Valencia (region, Spain)
Valencia (välān´thēä), autonomous region (1990 pop. 3,902,429) and former kingdom, E Spain, on the Mediterranean. It now comprises the provinces of Alicante, Castellón, and Valencia. It was established as an autonomous region in 1982 by the statute of autonomy. The country is chiefly mountainous, with a fertile coastal plain, on which most of the population is concentrated. The Mediterranean climate has helped to make Valencia the
"garden of Spain."
Irrigation and an intensive system of cultivation were started by the Moors. Citrus and other fruits, rice, vegetables, cereals, olive oil, and wine are now produced. Many of these products (especially Valencia oranges) are exported. The mulberry tree has been cultivated for silk since ancient times, but the silk industry has declined. Processed foods, ceramics, metal products, furniture, and textiles are the chief manufactures. Tourism, especially to coastal resorts, has become more important. In 1980 a nuclear power plant was built in Valencia prov.
Many prehistoric remains have been found in Valencia. Inhabited by the Iberians in early times, it was later colonized by Greek and Carthaginian traders. It was a battlefield between the Carthaginians and the Romans (see Sagunto). It passed to the Moors in the 8th cent. At the fall of the caliphate of Córdoba it became (1022) an independent emirate. The Cid briefly ruled the city and district of Valencia (1094–99). The rule of the Almoravids and Almohads was followed by a brief period of independence. Valencia was ruled (1238–52) by James I of Aragón. It preserved its political identity within the Aragonese confederation and later in the Spanish state, but its privileges were completely abolished (18th cent.) by Philip V. The 14th and 15th cent. were a period of economic prosperity and artistic flowering; decline came after the expulsion of the Moors (1609). The region has had an economic revival in the 20th cent.
Valencia (city, Spain)
Valencia, city (1990 pop. 758,738), capital of Valencia prov., E Spain, on the Turia River. The third largest city in Spain, it lies in a fertile garden region a short distance from its busy Mediterranean port, El Grao, on the Gulf of Valencia. It is an active industrial and commercial center producing textiles, metal products, chemicals, automobiles, furniture, toys, and azulejos [colored tiles]. There also are important shipyards. The city hosted the America's Cup in 2007 and 2010.
First mentioned in the 2d cent. BC, Valencia was a Roman colony. Under the Moors, from the 8th to the 13th cent., it was twice the seat of an independent state (see Valencia, region). From 1094 to 1099, it was ruled by the Cid. After its conquest (1238) by James I of Aragón, Valencia rose to great commercial and cultural importance and rivaled Barcelona. Its university was founded in 1501. In the 15th and 16th cent., through the work of Auzias March and others, Valencia achieved literary and intellectual eminence. It was the seat of the Valencia school of painting in the 16th and 17th cent. It experienced an economic revival in the 19th and 20th cent. During the civil war, Valencia served (1936–37) as the seat of the Loyalist government.
A popular resort, the city is very picturesque, with blue-tiled church domes and narrow streets in the old quarter and fine tree-lined avenues and promenades in the modern section. Among its chief landmarks are the cathedral (13th–15th cent.), called La Seo, with a Gothic belltower (the Miguelete); the Torres de Serranos, 14th-century fortified towers built on Roman foundations; the Gothic silk exchange, called La Lonja; and the 18th-century palace of justice. The city also has a fine-art gallery. The Tribunal de las Aguas, which settles disputes over the irrigation of the outlying garden region, has met regularly in the city since the 10th cent. The modern City of Arts and Sciences complex has striking buildings designed by Santiago Calatrava. There is also a large modern aquarium.