San Nicolás, the Valencian Sistine Chapel
3 July, 2018 / ,


When the restorer of the Sistine Chapel, Gianluigi Colalucci, contemplated the church of ‘San Nicolás’ in 2014 he could only exclaim: “Long live the Valencian Sistine Chapel!”

St. Nicholas is a 13th-century Gothic church located in the historical centre where Valencia was founded. The city was constituted by the Romans in the year 138 of our era.

Established as a parish in the place where a mosque previously existed, the church of ‘San Nicolás’ stands out for being one of the first 12 Catholic temples, subsequent to the conquest of King Jaime I.

During the fifteenth century, when Alfonso de Borja, rector of ‘San Nicolás’ and future Pope Calixto III, would encourage the enlargement of the apse and the feet of the parish to give it the structure and size maintained nowadays. However, the artistic wonder – that leaves parishioners and tourists who visit it speechless – would take place a few centuries later.

Baroque was imposed on Western culture at the end of the seventeenth century and every parish that appreciated itself had to follow that style. The paintings of St. Nicholas are commissioned by the fashionable artist of the time, Cordovan Antonio Palomino, who is committed to make designs of everything that was going to be painted, as well as to give it theological meaning. Due to Palomino’s overwork, the materialisation of such a work of art would be performed by his disciple, the Valencian Dionís Vidal. Self-portraits of both of them are on the right of the rosette, whose light is filtered reflecting a magical polychrome drawing inside the church. Palomino wears black, while Vidal, in the background, seems to show himself with the attitude of one who seeks the approval of his teacher.

The result: almost 2,000 square metres of stunning fresco painting, between the walls and the whole vault. The paintings of the central vault are divided into six lunettes on each side, North and South, in which the lives of ‘San Pedro Mártir’ and ‘San Nicolás’ are respectively represented. Everything in them is loaded with symbolism and elegance.

Of its architecture we highlight the Main Altar, it is also of Baroque style although more ornate. It was designed by Juan Bautista Pérez Castiel, one of the Cathedral of Valencia’s architects. In the Greater Altar, both Catholic saints are even in their Glory, upon reaching the end of their earthly life.

Return the colour to the darkened

The original paintings in the church of ‘San Nicolás’ were hidden by the passage of the years and, specifically, smoked by centuries of lit candles in honour of the diverse saints and images of the Virgin that lodges the parish.

After several previous restoration attempts, the Valencian institution “Fundación Hortensia Herrero”, at the beginning of this decade, made a commitment to return the original luminosity and colour to this century-old temple.

The restoration works were implemented between 2013 and 2016, in coordination with the Valencian Archbishopric and the specialists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). Thanks to the use of innovative and complex techniques, they managed to recuperate the church of St. Nicholas’ artistic greatness. It also includes the architectural rehabilitation directed by Carlos Campos.

Once this first intervention was finished, the UPV remains in charge of pre-emptive conservation, through the use of sophisticated systems that even measure the environment’s humidity. Scaffolding and closed doors, that travellers can find these days in the facades and in the interior of the building, already correspond to a new stage of this church’s restoration which still holds many treasures to unveil.

The origin of Santa Claus

Perhaps because St. Nicholas is considered one of the Catholic saints protecting children, the life and worship of St. Peter the Martyr is relegated by the devotion that the Valencians profess to ‘San Nicolás’.

But the Valencians are not the only ones who pay homage to St. Nicholas. In this increasingly global world, thanks to which Valencia receives the visit of numerous foreigners, it is sometimes these same guests who better know the life of St. Nicholas, which Palomino and Vidal left expressed in their designs and paintings.

Saint Nicolas is the personality who distributes toys and happiness to many children of the world every year. In the present time, he comes to compete with the prominence of the Wise Men during the Spanish Christmases. As it is called and imagined in a part of the north of Europe, Santa Claus can be recognized in the second of the lunettes dedicated to this saint.

Other images such as that of St. Nicholas resurrecting three children boiled by an innkeeper, the high number of angels dispersed around different places of the church or the little ones placed at the feet of the saints, in the High Altar, attest to the importance given to the coming generations in this church.

The shortest way to happiness
6 July, 2017 / ,

Gastronomy: ‘Del Tros al Plat

Landscape characteristics and the maintenance of the population’s own identity make the Valencian territory a unique and authentic gastronomic destination

Valencian gastronomy is unique in the world, but what makes it authentic -even within the Mediterranean Diet- goes to explain to the traveller the special features they have from our land or sea produce to our table, around which the Valencians demonstrate the importance given to good food and coexistence.

