Valencia

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Valencia is the capital of the region of the same name on the east coast of central Spain. It's the country's third biggest city and although it boasts many great historic, cultural and modern visitor attractions this is one of the least tourist-orientated cities to be found in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. The historic heart of Valencia is very beautiful and still very Spanish, almost untouched by mass tourism. This is the home of paella, one of the most spectacular fiestas in Spain .

The City of Valencia, since its beginnings, has been a Mediterranean backbone, and has played an important part in its history. From the foundation of the Roman Valentia to the Valencia of the present day, this city has always been, and continues to be an important city in the cultural and economic realms, and cannot be overlooked when referring to European culture. Built upon a marshland stretching from the delta of the Xuquer river to that of the Turia river, Valencia has on it the mark of various civilisations that have passed through it.

Founded by the Romans in the year 138 bc. and subsequently invaded by the "Visigodos" King, and later by the Muslims, who made the city into a splendid economic and cultural centre, Valencia was "freed" from the Muslims by "El Cid", although it wasn't until 1238, when James the First of the Aragon kingdom conquered once and for all, that the Kingdom of Valencia was formed, and incorporated into the Kingdom of Aragon. Valencia was henceforth transformed into capital of the confederation, with its culture, commercial activity, and legal establishments with independent legislation, and became one of the most important economies of the Mediterranean in the 14th and 15th centuries. This period coincided with Valencia's "Golden age" out of which came names such as "Joanot Martorell" author of the first modern European novel (Tirant lo Blanc), and Ausias March.