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Ruzafa in Pictures

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Here are some pictures I took during our recent walk around Ruzafa:


Russafa Youth Hostel

August 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm Comment (1)

A Walk Around Ruzafa

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Ruzafa Fahsion

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Ruzafa (or Russafa) is one of Valencia’s most famous neighborhoods, and probably its most hip (no offense, Carmen!) It occupies the southeast side of the city, in the district of L’Eixample. We’ve already written a little about the history of this historic and lively area, and here’s our guide to its top sights.

Start your tour at Ruzafa’s northern tip — the Plaza de Toros de Valencia. Regardless of your views on bullfighting, the arena is pretty awesome. Built in 1850, it was modeled on the Roman Colosseum and is one of the largest in Spain. Besides the corridas, the arena hosts concerts (Julio Iglesias on August 21st, WOO!) and political events. Make sure to check out the Museo Taurino while you’re there — it’s free and won’t take more than 30 minutes of your time.

After the museum, stroll down the Avenida del Reino de Valencia (Avenue of the Kingdom of Valencia), which demarcates the north-eastern boundary of Ruzafa. The street itself is currently under frantic construction, preparing for the new Metro line, but this won’t detract from your enjoyment of the boulevard’s wonderful buildings and facades.

If you’re not looking for the Convento Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles on C/ General Prim, you’re likely to walk right by it. Completely unassuming from the outside, this convent was originally run by an order of Clarissa nuns, but is today kept by Franciscans. It’s got a beautiful courtyard and interesting history… the convent sits on the site where King James I of Aragon installed his troops for his successful siege of the city. It was destroyed during the civil war and completely rebuilt. Don’t be shy about buzzing the doorbell and asking to see the grounds — that’s what we did!
A short distance from the convent is the Iglesia Parroquial de San Valero y San Vicente Mártir — more commonly known as the Cathedral of Ruzafa. This huge and extremely impressive church was constructed in the early 15th century and serves as the popular heart of the neighborhood. It, too, was destroyed during Spanish Civil War and rebuilt shortly thereafter.
Adjacent to the the Cathedral is the Ruzafa Market — a large and bustling foods market in the center of the neighborhood. It’s not quite as lovely as the Mercado Central, but there is just as much activity, less tourists and a greater sense of community. It’s a great place to finish your tour and grab some fresh fruit to snack on. The market was built in 1957 and the utilitarian, no-frills architecture perhaps reflects the spirit of the day.

Once you’re done with the market, you’ll have seen the guidebook highlights of Ruzafa, but not yet experienced the true charm of the neighborhood. Ruzafa is probably Valencia’s most multi-cultural area, and there is an abundance of excellent restaurants, bars and ethnic shops. The best way to enjoy Ruzafa is aimless wandering about — get your head out of the map and walk down the fun streets like C/ Ruzafa, Cadiz, Dr. Sumsi and Centelles. You’ll not have any problem finding great deals on tapas and cañas.

Russafa Youth Hostel

August 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm Comments (3)

Feria de Julio Beach Firework 2009

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We managed to see the last of the 4 beach fireworks of the Feria de Juliol. And we found a great spot, sitting right next to where they set up the fireworks. Enjoy the video!

Las Cuevas: Tapas in the city center of Valencia

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July 27, 2009 at 6:33 pm Comment (1)

Street Fireworks – Engraellat at Almirante Cardoso

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The engraellat is a unique kind of street firework, which we had the dubious honor of “experiencing” (or: “being assaulted by”) on Saturday June 13th, as part of the celebrations for Corpus Christi.

Click on the image for a much larger version – Can anyone translate this for us?

L’Engraellat is actually the ancestor of the modern mascletà, which we all know from Fallas. The only place it’s currently practiced is at Almirante Cardoso / Conde Altea (location). Its setup, before it starts exploding and making your head shake, looks innocent enough. There are a bunch of little canisters (“cañoncitos“) spread out intricately about the street. But each of these is filled with gunpowder, and they’re all attached to the same fuse.

The result is massive noise. We should know better, by now, than to continue showing up at these things. Check out the video — I tried my best to contain the horrified squeals which were itching my throat.


A) What can possibly be the point of this, besides to deafen the city’s populace?
B) Why would people be clapping at the end of it?
C) Why do we continue to seek these street mascletàs out?
D) Did you see the granny escape in the video, around 1:33? Clever broad.


The Falleras had a blast:


There’s more information about Engraellats here, but only in Spanish.

Strange collection of canned backpacker food

Cool Hostels from around the world:

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June 15, 2009 at 7:52 am Comments (3)

Ruzafa – Information and History

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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)

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