Oh, wonderful Valencia! If you want to treat yourself to a beautiful, interesting and historic place – try Valencia!
Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city of Spain. Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC, by the consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus, it was then called Valentia Edetanorum. In 711 the Muslims introduced their language, religion and customs when they occupied the city. And in 1238 the Christian King James I of Aragon reconquered the city and it became a part of the Kingdom of Valencia. For two short periods, Valencia has been capital of Spain. There is a lot of interesting history to this city as it has been politically and culturally rearranged several tmes, and we will get into bits and piece of it in the posts to follow.
Valencia’s historic center is one of the largest in Spain, and it holds a vast heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions, and this is why it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain.
The traditional Spanish dish, Paella, is said to originate in Valencia. Whoever it was that first thought of making Paella, I am forever grateful – because it is mm-mm-good! Talking about food, why don’t we start at the Central Market:
Mercado Central is a public market and a popular location for tourists and locals alike. Most vendors sell food items, although souvenirs are also found. You can spend hours in here just looking at the fantastic displays of foods – fresh, smoked, cured – some weird and interesting, others just plain yummy. The vendors are often giving you samples so you get the chance of trying something new. I might be weird, but I could spend all day at this great market, then again – eating and preparing food is one of my passions.
The Mercado Central is situated on a spot that was inaugurated in 1839 as an open-air marketplace called Mercat Nou. The city of Valencia sponsored a contest for the construction of a new roofed market in 1910. The present Art Nouveau design was chosen, a design by Alejandro Sole March and Francisco Guardia Vial, who trained at the School of Architecture of Barcelona. Construction began in 1914 and was fully completed in 1928.
The area around the Mercado Central is jam-packed with restaurants, perfect for lunching on some super good Tapas and perhaps some vino tinto? I bet you are craving some yummy foods after spending some time surrounded by all these goodies in the market.