5 Things You Didn’t Know About Valencia

Valencia is a city I didn’t know much about before arriving. But on the free city walking tour, I learned heaps (as usual) and here are some of the quirky things I found most memorable. How many did you know? Let me know in the comments!

  1. Women, devil, & dog statue in trading market – a symbol

This engraving depicts a woman holding a dog, and a devil with a pair of bellows literally blowing air into the backside of the dog. He is making the dog bigger by inflating him; the woman has done a deal with the devil to make her ‘product’ bigger, to make it look like it has more value than it actually has. This is now known as a symbol for “be honest and fair in trading” and this is in an arch below what used to be the central trading centre. So, if you see this symbol around, you are probably near to a place of trade (and remember to be honest and fair!)

Women, devil & dog Identity K

2. Dry river… or lush park

Running through Valencia is a DRY river. Long ago, the river burst its banks in a huge flood, causing a lot of damage, along with several big floods after that. The city decided to build a dam and re-route the river to protect the city. They drained the surface layer, leaving water underneath, and planted a park with luscious trees that are able to thrive in Valencia’s dry climate because of the water underneath the surface. The river is now a park, but the bridges over it still remain as roads, and people use the green space for exercising and other activities.

Dry River Valencia Identity K

3. “Dormir a la luna de Valencia”

The city used to close its gates at 8 o’clock every night, so anyone outside of the walls would have to make sure they were back by then. Bells would be rung at the gates to give warning and let people know they should come back home. If people didn’t make it in time, they would have to sleep outside the city walls under the moon, and there was a common saying for this: ‘dormir a la luna de Valencia’ (to sleep under the Valencian moon). Nowadays the saying is still used but has taken on another meaning and used between friends as Hurry Up!

City Gate Valencia Identity K

4. Oranges and Agua de Valencia

The drink of the city is called Agua de Valencia – a cocktail made up of gin, vodka, cointreau, cava and orange juice. It is FABULOUS! And, of course, Valencia is a city of oranges, so all juice is incredibly fresh and ripe.

Agua de Valencia Identity K

5. Narrowest building in Europe…?

Valencia held this title until 2013, when its narrowest house – just 107m – had one wall knocked through to join the building next door and become a BnB. Amsterdam already had the narrowest façade of a building, with just 101m on the street, but the building inside was bigger. Why build a small façade? Because space on the street was how taxes were calculated. Now Amsterdam is the narrowest in total but Valencia did get in the Guiness Book of World Records!

 

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