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Spanish in Valencia

Study Spanish in Valencia

Valencia is a city with a colourful past, peppered with the inputs of everybody from the Romans to the Aragonese by way of the Visigoths and the Moors. Originally founded by the Romans in 138BC under the name 'Valentia', it was a period of Muslim rule from AD711 following the fall of the Roman Empire that established Valencia as an important centre of commerce, culture and industry. This was a period only briefly disturbed, from 1094 until 1102, by the conquest of the legendary Catalan military leader, El Cid, who set up home in this blossoming city by the coast. Finally, Arab rule (restored following El Cid´s death) was ended by James I of Aragon in 1238 as he ruthlessly built up his burgeoning kingdom in Spain.

Valencia benefited from what became known as its 'Golden Age' in the 15th and 16th Centuries when culture and the Arts reigned supreme, the population positively sprouted and the city's financial and industrial activities prospered. Towards the end of the 15th century the 'Silk Exchange' (Llotja de la Seda) was built, attracting commerce and traders from all over Europe at the time. It is still standing today and one of the city´s principal tourist attractions.
Cathedral-Valencia Evidence of the general expansion and the cultural boom being experienced by Valencia can be seen in the many architecturally magnificent buildings constructed during this period. These include the Serranos Towers, Miguelere (or the Cathedral of Valencia) and the Chapel of the Kings of the Convent of Santo Domingo. At this time the city's University was also founded and new forms of literature, paintings and sculpture began to emerge to decorate and entertain this thriving city.

However, a general fall in trade with the Mediterranean due to the discovery of the Americas and an increase in trading across the Atlantic began to put a stop to the boom in Valencia and an end to Golden Age. Crisis set in. In the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1713) Valencia sided with Charles of Austria, the eventual loser at the hands of Bourbon King, Felipe V. As punishment for their ill-chosen alliance, King Felipe removed from Valencia their 'fueros' or autonomous rights. In the late 19th Century Valencia experienced another boom with further industrialisation and the demand for workers´rights and the emergence of Trade Unions and an increase in the popularity of Catalan language usage, previously suppressed by Felipe V. However, in the 20th Century, again it was to be an ill-chosen alliance that was to be the downfall of Valencia, as in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 Valencia became the headquarters of the Republican Party and was therefore shunned by various succeeding Nationalist Governments. All has since worked out well for Valencia and the decentralisation that occurred in Spain following the death of the Dictator General Francisco Franco, returned to them their autonomous powers and responsibilities.

As any Valencia City Guide will point out, over the last number of decades Valencia has blossomed into a cosmopolitan and culturally exciting place to be and its endless amount of modern,beautifully constructed buildings, that capture the eclectic mix of the city´s past combined with its ability to adapt and move forward, have accommodated many cultural events and exhibits. The Palau de la Música, the Palacio de Congresos, the Institute of Modern Art and the Valencian Museum of Enlightenment and Modernity, to name but a few, have all played host and continue to play host to interesting and intriguing spectacles and shows in this coastal cultural treasure trove and to top it off, to transport you between them all you have the city's modern and state of the art Metro.

A City for Learning

Valencia is a city evidently influenced by many different cultures at various different points in its colourful past and these marks left on the city combined with the modern emerging culture evident in the city today make it an ideal and an interesting place to visit and to learn Spanish in Spain. Valencia oozes rich cultural and social development and this can only be a conducive and encouraging environment in which to learn Spanish and at the same time have fun, enjoy the Spanish way of life and make friends.

The importance of surroundings should not be underestimated when you are deciding on a location for studying a Spanish Course and Valencia´s charm is sure to provide an appropriate backdrop for any form of Spanish Learning, including the immersion not only in the Spanish Language but also the Culture of Spain.
In the city of Valencia itself the official languages are Spanish and Valencian, although you might find a bit of Catalan thrown in there too. The history of the language spoken in Valencia and its origins is somewhat controversial and disputed but you will find the people in the city friendly and more than willing to converse in Spanish and you will only be gaining from exposure to an additional regional language, an integral part of Spain and its numerous different regional cultures.

A City of Tradition


Home to the world-famous Las Fallas Festival in March each year, Valencia becomes a haven of fun, frolics and religious symbolism as each neighbourhood displays and parades their giant 'Fallas' (giant comical paper maché characters) before they are all burnt on the final day of the Festival in celebration of the tradition of the act of the city´s carpenters who used to burn their old tools and candle holders, no longer of use in the summer months. It is a spectacular and breathtaking time to be in Valencia with fireworks throughout the day, churros galore and a giant Virgin made out of flowers.

Another tradition you might just have heard of in Spain, but particularly in Valencia, is the love of the traditional Spanish dish, Paella. This dish consists of a variation of meat, meat and seafood or solely seafood, cooked with rice,saffron and sweet paprika in a giant paella pan, of such a size that in most restaurants the dish is for a minimum of two people (depending on how hungry you are of course...). The dish is thought to originate from 18th Century Valencia when locals used to cook rice dishes of large proportions in pans named Paelleras. Original key ingredients included water vole and eel (yum), but with the increase in the wealth of the area the use of chicken and rabbit and, on the coast,seafood, became the done thing. Slowly the dish itself adopted a form of the name of the pan it is cooked in and voilà, there you have it!

From a colourful past to a colourful festival and an even more colourful regional dish, Valencia evokes excitement and curiosity in all who visit and get to know this sparkling and sublime city by the sea.