Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with around 809,000 inhabitants in the administrative centre. Valencia is also Spain's third largest metropolitan area, with a population ranging from 1.7 to 2.3 million. The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the largest on the Mediterranean Sea. Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with approximately 169 acres; this heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. Major monuments include Valencia Cathedral, the Torres de Serranos, the Torres de Quart, the Llotja de la Seda and the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. The Museu de Belles Arts de València houses a large collection of paintings from the 14th to the 18th centuries, including works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya, as well as an important series of engravings by Piranesi. The Institut Valencià d'Art Modern houses both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and photography. Valencia is integrated into an industrial area on the Costa del Azahar. Valencia's main festival is the Falles. The traditional Spanish dish, paella, originated in Valencia.
The Falles is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph in Valencia, Spain. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments created during the celebration. A number of towns in the Valencian Community have similar celebrations inspired by the original in Valencia. Each neighbourhood of the city has an organized group of people, the Casal faller, that works all year long holding fundraising parties and dinners, usually featuring the famous specialty paella. Each casal faller produces a construction known as a falla which is eventually burnt. A casal faller is also known as a comissió fallera. The name of the festival is thus the plural of the Valencian word falla. The five days and nights of Falles are a continuous party. There are a multitude of processions: historical processions, religious processions, and comedic processions. Crowds in the restaurants spill out into the streets. Explosions can be heard all day long and sporadically through the night. Foreigners may be surprised to see everyone from small children to elderly gentlemen throwing fireworks and noisemakers in the streets, which are littered with pyrotechnical debris. The timing of the events is fixed and they fall on the same date every year, though there has been discussion about holding some events on the weekend preceding the Fallas, in order to take greater advantage of the tourist potential of the festival or changing the end date of the festival in years where it is due to occur in midweek.
photo by lucky
edited by mobydick74
Added by Lucky