The Catedral de València, The Plaza de la Virgen, The Almoina Archaeological Centre, The Crypt of San Vicente The Martyr and The Real Basílica De Nuestra Señora De Los Desamparados
The Plaza de la Virgen is a square that dates back to Roman times and is home to the emblematic buildings of the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados. It is also home to the exquisite fountain by the sculptor Silvestre Edeta that depicts Neptune surrounded by eight naked women. In the evenings the square is a lively and atmospheric place and day or night a perfect place to sit and people watch. The Plaza de la Virgen has several restaurants with outside terraces so a perfect place for lunch or dinner sitting in the surroundings of the most beautiful buildings. Take time out for a leisurely lunch on one of the terraces before exploring Cathedral Quarter.
The Cathedral Quarter, an area of Valencia that is not only very spiritual but is one of immense beauty with an abundance of history and is a place of celebration for the people of Valencia. The Cathedral, also called the Cathedral of the Holy Chalice, as kept within the church is a chalice that is believed to have been used by Christ during the Last Supper. During the Islamic reign of the country the chalice was hidden in the Pyrenees region with the relic finally being handed to the King of Aragon in 1339. He kept the chalice in the Aljaferia Royal Palace of Saragossa and also in the Royal Palace of Barcelona until in 1410 he died. King Alfonso the Magnanimous handed over the royal reliquary to the Valencia Palace and finally to the Valencia Cathedral in 1437. Built on what was first a Roman Temple and then a Mosque the Cathedral was first consecrated as place of Christian worship on 9 October 1238. The cathedral has been visited by Pope John Paul II and also Pope Benedict XVI, and there have been two Bishops of Valencia who have been named Pope, Pope Callixtus III on the 8th April 1455 and Pope Alexander VI on the 11th August 1492. The Cathedral as well as having a significant history is also a building of architectural beauty and has wonderful art within its chapels including pieces by Francisco Goya and Vicente Macip.
Step back outside to The Plaza de la Virgen ad head over to the The Almoina Archaeological Centre and be led through 2000 years of the cities history. From Roman times to the Islamic and Christian Middle Ages the development of the city is shown through five eras, complete with streets, residental and sacred buildings, public baths, fortifications and burial sites.
Next on the list is the The Crypt of San Vicente The Martyr. Saint Vincent of Saragossa is the Patron Saint of Valencia as well as Lisbon. His feast day is the 22nd January and he was martyred around 304 AD. Situated underneath the Church of San Vicente is a Visigoth chapel that was once used as a prison to hold San Vicente in the days leading up to his martyrdom. The crypt also has many valuable objects on exhibition that show the history of the area including Roman murals, Visigoth alters and Islamic artificacts.
The Real Basílica De Nuestra Señora De Los Desamparados is also a must visit. Dedicated to Our Lady of the Abandoned, she is the patroness of Valencia. Her image is housed in the Basilica and she carries the baby Jesus in one arm and a lily in the other. The Feast of Our Lady of the Abandoned is held on the second Sunday in May each year. Valencians celebrate the feast wth gusto, starting on the eve of the festival in the Plaza de La Virgin with traditional Folk dancing, music and fireworks. On the Sunday morning mass is said in the Plaza followed by a procession where the image of Our Lady of The Abandoned is taken from the Basilica to the Cathedral. The crowds throw rose petals at her during her passage and when she has entered the Cathedral the Mascletà begins. This is a noisy part to the celebrations, getting its name from masclets which are very loud firecrackers that are tied by a wick to form a firework display, they are lit in the hundreds and it is something that remains in your memory forever. In the evening there is a more solemn procession of veneration and the festival finally ends on Monday evening with traditonal music being played in the Plaza de La Virgin.
An afternoon in the Cathedral Quarter will leave you with a real sense of the history of Valencia and is an absolute must in your time in the city.
There are many museums and art galleries in Valencia we have listed a number of them here...