Valencia Travel Guide
Valencia gave us Paella – a simmered rice dish that originated here centuries ago, in the heyday of the Moors, and is now enjoyed in virtually every corner of the world. It also gave us the City of Arts and Sciences – Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Basque – a monumental, avant-garde cultural and architectural complex, bursting forth with such futuristic manifestations as L'Hemisfiric, L'Umbracle, L'Oceanografic, and a whale-inspired building housing El Museu de les Ciències Principe Felipe. The eye-popping complex is actually a relatively new addition to the city, inaugurated only in 1998, and yet one of the main reasons to come to Valencia. The city itself is vibrant and happening, with colorful markets and a lively night scene, and celebrations that fairly bring down the house.
Valencia is situated in the Levante province on the east coast of Spain, approximately 182 miles (293 km) south of Barcelona, and is linked to Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla by high-speed train.
Valencia has other draws, besides its City of Arts and Sciences. Priorities among these are Barrio del Carmen, the city's oldest neighborhood, with narrow, winding streets and a smattering of bars and clubs, and the crowded Plaza del Ayuntamiento which forms the core of the city and is saturated with cafés and restaurants. And then there are the Gothic-Baroque-Romanesque Valencia Catedral, the palatial 20th-century Estación del Norte (North Station), the Turia Riverbed Gardens, La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange Market), and Mercado Central (Central Market), which is one of the largest and oldest continuously-operating markets in Europe. The city's principal festivals are Las Fallas, a colorful, five-day celebration in March, and Feria de Julio. In 2007, Valencia also became the first European city to host the America's Cup, the world's preeminent yacht race.
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