25.11.11

Is Batman from Valencia?

The answer to the above question is in the negative. After extensive research, I can confirm that Batman is not from Valencia and that the bat that appears in the coat of arms of the city of Valencia in Spain has more to do with James I of Aragon who took the city from the Moors in the 13th Century.
Valencia may then not be known for being the birthplace of Batman but the city does have other attractions and a very rich history. The name of the city has not changed much since 138 BC when the Romans took the city from the original Iberian inhabitants and named it Valentia. It was later occupied by the Visigoths from Central Europe and the Moors. Such mixture of cultures is reflected in different parts of the city. In the Barrio del Carmen built between the Moorish and Christian walls you can find a number of palaces, including the Palace of the Borgia family which is now the seat of the Valencian Parliament; the Cathedral; the two remaining medieval gates to the city - the Tower of Serranos and the Tower of Quart; the Lonja (market); a museum of modern art, the IVAM ; and the main square with the building of the local Council - Plaza del Ayuntamiento - which is where the mascletá takes place every year. The mascletá is part of Valencia´s most famous festivities called Las Fallas. The festivity celebrates St. Joseph´s Day on 19th March, but the city prepares for the week long festivity all year round with associations in the different neighbourhoods raising funds to build the Falla, made up of cardboard and papier-mâché puppets which are burnt on St. Joseph´s Day, accompanied by spectacular fireworks. The theme of the puppets or ninots is sometimes satirical, representing politicians. The mascletá takes place at 2 PM every day of the week leading up to the 19th March and consists of a very loud barrage of firecrackers and fireworks.
In 1998, Valencia inaugurated the City of Arts and Sciences , a complex designed by the ubiquitous Santiago Calatrava, that houses the largest aquarium in Europe.
Valencia is also home to one of the most famous Spanish dishes, the Paella. The name refers both to the dish and to the recipient where it is cooked. You will find a lot of restaurants claiming to serve the original Paella and there are a number of these along the beach. I would recommend a place close to the Colón Market called El Timonel . For a more formal dinner, Ca’ Sento is one of the best restaurants in the city.
Lastly, don´t forget to taste the horchata, a very refreshing drink made from chufas, a ground nut.


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