Fallas 2015 is over. And the monuments which, for a few brief days, graced the streets of Valencia have been reduced to ash and smoke. But we’ll always have the pictures! Here are the monuments which made up the bottom half of this year’s sección especial, as voted on by the judges. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t great — some of these were among our favorites.
During Fallas, approximately 600 monuments are constructed around the city, but the best are in a category called the Sección Especial. In 2015, we visited all twelve monuments in the top section. Considering how much time and effort the artists put into them, it seemed like the least we could do. Here are the top six, in order of how they finished in the official competition.
Early on the morning of March 15th, before the sun has even appeared in the sky, the artists of Valencia are hard at work. This is the day of La Plantà, when hundreds of fallas monuments are erected throughout the city.
Among the first events on the Fallas program is the Cant de l’Estoreta, when the history of the festival is presented to the public. But whom should be entrusted with so solemn a task? Why, little kids, of course!
As one of the major cities of the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise that Valencia has had a tumultuous history. From the Rule of the Romans to the Reign of the Rita, this city has experienced a lot. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the major events which have shaped Valencia throughout the years.
The plantà on March 15th seems like a magical occurrence. Just as on Christmas morning, when children come downstairs to find presents under their tree, Valencians come onto the streets to find gigantic monuments erected all about their city. We visited the Ciutat Fallera, where a community of artists work as hard as elves, all year round, creating the monuments of Fallas.
Before they’re placed within their Falla, the best ninots from every Fallas commission are displayed in the annual Exposición del Ninot at the Museum of Science. Like so much at Fallas, this is a competition… and from the ninot’s point of view, the prize is of utmost importance. The best one, as chosen by the general public, will be spared the flames of the Cremà.
The unofficial sport of Valencia is pilota, a type of handball played in long halls known as trinquets. This fast-moving game is like a mix between volleyball and tennis, but looks a lot more painful than either of those.
Every year, regular life in Valencia comes to a screeching halt, as the city gives itself over to Fallas: a spectacular celebration of art, light, noise and fire that runs from the end of February to March 19th. It’s a festival unlike any other, and comprises so many different elements that we felt a concise explanation might in order. What is Fallas, exactly?
By far the biggest cities in Spain are Madrid and Barcelona: they dominate the country’s media, culture, tourism and (especially) sports. But what comes next? What’s the Chicago, to Spain’s New York and Los Angeles? That, my friends, would be Valencia.