Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, has it all. It is the birthplace of traditional Spanish rice dish called paella, world-class porcelain craftsmanship called Lladró, Valencia oranges – that are widely distributed in markets and supermarkets in Europe -, and the only city in the country with a touch of modernism, thanks to The City of Arts and Sciences.
Moreover, my search results of Valencia from Google Images doesn’t lie. Thanks to this, I’ve learned the new way to choose a destination. Say, you search a city and what Google Images shows is one historical building or even just a particular beach in different angles and nada mas. What does it imply? Those places are the only thing the city offers to the world, most probably that’s all it has. In short, nothing much to see.
How about Valencia? Hundreds of pictures, taken by both amateurs and professionals, imply numerous buildings with astounding architecture and various city landscape from different angles. That’s the kind of place I wanna go!
Let’s begin with a closer look at the details of the buildings. Turn to your right, left, or just right in front of you, or even take a last look behind you before you continue walking. Don’t forget to look up and down as well. Valencia is rich in carvings and colours everywhere you go, so make sure you don’t miss this part although you claim yourself you’re not an art freak! Ready?
Built in 13th century, Valencia Cathedral underwent some transformations and restorations through the ages. My favourite part of the huge cathedral transformation lies on the lavish Baroque main entrance, which was only created about 500 years after its establishment, in 18th century. Did you notice that both wings of the façade look like a big hug? It never let you, pilgrimage and tourists around the world leave the site.
The best part of Valencia Cathedral interior is the altar and its surroundings, decorated with exquisite gold ornaments and original paintings from Spanish masters (not to mention the blue ceiling and gold carvings on the ribs). It is best to embrace it as a whole, in my opinion, rather than focusing on one or two particular works of art.
One of the significant influences of the Arab world in Spain is the application of tiles in architecture, interior and also to mark the name of the district and commemoration of prominent events in local history.
Originally the home of Marquis de Dos Aguas, a noble and wealthy merchant in Valencia, the palace now houses precious collections of Spanish and foreign ceramics that belong to a dedicated ceramic collector named González Martí. That’s how the museum gets its name, González Martí National Museum of Ceramics and Sumptuary Arts (Museo Nacional de Cerámica y Artes Suntuarias González Martí).
Unless you have time to visit the museum, fear not. The Rococo style palace is already an open air museum, especially the exquisite entrance gate made of alabaster stone by Ignacio Vergara.
A closer look at the Virgin Mary sculpture. See what I mean?
Still from the same palace, wish I had this kind of window…..
Valencia is not only about churches, it has a synagogue as well. Nice colours, right?
Banco de Valencia. Probably the most beautiful bank I’ve ever seen! Does it look like a legendary five-star hotel?
A tiny sculpture from Torres de Serrano, its real position is facing down on top of the gate arch.
Another sculpture of Torres de Serrano with the same real position as the pilgrimage and his cross above: facing down on top of the arch. Somehow the lion reminds me of the wise Aslan of Narnia. I hope I’m right about it, and he’s not trying to bully the boy and make him his lunch later on!
A ticket counter at North Station. Again, another application of tiles in Spanish design. The bluish interior made of tiles refreshes my sight.
“Fashion makes me uncomfortable”. I’m not sure what’s behind the rolling door, but I guess it’s a vintage fashion store, with a provocative statement to grab public attention.
“Marenga Unisex Hair Salon, Beauty”. Wall-paintings are simply everywhere no matter how simple it looks like.
Probably not the most famous architecture in the city, but I love this in particular. I think it does look like an Art Nouveau-inspired façade. Take a look at the stone-carved balcony, tree-shaped top pillars and flower paintings separating each window apart.
Unless you notice there’s a modern part of Valencia, that means you simply haven’t seen it all. The City of Arts and Sciences is something you can’t offer to miss. It’s not as elaborated as Rococo, Baroque, Renaissance and all that stuff, but there’s a way to appreciate modern art. Think about bone structures, ribs of prehistoric animals turned into art d’oeuvre.
That’s not it! Everything I saw in the city is not enough to show in one post. There will be more to explore in my upcoming post. So, stay tuned!