Estancia del Nord
We spent two days in Valencia in the Zenit Hotel on the edge of the Barrio del Carmen and across from the Estacio del Nord (north train station). The train station is considered a jewel of the city. It was built between 1906 and 1917 in the Moderniste style which on the exterior boasts high relief sculptures of flowers and fruits and an interior ablaze with mosaics decorating every square foot. The wrought iron canopy of the train platforms finishes the feast. We didn't arrive at this station but at the high speed train station a few blocks away. We spent the remainder of our 2 days on foot admiring the mixed architecture of Roman, Medieval, Moderniste, Gothic and contemporary buildings. We spent time in 5 of them.
The Valencia Cathedra
The Valencia Cathedral is believed to sit on the site of a former mosque. This is true of many buildings in Valencia that were either razed or converted when the Moors were defeated and driven from the city. Many aspects of the Valencian architecture give a nod to Moorish design. Like many structures that have existed through millineum, the cathedral is a mixture of Romanesque, Baroque Renaissance and Neo-Classical but predominantly Gothic. There is a beautiful octagonal tower of white stone at the Transcept. And the Vatican claims the Holy Grail is here. I can attest to that. I saw it. Tell Monty Python they can stop the quest.
The Central Market
On Sunday we strolled through the Central Market, the one of the oldest and largest in Europe. The building is art nouveau with stained glass and mosaics. But the food! The food! There are over 1000 stalls each specializing in seasonal produce, fish, meats, cheeses.
Across from the market is la Lonja, the 15th century silk exchange. It is one of the best examples of Gothic civil architecture in Europe. There are the most amusing high reliefs sculpted into door arches and on columns. Pictures on flickr will include a dragon breast feeding from an angle. A woman collecting excrement from two men, a devil using a bellow to blow up an animals anus. Boy! Those silk merchants were rascals.
In the 1957 the Turia river flooded in Valencia causing significant damage and killing 81 people. In response, the river was rerouted south of the city, and a greenway created in its place. At the end of the greenway and the edge of the Mediterranean is the City of Arts and Sciences. This complex houses a planetarium, an interactive museum of science, an opera house, and the Oceanographic center. All the buildings are impressive glass and steel structures. We visited the Oceanographic park where each building represented different aquatic environments. Most of the display is underground with a setting that seems more naturalistic.
Tuesday in Valencia at flickr.