Valencia, Spain – A Walk

Valencia is a walkable city.

Spanning across the city with nine kilometres of green space – from Cabecera Park to the neo-futuristic City of Arts and Sciences – is Jardin del Turia. The garden was built on the former riverbed of the River Turia, which after a devastating flood on October 14th,1957 , was diverted south of the city, before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea. A new urban park was born, lined with fountains, footpaths, playgrounds, art spaces and bicycle lanes. It is one of the largest urban parks in Spain.

Eighteen bridges connect both banks of the Turia.

Some historical, some by modern design.

While we were there, in late October, these trees with pink flowers were blooming all over the garden.

Upon research, they were the Floss Silk Trees from South America.

After our breakfast at the Horchateria, We took a short walk through the garden to the Cathedral.

Built between the 13th and the 15th century, the Cathedral of Valencia was primarily of Gothic style.

Over the history, other architecture styles were added, e.g. the Baroque-style main entrance – the Door of the Irons

whose concave shape was further distorted due to the demolition of adjecent buildings during the 20th century to expand the square.

I visited the Cathedral on two occasions. First during the Sunday Mass when the Chapel of the Holy Chalice was the only chapel accepting visitors.

Crafted in the first centrury AD, the cup, made of veined sardonyx agate, was believed by many to be the true Holy Grail, used by Jesus at the Last Super. The charlis was given by king Alfonso V of Aragon to the Cathedral (in 1437) , where it’s been venerated since.

Second time I visited, the cathedral was open for visitors. This time, I was able to admire the Renaissance frescoes of the main altar. They were only discovered ten years ago by removing the Baroque vault that covered them.

The paintings were commissioned by Cardinal Rodrigo de Borja, the future Pope Alexander VI, to the Italian artists Paolo da San Leocadio and Francesco Pagano, who began the work in 1476. They represent twelve angels playing musical instruments. It is one of the most important pictorial works of the first Spanish Renaissance.

There are also two paintings worth noting by Francisco Goya in the San Francesco Chapel.

Including one portraying Saint Francis Borgia helping a dying impenitent. The corpse was originally naked but after Goya’s death, a sheet was painted over it.

I also climbed the 207 steps to the top of the Miguelete tower, with panoramic views of the city.

Exiting the Cathedral, we strolled to the hip Ruzafa district for our lunch reservation at the Zalamero Coqueria.

There, we had Prawn croquette with black garlic aioli, Cuttlefish patty with green pea sauce and pistachios (our favourite), and two of their specialty Cocas – these are the bread like pastry typically consumed in Catalonia. We ordered Duck liver with caramelised onions and balsamic vinegar; and Iberico sausage with pine nuts. Each, although savory had a sweet element to it. I liked that.

After lunch we resumed our walk, passing the Neo-classic Bull Ring

Plaza de Toros de Valencia was inaugurated on June 20, 1859, drawing inspiration from the Colosseum in Rome or the Arena of Nîmes in France.

And the beautiful Valencian Art Nouveau style Estación del Norte

Back to the old town, where we meandered

towards the Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir.

Considered to be Valencia’s Sistine Chapel, the church of Saint Nicholas was built Gothic style

but recoated with Baroque decoration and fresco paintings of scenes of the life of San Nicolás de Bari (Saint Nicholas) and San Pedro Mártir (Saint Peter Martyr), designed by Antonio Palomino and painted by Dionis Vidal.

The frescos were distributed among the six lunettes above the side chapels: the life of Saint Peter Martyr in the Gospel(left) side and the life of Saint Nicholas in the Epistle(right) side.

All the scenes are accompanied by texts of the Holy Scipture and escorted by angels.

Having been restored to its splendor in 2016, the church is currently one of the fine examples of coexistent gothic architecture and baroque decoration.

The visit costed €8, including a detailed audio guide as well as a free audio guide to the UNESCO World Heritage Silk Exchange – more on that later.

Coming up next: Valencia, Spain – L’Oceanogràfic

17 thoughts on “Valencia, Spain – A Walk

  1. Beautiful photos. I especially enjoyed the picture with the paintings on the side of each floor on the outside of building. Such a clever idea. Amazing the churches that were built so long ago all over Europe, America, the world. I don’t think churches of that magnitude are being built these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I only had a brief time in Valencia, so I could only see the cathedral (which was gorgeous), along with the Old Town. Looks like you saw a lot more, and those croquettes really look enticing! Can’t wait to see your next adventure post of Valencia. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So many reasons to visit Valencia in this post (the urban park alone sold me). I appreciate your attention to detail with the architecture and art. You have a good understanding of the Renaissance-era elements.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks amazing. Vic had to set reality in my head. Adulting stinks. Our new place is great but expenses are higher and I can’t plan as many trips. Well, I can but they’re mostly local and usually in winter because that’s when no one wants to travel in the NE. Thanks for letting me live through you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Off-peak times may not be too bad. You get to experience places without the crowd. I am writing a post about our hike this past weekend near Sintra-Cascais. It was so beautiful. You can use it for your trip when you come back. Stay tuned!

      Liked by 1 person

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