Discovering Valencia City’s History, Myths, and Neighborhoods: A Comprehensive Guide

Valencia City Plaza Ayuntamiento

A Brief History of Valencia City

Valencia City has a long and fascinating history, dating back to the Roman era when it was founded as a colony on the banks of the Turia River. Over the centuries, the city has been ruled by many different civilizations, including the Visigoths, Moors, and Christians. It was during the Islamic period that Valencia reached its cultural and economic peak, becoming a major center for agriculture, crafts, and trade.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Valencia City enjoyed a period of great prosperity, thanks to its booming silk industry and its role as a major port for Mediterranean trade. The city’s historic center, known as Ciutat Vella, is home to many beautiful buildings and landmarks from this period, including the stunning Gothic cathedral and the iconic Torres de Serranos.

Legends and Myths of Valencia City

Valencia City is also steeped in myths and legends, many of which have been passed down through the generations. One of the most famous legends is that of the Holy Grail, which is said to have been brought to Valencia by Saint Peter himself. According to the story, the cup was hidden in a church in Valencia for centuries until it was rediscovered in the 14th century.

Another popular legend is that of the Turia River, which was once a mighty river that flowed through the heart of the city. However, after a devastating flood in 1957, the river was redirected outside the city limits, leaving behind a massive, dry riverbed that has since been transformed into a beautiful park, known as the Turia Gardens.

In addition to the legend of the Holy Grail and the story of the Turia River, another popular myth associated with Valencia City is that of La Luna de Valencia, or the Moon of  Valencia.

According to the legend, La Luna de Valencia is a mysterious and beautiful moon that can only be seen from the city of Valencia on certain nights of the year. It is said to be a magical moon, imbued with special powers and capable of bringing good luck and fortune to those who catch a glimpse of it.

The legend of La Luna de Valencia is believed to date back to the time of the Moors, who ruled the city for centuries. During this period, Valencia was known for its advanced knowledge of astronomy and astrology, and it is thought that the myth of the Valencia Moon may have originated from this era.

Today, the legend of La Luna de Valencia continues to be a source of fascination and intrigue for residents and visitors alike. While some dismiss it as nothing more than a fanciful myth, others believe that there may be some truth to the legend, and that the Valencia Moon may hold the key to unlocking the secrets of the city’s past and its mystical traditions.

Regardless of whether or not La Luna de Valencia is real, the legend adds an element of mystery and magic to Valencia City, and serves as a reminder of the city’s rich cultural heritage and its enduring fascination with the mysteries of the universe.

The Evolution of Valencia City’s Districts

Valencia City has a rich and complex history that has left its mark on the city’s many districts. Some of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods are located in Ciutat Vella, the city’s historic center, which was founded over 2,000 years ago by the Romans. This area is home to many of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Catedral de Valencia (a Gothic Cathedral), the Central Market, and the Torres de Serranos, a set of medieval towers that once formed part of the city’s defensive walls.

Over the centuries, Valencia City continued to expand beyond its original walls, with new neighborhoods and districts being added to accommodate the growing population. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city underwent a period of rapid industrialization and urbanization, leading to the construction of new districts and neighborhoods.

One of the most famous of these districts is Ruzafa, which was built in the late 19th century and was originally home to many of the city’s industrial workers. In the decades that followed, Ruzafa underwent a transformation as the city’s economy shifted away from industry and towards services and tourism. Today, Ruzafa is a trendy and fashionable neighborhood, full of hipster cafes, artisanal shops, and street art.

Another historic district in Valencia City is Extramurs, which was once an independent town outside the city walls. In the 19th century, Extramurs was incorporated into the city, and it has since become known for its beautiful architecture and lively street life. The district is home to many notable landmarks, including the Jardines de Monforte, a lush, 19th-century garden that was once the private retreat of a wealthy noble family.

In the 20th century, Valencia City continued to grow and evolve, with new neighborhoods and districts being built to accommodate the needs of the city’s expanding population. One of the most notable of these districts is Camins al Grau, which was built in the 1960s and is home to the futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences), a complex of stunning, modernist buildings designed by the renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.

Today, Valencia City is a vibrant and diverse place, full of history, culture, and innovation. Its many districts and neighborhoods reflect the city’s complex and multifaceted identity, and each offers a unique glimpse into the rich and fascinating history of this dynamic Mediterranean city.

Valencia City is a vibrant and dynamic place, full of history, legends, and modernity. Its districts have evolved over time, reflecting the changing face of the city and its people. From the ancient streets of Ciutat Vella to the trendy cafes of Ruzafa and the futuristic architecture of Camins al Grau, Valencia City is a city that offers something for everyone.

Postcards from the Road