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Ruzafa – Information and History

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Ruzafa T-Shirt

Ruzafa (Russafa in Valencian) is a neighborhood on the south-east side of Valencia. It begins at the Plaza de los Toros and extends southward until reaching the Avenida de Peris y Valero.

Portal de Russafa Portal de Russafa – Image: Solo Cultura Valencia

The neighborhood has Arabic origins, when it was developed as the gardens for Abd-Allah al Balans; in fact the name Ruzafa comes from the Arabic word for “garden”. And it was from this neighborhood that King James of Aragon prepared his assault on the city in 1238, winning it permanently for Christianity.

Existing outside the fortified walls of Valencia has given Ruzafa a unique flavor; in fact, it was its own municipality until 1877 and well-known as a hub for the importation of tree trunks (you can see the name “Tronco” still proudly displayed through the neighborhood). Nowadays though, Ruzafa is fully part of Valencia and has even become the heart of Fallas, with huge monuments on almost every street corner and the famous street lights of Calle Sueca.

Ruzafa’s nucleus is its market. The streets around this bustling shopping center are confusingly laid out, much like in Carmen, but as you get further away from the market they become more rectangular … and upscale. Some of the buildings along the Avenida del Reino, Rusafa’s northeast border, are stunning.

One of the best things about present-day Ruzafa is the cultural mix of people who call it home. Spaniards mix with South Americans, Africans, Asians and citizens from all over the world, resulting in a lot of interesting restaurants and shops. The night life in Ruzafa is second-to-none in Valencia, especially during the summer. The whole neighborhood seems to live on the streets. It’s not uncommon to walk straight into a street festival (as happened to us a couple months ago).

No visit to Valencia is complete without exploring Ruzafa. Coming soon, we’ll publish a walking tour which will help you hit all of Ruzafa’s highlights!

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May 31, 2009 at 5:32 pm Comments (2)

Street Photography Valencia

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Here’s another set of random images from the city. From odd to beautiful, you’ll find it all in the streets of Valencia.


Photographer in Valencia / Fotograf in Valencia

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May 30, 2009 at 8:57 am Comment (1)

Museum of l’Almoina – Centuries of Ruins

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In the 80s, a huge excavation at Plaza de l’Almoina in the very heart of Valencia took place (location), revealing a remarkable amount of artifacts and ruins dating from the birth of the city up until the present day.

Almoina Valencia

A few years ago, the city turned the excavation site into a fascinating museum, allowing visitors to wander through almost 20 centuries worth of progress. From sacrificial Roman wells, to intricate Islamic baths, the small square of l’Almoina, situated in the cross-hairs of the Roman Empire’s two main roads, has been the center of a lot of action.

mueso almoina Valencia

The exhibition spans 5 empires — the Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Visigoths, Islamic Empire, and Christian Kingdoms. The ruins have been pretty much left alone, and today visitors walk on top of them over vertigo-inducing glass floors.

The museum is free on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and only €2 on other days. When we went, they only allowed entrance with a guided group — they leave every half hour or so depending on the number of visitors. If you can’t speak Spanish, it’s worth calling ahead — there are daily English tours, but not many.

Museo l’Amoina
Location on our Valencia Map

Image Credit: pipearaya & Alvaro Chiron

May 28, 2009 at 8:54 am Comment (1)

Tattoo Convention Valencia

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The 9th Annual Valencia Tattoo Convention is being held at the Expo Hotel (location) on June 12th, 13th and 14th.

From least to most terrifying;

That last tattoo, the work of Javi Moreno, is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Even though I’d never get one myself, I’ve always found tattoos a bit of a turn-on (especially when they’re of blood-thirsty vampire girls).

So if you’re a fan of tats, you know where to go in mid-June. Tickets are €12 for a day or €25 for the whole weekend.

Official Convention Website
Location on our Valencia Map

May 26, 2009 at 3:54 pm Comments (0)

Ruzafa or Russafa?

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I’m sorry, Valencia. I think you’re just about the best city in the world, and holding onto your culture is a noble goal. But trying to keep straight the multiple spellings of place names is slowly driving me insane.

Officially, signs are all in Valencian. This can lead to great confusion for tourists, whose maps are all in Castilian, and who have walked by Carrer Baix a hundred times while searching for Calle Baja. And though my days of getting lost are (mostly) behind me, I’m not immune. Looking back through my journal, I’ve used the names “Russafa”, “Ruzafa” and “Rusafa” almost interchangeably for the cool neighborhood on the city’s south-east side. So, let’s try and get this settled.

Here are a few which have always caused me trouble:

Castellano Valencià Just Wrong
Ruzafa Russafa Rusafa
Malvarrosa Malva-rosa Malvarosa
Cabañal Cabanyal Cabin, Y’all

Any others to add to this list? Luckily, they’re all pronounced similarly, so you’re unlikely to run into trouble unless you’re writing…

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May 25, 2009 at 2:19 pm Comments (8)

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