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Valencia

Valencia

Few cities of the world have converted their port and their beach into the place of competition for the largest sailing boats in the world. Few cities of Europe make way for an urban Formula 1 circuit, running through its streets and filling them with the atmosphere of an exceptional spectacle.

Veles e Vents: a verse by the mediaeval poet Austes March has given a name to the most maritime builcjing. It is said of Valencia that it likes to please. The city that every year raises up ephemeral monuments in the most exceptional festival of fire and satire, is pleased with the admiration of visitors in the face of the unusual.

That is why here that innate ability of Valencians for adaptation and transformation has triumphed, the ease with which a special scene is made in unheard of settings Already blessed with unrepeatable architectural sights, the city of Valencia, between 2003 and 2007, was the headquarters of the 32nd America's Cup.

While the beaches of Cabanyal and Malvarrosa became a privileged setting to follow the sailing competition, the old dock had previously been transformed into a marina, provided with a special channel connecting it to the open sea, separating the commercial and leisure areas of the nearest port to Madrid.

Veles e Vents Turning the old modernist sheds into the sailing competition's team headquarters was the start of an exceptional adaptation. It was consolidated with the building of "Veles e Vents", international emblem of the America's Cup, which brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to Valencia and paraded the name of the city around the five continents. But the city of events wanted to go further. That is why, in 2008, the city signed the agreement which, for seven years, turns it into the headuarters of the European Formula 1 Gran Prix, at an unusual and exceptional spot: the old dock of the converted port and the seaside neighbourhoods that are in the process of urban renewal. Thousands of people gather on the grandstands of the most spectacular urban circuit, watching racing cars pass at over 300 kilometres an hour though unusual places, at the edge of the sea. Few more? The adventure will be repeated, and thousands of Valencians and visitors will be able to experience the thrill of the sport of speed round the twisting urban streets; Following the races from the specially provided terraces, and from the luxury boats moored at the floating jetties in the marina, becomes an exclusive luxury and an unforgettable experience. The city of exceptions is unstoppable. In the last twelve years Valencia has experienced a powerful growth in tourism because it has gone hand in hand with a big increase in hotels. In twenty years the city has doubled its hotel offer, which is now well over 80 establishments, with over 8,500 rooms with a capacity to accommodate some 17,000 guests, of which four thousand are in the five-star category. In the metropolitan area, hotel accommodation is available for another 5,000 guests flooding in for these special sports events.

The City of Arts and Sciences witnessed another unusual transformation: the water in the tanks designed by Santiago Calatrava was changed for sand in order to make way for an international equestrian event,[the Global Champions Tour. Valencia has signed a longterm agreement with the organisers, who have registered a great success in an exceptional architectural setting. A hundred and seventy horses of the best breeds, thirty riders, five hundred accredited people, hundreds of journalists from all over the world and thousands of visitors testified to the international success of another exceptional way of promoting the city. The course, covering 3,700 square metres, was situated under the Prince Felipe Museum and had terraced seating for 1,200 people. The annual calendar brings other special events to Valencia. The Nautical Club, an institution going back more than a century and sited alongside the port, is the scene of Her Majesty the Queen's Trophy every year.

Apart from the cycling and athletics events occasionally hosted by the city, tennis is another sport seeking a headquarters in Valencia for special events. The Region of Valencia Tennis Open brings together this sport's Spanish elite. But that is just the aperitif to the Open 500 held from November 2009 in the city.

The ATP has decided to include Valencia in its world competitions circuit, turning the city into a preferred site for indoor competitions. To this end the Agora has been inaugurated, a spectacular building crowned with crenellations and built by the architect Santiago Calatrava in the City of Arts and Sciences, alongside the new and extremely high LAssut de I'Or bridge.

The first Open 500 of the Region of Valencia was played afthe Agora of the City of Arts and Sciences from 31 st October to 8th November 2009.This tournament is classified in the second category of the ATP, along with Washington, Tokyo, Basel, Dubai, Beijing, Barcelona, Rotterdam, Memphis, Hamburg and Acapulco.

Cheste circuit In the field of sports, the Region of Valencia's Ricardo Tormo de Cheste Circuit must not be forgotten, situated a few kilometres from the city in the vicinity of the motorway to Madrid, offers an on-going calendar of events culminating every year in the Region of Valencia Gran Prix.

The crowds of enthusiasts and the great excitement close the international competition calendar every year.

Since 1999, some three million spectators have crowded the terraces of the Region of Valencia's Ricardo Tormo Circuit. Its chief characteristic is that no matter where they are on the terraces, enthusiasts can follow every detail of what happens on the track. To achieve that a perfectly studied route was built, completely surrounded by a stadium with spacious terraces from where 60,000 enthusiasts can sit to follow the trials that are run there.

The windows of the Central Marketplace colour the light and turn the interior into a cathedral of food and convenient city. And not only for its size, but also because the heritage it offers is both varied and attractive, as curious as it is easy to assimilate.A little of everything, but with quality; art from all the centuries, but with harmony and complementary, until the visitor is left spellbound by the charm of a city that quietly takes over those visiting it.Brightness Probably what most captures the visitor in the first place is the brightness of the light in Valencia.

Much has been written about that sky, an incredibly bright blue most of the year, which inspired the best painters of the land. It is that light which gives meaning to the secluded plazas and green balconies and the colours of terracotta, indigo and white. Light of artists, it has been said. By all accounts, that brightness is the setting for another characteristic of Valencia: the dynamic, vivacious, welcoming cheerfulness of its people, typically Mediterranean. In this city, cosmopolitan yet manageable, lives an open society.

There is a Valencia for the modernism of the beginning of the 20th century and another for the most austere Romanesque. In the same way there is yet another to savour the Gothic and the baroque. Valencia, so attractive for its fascinating new architecture, is not properly understood without that classic historical city. Because both are complementary and mutually explain each other.This is a city that has grown by overlaying and urbanism, as in trees, it takes the shape of 35 concentric rings; but it is very common that its buildings, palaces and monuments are the outcome of a sum of forms and styles accumulated over time. What is interesting, it all ends up forming a harmonious group that makes it attractive to visitors.

The river Turia defines the city of Valencia, which has in its turn spent centuries of resources on bridges and walls. History says this city has had as many as three walls. The Roman imperial one was followed by the Mussulman enclosure, still visible in different places of the old centre of Valencia. The third wall, from the Spanish era, is from the 14th century, and of the twenty-one gateways, towers and doors it had in its time, all that is left now are two powerful bastions, the Serranos towers and those of Quart, which in their day were as much of a defensive nature as ornamental. Although modern roadways have been opened in that historic centre and the domesticating that river and building city walls and parapets, of thick ashlars, capable of withstanding the terrible floods. The former bed of the river Turia, with its historic bridges, hugs the city to the north, on its way to the sea. And it takes in a good part of the historic centre of Valencia; which was closed off by the defensive retaining wall, built by the Spaniards, until its demolition in 1865. This old centre is, along with those of Granada and Toledo, one of the most extensive of Spain; but it is generally accepted that it must be toured on foot, so as to have the best sensations of a comfortable experience, at the same time full with surprises.

new urbanism has notably demolished obselete buildings to make way for green areas, |t is still possible to find the twisting narrow streets and plazas that speak of Mussulman times.

 
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