The Valencian is lucky to have coastal mountains, vegetable gardens and dry land that provide a wide range of agricultural products in total turnover such as oil, wine, almond, cherry, turnip, tomato or cereal. The list would be immense if we included all the food that the land off us and we would also leap into the rivers and the sea or to the farms and other places dedicated to animal husbandry. However, the greatest uniqueness of Valencian agro-alimentary products is its quality: the degree of excellence they sustain when they enter the kitchens.

Proximity products

The size of the Valencian territory allows these products to be of proximity and that the link between production and population has been consolidated around a commercialisation system based on honesty. The chain of food distribution today still retains the direct relationship between farmers, fi ermen, merchants, cooks and consumers.

In the case of Valencia, the presence of a powerful supplies market, “Mercavalencia”, carries a very important weight. In it remains a century-old tradition known as the “Tira de Contar”( Count strip): From its beginnings, an institution that is concerned to ensure the food supply, sells the fresh and harvested products directly. Among them stand out fruit, vegetables and those products provided by the fi market and the meat slaughterhouse. Until ‘Mercavalencia’ food arrives from the diff Valencian counties which include, among others, Requena, La Vall d’Albaida, those of L’Horta’ and La Marina.

An extensive network of markets, shops and even supermarkets do the rest. And not forgetting the fundamental role played by the cooks.

Gastronomic Excellence

A high number of cooks who know how to give the sublime touch to their work have come out of the houses’ stoves and the Valencian restaurants. Some have entered to become part and parcel of the, increasingly media outreach, original cuisine.
Others, the majority, maintain the excellence thanks to the care with which they carry out their work and commitment to achieve the memory’s aftertaste of a vital experience in each dish. The experience that you will take as a tourist when you try our gastronomy anywhere.

Because, of course we advise you to enter our restaurants, but if you also have the possibility to share an elevenses (mid-morning snack that the Valencians customarily do, between breakfast and lunch, and diff from the appetiser), or you have the great fortune of being invited by the Valencians to the Sunday paella at home, do not think twice!

“De Tros al Plat” (“from the land or demesne to the plate”, if we translate it from Valencian to English) is an initiative of the Patronat de Turisme which, together with other Valencian public institutions and companies in the tourism sector, has been developed to make the characteristics of our gastronomic culture known. That one, as we have reviewed, includes from the food that nature off us in abundance, its production and commercialisation, up to the contribution of cooks and consumers, that demand an agri-food product of excellence to maintain the Valencian quality of life: unique and authentic as its gastronomy.

Source: València Turisme.

Social theater inside the houses
5 May, 2017 / ,

Cabanyal Intim Festival

Do not miss the opportunity to attend theater in unconventional spaces such as the living room of a house in Cabanyal’s picturesque neighbourhood

The Cabanyal Íntim Festival is a social and cultural project that takes the avant-garde performing arts inside the houses of the Valencian district of Cabanyal. Under the motto “Migraciones” (migrations), it will hold its seventh edition from 18th to 28th May.

For two weeks, the district of Cabanyal at the foot of the Malvarrosa beach, becomes a mandatory event for any tourist looking for something different. It is the perfect fusion between art and the neighbourhood’s very particular tourist attraction, which owes its name to the fishing houses that populated the area and where we can still find numerous examples of modernist architecture.

Houses are transformed into improvised stages that will be occupied by a hundred Valencian artists, Spaniards and residents abroad.

The neighbourhood becomes an open window to the world. Activities, concerts and above all it is an environment that makes Cabanyal and its people open their doors wide to visitors.

Short plays of 30 minutes in confined spaces, and long duration works in unconventional spaces. The tragedy of the refugees, the involuntary population migrations due to labour, political and religious issues.

The audience will go to the living room in a house and an arm’s length away from the actors for stories told in first person. It is a unique opportunity to take a stroll through this picturesque neighbourhood while enjoying a fresh and committed theater.

The Lateen Sail repopulates La Albufera
2 May, 2017 /

Heritage of Cultural Interest

The members of the “Asociació de La Vela Latina de Silla” (the Sillan Lateen Sail Association) commence early. At about half past eight they prepare their wooden boats to participate, some hours later, in one of the displays of up to twenty opportunities that take place from March to October, for the enjoyment of observers.

They are not profit oriented. It was the desire to recover this tradition, at the end of the 80s,that led them to unite around the Muslim vessel, which once, in this Mediterranean zone of navigation, would be called “Vela Latina”. The name originates from the triangular sail held in transverse with the antenna to the mast, which allows sailing up to 30% of the prow into the wind.

They do not participate alone in the demonstrations. The associations from Catarroja, El Palmar, Alfafar and Sollana also come together for this purpose. All of their names come from localities bathed by La Albufera, the lake the National Park has been named after. It is located eight kilometres due the south of the city centre of Valencia and within the same municipal area. An ecosystem of great value, formed by the lake (actually of fresh water), the rice paddies that surround it, the forest of Devesa and the beaches of dune environments that, as a whole, any tourist should not miss.

