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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"Ruzafa or Russafa?" was published on May 25th,2009 and is listed in Bizarre, Tips & Tricks.

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Comments on "Ruzafa or Russafa?": 8 Comments

  1. Fernando wrote,

    Hehe, there are lots of this, but as you’ve said, both languages are very similar, so a confusion is very unlikely. Ayuntamiento, Ajuntament, Achuntament, Ayuntament… the maps should be in the native language, but the most crazy thing is that the official street guide in valencia.es all names are in valencian.

  2. Fernando wrote,

    ^^ sorry, I made a mistake, in thecity council web, street names are in spanish, though in the streets are in valencian.

  3. SR P wrote,

    Just a small point but you should call it Valencian or Valencia (with the backwards accent on the a) rather than Valencaino, the Spanish word for the language.

    Although I don’t speak it, I’m glad Valencian is used for placenames but you’re right about it causing confusion for some visitors. I was asked for directions for Calle La Paz once, I said “you’re on it!” and she pointed at the street sign – Carrer de la Pau (?) and said “so what’s that?”.

  4. mpowell wrote,

    “Just a small point but you should call it Valencian or Valencia (with the backwards accent on the a) rather than Valencaino, the Spanish word for the language.”

    Thanks! I’ve made the update… that was a good point.

  5. Graham wrote,

    Imagine being in the Basque country! Signs in Basque don’t even give you a clue.

  6. Pappy Powell wrote,

    Oh my gosh, sooooo true. On a recent 3 week vacation to visit my wayward son, I experienced numerous such confusing moments. This frustration was all the worse as I had spent many pre-trip hours mastering required phrases like…”Where the hell am I?, How can I find (this or that) place?” Perhaps the worst was trying to find my way to Mercado Central after a 6 hour wandering the city trying to find an arts museum. For whatever stupid reason, I kept asking how to get to Mercat Central. People gave me that “deer in the headlights” stare, shrugged their shoulders, then pointed in an opposite direction. The worst offender was The Evil Driver on Bus #28, who simply glared at me. That’s OK, I met up him again….Hola’, mi amigo, que tal, bueno! I got the glare again. Such fun !!

  7. Ruzafa - Information and History | Hola Valencia Blog wrote,

    [...] (Russafa in Valencian) is a neighborhood on the south-east side of Valencia. It begins at the Plaza de los Toros and [...]

  8. A Walk Around Ruzafa | Hola Valencia Blog wrote,

    [...] (or Russafa) is one of Valencia’s most famous neighborhoods, and probably its most hip (no offense, [...]

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