From Valencia to Cullera
Situated to the south of the capital, separated from the waters of the Mediterranean by a chain of dunes and pine groves, the lake of La Albufera was formed in the distant past from the deposit od sediments from the Rivers Turia an Jucar, which hemmed in this small inland sea of fresh water.
The nature reserve measures 21.000 hectares, upon which 13 municipal districts stand. The lake´s diameter is six kilometres. The lluent, which means speck of light, refers to the central area. Arab poets defined it as the mirror of the sun. From the lookout situated on the first floodgate and also from the village of El Palmar, typical of the area, where a delicious paellais to be had, there are boat trips round the lake guided by old fishermen. Visitors to the reserve may cycle along its inner paths. An alternative route leads to the beach. Moving from the inland area towards the sea, first the permanent dunes, then the piles of fishing nets and the sandy beach make up the usual route to the Dehesa del Saler. This trip of shoreline is 10 kilometres long by one wilometre wide.
The lower course of the River Jucar meanders along to its outlet into the sea, watering the fields and huertas of the villages belonging to the region of La Ribera Baixa. A large network of irrigation channels carries its waters to the furthermost corners. Where the paddy fields end, the orange orchards begin, as every inch of lands is usedfor agricultural purposes. The town of Sueca, an urban dot appearing in the middle of a vast plain of marshland used for rice growing, was conceded by Charles IV to Godoy in 1803 and it belonged to him for five years. Its main religious monument, the Royal Church of Nuestra Señora de Sales, was built in the seventeenth century. Here, the higly prized canvas of Our Lady of the Milk, attributed to the school of Juan de Juanes, can still be seen. Also, the Church of San Pedro, dating from the eigtheenth century, the Town Hall building and what is Known as the Casa del Quatre Xantons, both from the seventeenth century, along with important samples of modernist architecture, bear witness to the good economic situation attained by the towm. A full view of the lake may be enjoyed from the spot named Muntanyeta dels Sants.
Following this route, the Sueca shoreline continues southwards with its urban development and tourist accommodation infrastructures from El Saler to Perello and Perellonet, to link up with the coast of the municipal district of Cullera. Thanks to its geographical location, in Cullera, the tourist may wander with ease from the sand to the rocks, go diving one minute and sailing the next or, just as easily, go fishing or hiking. The old town was clasped onto a mountain, the Muntanya de L´Or, also known as the Mountain of Les Rabosses (vixen), and grew up in the vicinity of the River Jucar, surrounded by several freshwater lagoons and over13 kilometresof sand and rocks. Its boasts the province´s only fishing port and river sports centre.The mediaeval castle and the Shrine of Mare de Deu del Castell are at the town´s highest point. Within its walls, figures of historic renown took up residence as its strategic position enhanced efficient control of the region and the coast.
Alzira is the inland capital of the region of La Ribera Alta. It is situated on an old island in the River Jucar. Hence it was christened by the Arabs with the name of Al Yarizat Suquar. The remains of the Arabic wall, where a section of about 300 metres is preserved, are proofof one od the most glorious periods of the town. During the Moslem domination, a network of irrigation channels, still in use today, was traced. Christian occupation erected its artistic heritage upon the architectural contributions of the Arabs. In the old quarter, the archpriest´s temple of Santa Catalina, of Gothic origin, has an interesting Barroque facade. At the Renaissance palace of the Marquis of Santiago, where the Town Hall is now housed, the master room is beatifully caoffered.
Five Kilometres from Alzira, the city of Carcaixent does not occupy its original location as a tragic flood made it neccessary to move the town in the fourteenth century. The day-by-day occupation of its inhabitants consists of the monoculture of citrus fruits which are then handled and processed, some of which are of clear architectural interest. The parish church, dating back to the end of the sixteenth century, features somes spectacular Baroque altarprices. On the same route, approaching Valencia, stands Algemesi, a large town whose hermitage, the Mare de Deu de la Salut, is the destinationof a celebrated regional pilgrimage. On September 8th, the festivity of the virgin is held, with the dances and human towers of th Muixeranga.
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