To look closely at these boats which, for centuries, have served to transport people and goods, for fishing and for cleaning the Albufera, it is already a pleasure. To see up to thirty of them flying on the waters. What serenity!

Location: Silla Port
Facebook: @VelaSilla

Valencians indelible homage to the their patron
1 May, 2017 / ,

Virgen de los Desamparados Festival

Every second Sunday in May thousands of faithful congregate in the Virgen plaza (Virgin square) and surrounding areas to pay homage to the “Virgen de los Desamparados” (Virgin of the Forsaken), the Valencian Community and Valencia city’s patron saint.

The history refers us to 1409, when Fray Gilaberto Jofré, after defending a mentally ill person who was being mistreated, he encouraged the foundation of what would be Europe’s first psychiatric hospital, under the advocacy of the “Virgen de los Santos Inocentes” (Virgin of the Holy Innocents), name with which these ill people were designated.

In 1416, a gothic image would be made of “papier-mâché” so as not to be heavy, in order it couldbe placed on the coffin of those who died in the hospital and others who were defenseless. For this reason, over time, in 1493, King Ferdinand “The Catholic” would grant the title “Virgen de los Santos Inocentes Mártires y de los Desamparados” (Virgin of the Holy Innocent Martyrs and the Forsaken).

That image was growing in devotion towards her and proceeded to be placed on an altar. And despite the passage of the centuries, that same image is the one that still presently presides in the “Basílica de los Desamparados” of Valencia. Its inclination is due to its origins having been created to be carried lying on a cushion. Hence, the name “La Geperudeta” (“The Chepadita”, in Castilian) that is received on the part of the Valencians with all their affection.

Whether, at any time of the year, the basilica that guards her all year round deserves a visit for its artistic and religious interest, but primarily on this very special day when the Virgin is moved while the population acclaim her. This image will always remain in your memory.

Prominent events of this festivity:

On Friday 12th May (from 23:00 hrs.) and on Saturday 13th May (from 12:00 hrs.) the traditional ‘Dansà’, a typical Valencian dance, is celebrated.

On Sunday 14th May, at 10:30 hrs.: Transfer of the Virgin from the “Basílica de los Desamparados” to Valencia Cathedral.
At 18.30 hrs.: General procession through the Carmen neighborhood to the basilica’s main altar.

The Valencian Seafaring Holy Week
3 April, 2017 / ,

Fiesta of National Tourist Interest

The Seafaring Holy Week is a religious tradition that has been celebrated for at least three centuries in the Marítimo.

The Valencian Seafaring Holy Week is a tradition that commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Its origins could very well go back to the XV century, but the first document that records this celebration dates from 1735.

The sailors began to celebrate this ritual in the hope that Jesus and the Virgin would rescue them from the perils of the sea. Since 1925, the Holy Week has been consolidated as the great Marítimo celebration, the district of the city bathed by the Mediterranean. The high number of neighbours participating in this cult maintains a religious tradition that, despite few sailors remaining in Valencia, retains the spirit of its precursors.

The Valencian Seafaring Holy Week

This spring, about 4,500 people congregate in 30 brotherhoods, guilds and corporations, where whole families meet, after passing the tradition on from parents to children. Adults, youngsters and children, traverse through the historic neighborhoods of Grao, Cañamelar and Cabañal de Valencia during a Holy Week with some peculiarities that make it unique in Spain. Not only for being the only officially named Marinera (Seafaring), but for other characteristics that fill the streets with colour, without diminishing the solemnity of their ceremonies.

Recommended ceremonies

Without undervaluing the importance of all the ceremonies that take place, we highlight:

  • Friday of Sorrows (Viernes de Dolores), 7th April: After the Eucharist at 19:30 hrs (Ntra. Sra. De los Angeles parish), procession of Sorrows.
  • Palm Sunday, 9th April:
    – Blessing and processions of palms and bouquets, from the five parishes: Ntra. Sra. Del Rosario and Jesús Obrero
    – San Mauro (10:00 hrs); Cristo Redentor – San Rafael Arcángel (10:30 hrs); Ntra. Sra. de los Ángeles and Santa Maria del Mar (11:00 hrs).
    – 18:30 hrs: Collective transfer of images from the parish of Our Lady of the Angels to the private houses of the brothers, who keep them during Holy Week.
  • Holy Wednesday, 12th April: After the Eucharist at 19:30 hrs, a procession with el paso de La Verónica (ceremonial passage of Saint Veronica), by the famous Valencian sculptor Mariano Benlliure.
  • Holy Thursday, 13th April: 20:00 hrs: Act of Prophecy (Santa Maria del Mar) and Visit to the Holy Monuments. People go to private houses to see the images.
  • Good Friday, 14 th April
    – Via Crucis, from the five parishes. From 9:30 p.m.
    – 18:30 pm: General Procession of the Holy Burial. Summit act.
  • Holy Saturday, 15 th April: At 00:00 hrs on Sunday, the five parishes celebrate the Resurrection Glory.
  • Easter Sunday, 16 th April: 13:00hrs: Parade of Resurrection.

