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The Old Town
Valencia's old part of town is limited by the rails of the tramway, which run where have been the old town-walls until 1865. Most monuments date to the time after the reconquest of Valencia from the Moors, in 1238 by Jaime I.. That was the town's most blooming epoch.
The Cathedral is mainly of early gothic style, though some parts of it were added in later eras. Its three portals are Romanesque, gothic and baroque , respectively. The main chapel, Capilla Mayor, is in baroque style, the two lateral chapels are neoclassic.
The octagonal bell-tower, called Micalet or also Miguelete , is the landmark of the city. From there you have a great view over all Valencia, and Victor Hugo has counted 300 more bell-towers in all the city (to control if this number is right could be a challenge to patient and unstressed visitors ...??)
In the Capitulary you can see the Holy Chalice, of which Jesus Christ and the Apostles are said to have drunk during the Last Supper.
In the Cathedral's Museum are exposed works of Goya, Jacomart, Cellini, Paggibonsi as well as paintings of valencian school of 15th to 17th century.
Close to the catherdral there is the Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados, ("Mare de Deu dels Desemparats") , a church consecrated to the patroness of the city, and the Almudín, a medieval granary that is nowadays used as a museum. In the closeby church Iglesia de San Esteban are said to have been married the daughters of legendary Cid.
Some more interesting buildings in this area of town are the Palace of Almirantes de Aragón, the church San Juan del Hospital and the Convento de Santo Domingo.
Well worth seeing are the three old bridges, Puente del Real, Puente de la Trinidad and Puente de Serranos, the latter with the Torres de Serranos , 15th century towers that have been part of the old town-walls and combine the elegance of a triumphal arch with the solidity of fortifications.
The river Turia actually was deviated around the city after a catastrophal inundation in 1957. The old river-bed today is used by the population for all kinds of sports and leisure-time activities.
The IVAM (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno), located at the river-bed, is one of the leading museums of modern arts in Spain and so a must to visit for everybody interested in this subject.
La Lonja and Surroundings
At Plaza de Manises is located the Palacio de la Generalidad, a 15th century palace that today is used as seat of government. Of high interest are the wall-paintings in its Salon de las Cortes, Salón Dorado and Galería de Retratos de los Reyes de Valencia.
Through the street Calle de Los Caballeros you arrive to the town-gate Torres de Quart, of 1441, and to Plaza del Mercado, the square where is located Valencia's probably best known monument, La Lonja , the old stock-exchange building of 1483.
At its side there are the baroque church Iglesia de los Santos Juanes, with important wall-paintings of Palomino, and the bell-tower Campanil de la Iglesia de Santa Catalina .
Through Calle Torno you arrive to the Palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas, in rococo-style and with a very highly individual portal designed by Hipólito Rovira. The Patriarca College, of 1603, is typical for the austere ambience of religious Renaissance buildings in Spain. Valencia's University and its extraordinary Law Court are of neoclassical style. Another monument of quite recent date is the bridge Nuevo Puente of 1995, nicknamed La Peineta, "side-comb", due to its form.
Barrio del Carmen
This district represents like no one Valencia's way of living, if you don't know it you don't know the city. Here you'll find numerous shops, café-theaters, bars, restaurants, flower-stands, ... it is the center of everyday life and a unique scenery for the visitor.
A walk through this more modern part of town, inhabited mainly by bourgeoisie and officials, may give you an impression of today's Valencia.
"Valencia es la tierra de las flores..", "Valencia is the land of flowers", says an old folk-song, and the parks and gardens of the city demonstrate it in an impressive way. The Jardines de la Alameda and Jardines de Monforte are romantic parks of 18th century. "Real" Gardens , which include also the Zoological Garden, have beautiful cultures of roses and large pine-woods. Inside them you can find the ruins of an old king's palace. The Botanical Garden shows a variety of exotic plants.
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