Valencia has a long history of varied fortune and misfortune. A place of lagoons, flood plains and fishermen in protohistoric times, developed into a substantial Roman colony, passed through Moorish and Christian periods, with battles between these changes, and Napoleon’s troops made an appearance in the nineteenth century.
Fish, rice, silk and citrus fruits have provided trade over the centuries, with an active trading market established in the Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) by 1548, and academic strength making its mark with the establishment of a university as early as 1502.
In more recent times, World War 1 took its toll on its economic fortunes, preventing citrus exports, and Civil War and Franco rule delayed recovery and new developments.
The old Barrio del Carmen (Carmen district) still reveals evidence of the struggles the city has experienced, with repairs and renovations only starting in the last 30-40 years. The wealthy people living in this area started to move out beyond the city walls in the mid-nineteenth century, to escape outbreaks of cholera and poorer neighbours. Their grand homes collapsed and left behind places buried under rubble and taken over by foliage.
A wander around this barrio shows scaffolding and signs of repair, and plenty of gaps still waiting their turn in the renovation queue. So let’s go for a quick wander and get a feel for the place as it is in 2019.
Come circumambulate with me!
Don’t let my description of decay put you off – it is a safe, friendly and atmospheric part of time, with places to shop, sit, eat and drink. Time for me to fly off, but I recommend the local Turia Märzen beer if you fancy resting for a while.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 8 July 2019
Posted as part of Monday Walks