Decorated with a symmetrical grid of orange trees, the Plaza del Patriarca is home to a couple of Valencia’s most historic buildings: the Real Colegio Seminario del Corpus Christi and La Nau, both of which date from the 15th century.
The neighborhood of El Carmen takes its name from the massive, ancient convent around which it was built. Today, the monks are long gone, but the Convento del Carmen has found a renewed purpose as one of the city’s premiere cultural spaces.
Valencia doesn’t get a lot of time to recover from Fallas before the next big holiday rears its pointy head. Easter Week is celebrated throughout the city, but the main events happen in the city’s beachfront districts. The Semana Santa Marinera fills the streets of Cabanyal with processions, Jesus statues, flying flowers, marching bands, and brotherhoods in scary hoods.
Considering the sheer size of Fallas, and the length of time over which it extends, it’s not too surprising that we snapped far more photographs of the festival than we could ever hope to publish. But here are some additional pictures which didn’t quite fit into our other posts.
One of the most important events of Fallas is la Ofrenda, when tens of thousands of traditionally-clad falleros and falleras converge on Valencia, bearing flowers for the massive wooden figure of Our Lady of the Forsaken in the Plaza de la Virgen.
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.
Who doesn’t love fireworks? The color, the sound, the visual spectacle? Of course, we can all agree that they’re wonderful. But, who still loves fireworks minus the color and the visual spectacle, leaving only the sound? Hmmm, not many of you have kept your hands up… just a bunch of maniacs wearing blue and white handkerchiefs. Let me guess: you’re the Valencians.
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.