth of the 'Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias'.
The amazing new and modern parth of Valencia.
Most tanks are under ground level. 7 pavilions
a symbol for 7 different habitats bring you from
one tank to another.
Not to be missed if you ask me.
A real eye-catcher is this building by 'santiago
Calatrava'. The building is best enjoyed when
it is dark. Only then the lighting shows that
it is a giant eye.
The 'eye' contains a large format cinema -
over a 900 square meters screen.
Inside there are 310 seat and you can
buy a combined ticket with the marine parc
and the science museum..and then it is quit cheap.
We didn't went , we did not feel like a movie
'father chrismas' yet. ;-)
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