The city of Valencia is packed with history and growing all the time. With a contrasting and complementary mix of modern and historical architecture, Valencia – once the cultural capital of the Mediterranean in the fifteenth century – has earned its popularity with modern tourists.
On my regular journeys to and from Valencia airport my head is often turned by the architecture in the city. The classical edifices and the eye catching avant garde buildings are what make the city of Valencia so special. But it’s mostly the older buildings that I want to talk about this time.
The Basilica of the Virgin
Having dropped a passenger at their hotel around Barrio del Carmen, I found myself once again near the Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados. I’ve mentioned this before, but it is an important tourist attraction that deserves more attention.
With the Cathedral next to it, the flagstones of the plaza in front have been polished smooth by centuries of visitors. They come to see the ornate and impressive golden statue of the Virgin, but it is the painted ceiling that seems to capture their imagination. It depicts a route through the clouds that angels take into heaven, and is so cleverly done that it exaggerates the depth of the dome. It’s a trick of perspective that my Valencia shuttle passengers continue to mention on their journey from the city back to Valencia airport.
Puerto de Valencia
From the old town to the new. The port area has been a focus of redevelopment and has become more famous since the construction of the Formula One Street Circuit here. When I drive down here I have to suppress the urge to go a little faster, imagining that my shuttle is in the European Grand Prix. I drop passengers at the Port of Valencia for the nightlife and sometimes for the cruise ships. This is where the giant white liners set off on tours of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Some cruise to several ports in Italy, Portugal and France taking several weeks, while others shuttle from Valencia to Barcelona or the nearby islands of Menorca and Ibiza before returning to Valencia city just a few nights later. It must be a wonderful way to see the Spanish islands.
The Palace of Music
And to finish, a newer building that looks like it could be old. The Palace of Music was built in the 1980s in the Jardines de Turia area, just ten minutes from Valencia Airport.
It consists of a curved glass arcade encased within tall stone columns. Used as a concert hall, an art gallery and a giant greenhouse, it has grace and grandeur, but it is a building of special character, too. At night time, it looks almost like a different place with its colourful lighting. And when a concert is playing the rhythms of the water fountains outside are designed somehow to match those of the music emanating from the concert hall. The Palace is a welcome addition to the Valencia city architecture, and has already become a favourite in this great city.