The North Valencia Coast
The north coast of Valencia, the shoreline which is closest to the capital, has become a large expanse of sand, where tall towers of apartments and service infrastuctures have been built, sharing the landscape with farmsteads and large market gardens (huertas).
At the end of the Malvarrosa Beach lie the fields of Alboraya, which are used as chufas that the refreshing drink, horchata, or great, so typical of this area, is made. The marine sports complex of Port Saplaya enables the visitor to moor his sailing vessel on his door step. La Pobla de Farnals was a pionner experiment in the development of the of the coastline. The visitor finds himself in a holiday city close to the capital, planned to enhance relaxation as he looks out onto the sea.
On arriving at the town of El Puig, one is met by remindersof times past. In the town centre are the only two hills in the area. The rest is a vast plain. According to legend it was on these hills that the Byzantine image of the Virgin of el Puig apperared. She had come from a Basilian monastery, where the monks had hidden her beneath a bell during the period of the Moslem domination until 1238, the year of the Christian conquest of Valencia. St. Pedro Nolasco, the founder of the Order of Our Lady Mercy, dicovered her in the place show to him by a cloud of stars. In the fifties, she was crowned Queen of the Lands of Valencia. A shrine and a convent form an architectural combination guarded by the members of the order. Of the early church, only the Romanesque facade remains. The modern temple is Gothic.
Sagunto is one of the major enclaves of the Romanisation of Spain. The town looks down on the plain from a hill which is still resonant of the name of Hannibal and his siege of the Iberian settlement of Arse. It is well protected by the outer foothills of the Calderona and Espadan ranges and lies open to the sea, forming a huge palin crossed by the River Palancia. The town´s shore is made up of 13 km of low, sandy coastline, with sandbanks held down by vegetation and clumps of palm trees. Here lie the beaches of Puerto Sagunto and Almarda, both of which have been awarded the Ble Flag, along with Corinto and Malvarrosa, on the provincial border with Castellon de la Plana.
The hill, on whose northern slope the rows of seats belonging the Roman theatre still stand, is defended by a castle of almost one kilometre, surrounded by walls of Roman and mediaeval design and housing a spacious interior divided into seven squares (plazas). The Plaza Mayor with its porticoes, leading up to the Jewish Quarter and the castle, was the commercial and cultural hub mediaeval Sagunto. The column shafts of Roman times have survived until the present day. The Gothic Church of Santa Maria dominates the Square. On Calle Mayor, impressive palaces once belonging to the nobility are to be found. Another of the town´s churches, the Church of el Salvador, was built in an early Gothic style and is made up of a single nave with Romanesque front. Next to the porticoed square, the Town Hall is housed in a building with an attractive neoclassic facade.
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