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The Region of Valencia dates back 2,000 years.

Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 B.C. as a retirement paradise for former Legionnaires. Ever since, it has become a favorite haven for sun-worshippers from all over the continent. Today the region is known for its year-round near perfect climate, some of Spain’s finest white sand beaches like in Benidorm, Alicante and Denia, castles, exciting outdoor activities, including mountains, caves and wild-life sanctuaries such as La Albufera, a vivacious nightlife, spectacular fiestas like the famed Las Fallas, artistic ceramics like the famed Lladro, great traditional and avant-garde cuisine and a phenomenal, futuristic architecture.

Actually, archeologists have traced its history back to 100,000 B.C. In every corner of this picturesque region, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a rich past. You’ll be able to explore Greek, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Jewish and Moorish history, often right in the same location. Take the town of Sagunto, for example, where you’ll find one of the best preserved Roman theaters in Europe. It’s hard to believe that this sleepy little town was one of the most important cities in Iberia. This was before Hannibal, after an eight month siege laid it to waste. Now it has become one of Valencia’s great places to see.

After the Romans were driven from its shores, the region was conquered by the Moors. Then it was briefly re-conquered by El Cid in 1096, and recaptured by the Moors again. In 1238 it was finally captured by King Jaime I, known as James the Conqueror, and absorbed into the kingdom of Aragon. Valencia’s golden age reached its height during the 15th and 16th centuries, when it became the most important trading center in the western Mediterranean.

The moment you pass through Valencia’s Torres de Serranos, the magnificent medieval gateway, you’ll find yourself in one of the most modern, innovative cities in the world. At the same time, it’s one of Spain’s oldest historic cities. Everywhere you look, you’ll see a seamless blending of the Medieval into a brave, new, future world.

An example of this is the Cathedral of Valencia. In this one unique building, originally built in 1262, you’ll find distinct examples of Spain’s three great architectural styles in its three portals. The oldest is the Romanesque Puerta del Palau, the main entrance. The Puerta de los Hierros is Baroque. And the Gothic Puerta de los Apostoles. From the grotesque gargoyles of La Lonja, the exquisite Gothic Silk Exchange, to the fluid avant-garde architecture of Valencia’s own genius, Santiago Calatrava.

You’ll discover a range of styles that can only be found in the city which has become known as The First City of the New Millennium.


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