How to get there:
Metro: Marítim-Serrería station. Lines: 5 and 7.
Tram: 4, 6 and 8.
Bus routes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 19, 30, 31, 32, 41, 81, 95, 99, N1, N8 and N9.

Related Posts:

Valencian Seafaring Holy Week: The custodians of the images
Valencian Seafaring Holy Week: Biblical Characters

See Las Fallas close up at any time of year
31 March, 2017 /

Fallero Tour

Las Fallas, is a Valencian festival that takes place in March, and they play a key part at an economic, social and cultural level.

Therefore, in order not to lose our festival declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity, although you may visit Valencia before or after its celebration, we encourage you to experience the Fallero Tour. A magnificent experience to learn from the details about Valencian clothing and its relationship with silk, to everything that surrounds the artistic process of making the Fallas monuments.

09:30: Meet with the guide in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento Tourism Office.
09:40: Visit to the City Hall balcony.
10:15: Visit to the traditional Valencian clothing shop.
11.15: Visit to Plaza de la Virgen.
11:30 Visit to the Serranos Towers. Journey on bus no. 95 to the Fallas Museum (approximately 15 mins).
12:00 Visit to the “Museo Fallero” (audiovisual and museum tour).
13:00-13:15: End of tour.

Tour language: Bilingual (Spanish-English).

Departure Point: Every Thursday from Tourist Info at Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Duration: 4 hours (09:30-13:30).

Price: Adults: €20 / Children up to 12: €16. Includes journey and entry to the Fallas Museum.

For guided tours for groups of more than 20 people, contact:

To make your experience complete, we suggest a visit to the “Museo del Gremio de Artistas Falleros de Valencia” (Museum of the Guild of Fallas Artists) located on Avenida San José Artesano, 17, 46025 Valencia.

Entrance price: €3 (consult special prices and prices for groups). Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10-14:00 and from 16-19:00. Saturdays from 10- 14:00. Closed Sundays and public holidays. Closed throughout August. Buses 28 and 12.

Source/Written by: Fundación Turismo Valencia.

Valencian Seafaring Holy Week: The custodians of the images
30 March, 2017 /

The Valencian Seafaring Holy Week is marked by three figures that accompany the images in the processions: the executioners who watch over Jesus the Nazarene; the penitents who guard the crucified Jesus; and the grenadiers who protect the two images of the Virgin of Sorrows and the image of the Virgin of Solitude.

As occurs in other places, the penitents bear sticks and wear robes and hoods of different colours, according to the guild, brotherhood or corporation to which they belong. However, the uniforms of the executioners and the grenadiers have their peculiarities.

One century ago, the executioners of the Holy Seafaring Week changed the Romans’ dresses for the aesthetics of the Crusades. The reason was due to a simple anecdote. The tunic suppliers ran out of stock and the guilds went on to wear the medieval knights’ costumes.

The presence of grenadiers in army uniforms conceals a historical reason dating back to the 19th century, during Napoleonic Spain. According to tradition, in order to improve relations with the inhabitants of the maritime towns, the French general Suchet not only allowed the celebration of Easter but sent his soldiers to guard the Virgin. After the withdrawal of the French troops, the inhabitants of the area took the uniforms that the officers left abandoned and continued wearing them in the acts in which the mother of Jesus is venerated.

Related Posts:

The Valencian Seafaring Holy Week
Valencian Seafaring Holy Week: Biblical Characters

Valencian Seafaring Holy Week: Biblical Characters
29 March, 2017 /

Another of the distinguishing characteristics of Valencian Holy Week is the representation by adults and children of biblical characters related to the life, passion and death of Jesus.

Its variety, can be found repeated by the associations and in two age group ranges, just like their showy apparel, transforms this into a unique Holy Week.

Most of the characters follow a protocol of colours, predominantly purple and black on Good Friday and white on Easter Sunday.

These Biblical characters receive special treatment in the Holy Seafaring Week. Whenever they take part in a procession they are picked up from home with music, where they pay homage, and when it ends they are accompanied back to their homes.

The most accepted explanation about the origin of these living images points to the possible shortage of carved images, at the dawn of this celebration.

Related Posts:

The Valencian Seafaring Holy Week
Valencian Seafaring Holy Week: The custodians of the images