Explanada de España, Alicante / © ICEX
The Valencian Community is located on the eastern coast of Spain, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is made up of three provinces: Alicante-Alacant, Castellón-Castelló and Valencia-Valéncia. It covers a surface are of 23,254.49 square kilometers / 8,978.6 sq. miles and has 5,129,266 inhabitants. The city of Valencia is the capital.
Valencia's main crop is citrus fruit: oranges, tangerines and lemons. It also produces sweet early-harvest fruit, rice, new potatoes, tomatoes and ornamental flowers. Dried fruits and nuts are also widely produced in this area.
This region has 19 primary fishing ports, which represent 9% of Spain's fishing production (20,840 tons per year), and it has a fleet of over 663 vessels.
Most of the designations of origin wines are found in the province of Valencia and the Utiel-Requena area has the largest vineyard surface area. There is another designation of origin in the Valencian comunity: the wines from the DO Alicante.
Read more: Wines from Spain.
Valencian Community was visited by 5.346.717 foreign tourists in 2012.
UNESCO has declared El Palmeral de Elche (a large area of land planted with palm trees and gardens inside the city of Elche and dating from the 8th and 9th centuries when it was dominated by Arabs) and La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia (a Gothic civilian building used as a guildhall during the Middle Ages) World Heritage sites.
The region's capital, Valencia, is the proud location of one of eastern Spain's most important museum complexes - the City of Arts and Sciences, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. It includes an aquarium called the Oceanogràfic, a congress center and an auditorium, a science museum and a latest-generation projection hall, the Hemisfèric. The city of Alicante, to the south of the region, offers its Archaeological Museum, designated Europe's Museum of the Year in 2004. Another important museum in the region is the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM) in Valencia, a destination for all lovers of contemporary art.
Its most notable natural parks are: Salinas de Santa Pola, Carrascal de la Font Roja, Penyal d´Ifach, Prat de Cabanes-Torreblanca and l´Albufera de Valencia.
In 2012, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) awarded the Valencian beaches 108 blue flags, and its marinas 12 blue flags.
More info: Turismo Comunidad Valenciana.
This is a distinctly Mediterranean community, as evidenced by the fact that it has its own language (Valencian) and a long, time-honored folk tradition revolving around bonfires and fire.
Among the most distinguished Valencians in history are: José de Ribera (1591-1652), painter; Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923), painter; Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (1867-1928), novelist; Azorín (1873-1967), writer; Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999), composer; Luis García Berlanga (1921-2010), film director; Javier Mariscal (1950), designer; Santiago Calatrava (1951), architect.
On March 19 Valencia celebrates the Fallas with the burning of ninots (large cardboard and wood sculptures). Fires and fireworks are the most noteworthy aspects of this region’s fiestas. The festival of Moors and Christians in commemoration of the Reconquista is held in many locations.
Paella is the most renowned Valencian dish, made with rice, this region's most prized product.
Valencian cuisine includes a wide variety of fish dishes, such as sea bass or gilthead, which are usually baked in a crust of rock salt.
Among the many sweets from this region, turrón is the most well known, particularly the ones from Jijona and Alicante Denominations of Origin, made with almonds and honey.
Horchata de chufas (a drink made with tiger nuts) is a typical drink enjoyed during the summers of Valencia.