xvi, 383 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
"A thoughtul examination of this divided land between the Spanish state and Catalonia.The towns of Valencia's long coast and privileged climate, in particular Benidorm, southern Europe's skyscraper capital, are famous beach tourism destinations. Country of fire, fireworks, and long meals (often featuring the renowned paella), Valencia is a Mediterranean land where people know how to enjoy life. This book tells the story of today's Spanish provinces of Valencia, Castelló and Alacant (Alicante), with their profound Moorish legacy. The Moors designed the intricate system of irrigation that still nourishes Valencia's prosperous horta (market garden). They brought, too, the silk, paper, and orange industries. The area is rich in monuments, many from its fifteenth century golden age, when the capital became the wealthiest city on the Western Mediterranean. This book discusses Sagunt's Roman theater and castle; Gandia, home to the ill-reputed Borja (or Borgia) family of popes; Elx, embraced by 200,000 palms; and Alcoi, anarchist stronghold. Michael Eaude discusses Valencia's art, literature, and architecture: the painters Ribera and light-filled Sorolla; the great medieval poet of anguish Ausiàs March.; Santiago Calatrava's architecture, which has given Valencia City trophy buildings that conjure flight from steel. Despite its continuing popularity as a tourist destination, there are still deserted beaches, sinister and beautiful marshland, orange groves, and a depopulated mountainous interior. Valencia: A Cultural History seeks to explain this contradictory and divided land, its identity stretched between the Spanish state and Catalonia"--,Provided by publisher.