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The Valencian Community is an autonomous community
Autonomous communities of Spain
An autonomous community In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian .*Galician .*Basque . The second article of the constitution recognizes the rights of "nationalities and regions" to self-government and declares the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation".Political power in Spain is...

 of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 located in central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

. Its capital and largest city is Valencia. The region is divided into three provinces
Provinces of Spain
Spain and its autonomous communities are divided into fifty provinces .In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian , sing. província.*Galician , sing. provincia.*Basque |Galicia]] — are not also the capitals of provinces...

: Alicante, Castellón and Valencia, and thirty four comarques.

It has 518 km of Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 coastline and covers 23,259 km² of land with 5.1 million inhabitants (2009). Its borders largely reflect those of the historic Kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

.

The current version of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy
Statute of Autonomy
Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy is a law hierarchically located under the constitution of a country, and over any other form of legislation...

 (2006) declares the Valencian Community a nationality of Spain. The official languages are Valencian
Valencian
Valencian is the traditional and official name of the Catalan language in the Valencian Community. There are dialectical differences from standard Catalan, and under the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua has been established as its regulator...

 (as Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

 is known in this territory) and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

.

Names


The official name of the autonomous community, Comunitat Valenciana, has seen a variety of renditions in English; including "Valencian Community", "Valencian Country", "Land of Valencia", "Region of Valencia" or most commonly, simply "Valencia". The Spanish name, Comunidad Valenciana, was co-official under the first Statute of Autonomy of 1982. At the present moment, the Valencian Government translates the name as "Region of Valencia" and, sometimes, "Land of Valencia", as the Department of Tourism states in publications edited both in Spanish and English.

Although Comunitat Valenciana, out of official consideration, is the most widely used name and the one that has become officially enshrined, there were two competing names at the time of the forging of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy
Statute of Autonomy
Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy is a law hierarchically located under the constitution of a country, and over any other form of legislation...

. On the one hand País Valencià (País Valenciano in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

), was first reported in the 18th century, but its usage only became noticeable from the 1960s onwards, with a left-wing or Valencian nationalist subtext which began with the Spanish Transition to democracy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It can be translated as "Valencian Country", or "Region of Valencia". An example of this use is the so-called Consell pre-autonòmic del País Valencià, the forerunner of the modern Generalitat Valenciana
Generalitat Valenciana
The Generalitat Valenciana is the generic name covering the different self government institutions under which the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia is politically organised....

 in 1978, and it is also referred to in the preamble of the Statute of Autonomy.

In order to solve the gap between the two competing names –the traditional Regne de València and the contemporary País Valencià– a compromise neologism, Comunitat Valenciana, was created ("Comunitat or Community" such as in Autonomous Community, which is the official name of the Spanish regions constituted as political autonomous entities).

In any case, the generic name of "Valencia" in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 could refer to the city of Valencia, the Valencia province
Valencia (province)
Valencia or València is a province of Spain, in the central part of the Valencian Community.It is bordered by the provinces of Alicante, Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel, Castellón, and the Mediterranean Sea...

 or the autonomous community.

History



The origins of present day Valencia date back to the former Kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

 (Regne de València), which came into existence in the 13th century. James I of Aragon
James I of Aragon
James I the Conqueror was the King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier from 1213 to 1276...

 led Christian conquest
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 and colonization of the existing Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic taifa
Taifa
In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom, though there was one oligarchy, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.-Rise:The origins of...

s
with Aragonese and Catalan people in 1208 and founded the Kingdom of Valencia as a third independent country within the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

 in 1238.

In 1707, in the context the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

, and by means of the Nueva Planta decrees
Nueva Planta decrees
The Nueva Planta decrees were a number of decrees signed between 1707 and 1716 by Philip V—the first Bourbon king of Spain—during and shortly after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession which he won....

, king Philip V of Spain
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

 subordinated the Kingdom of Valencia, and the rest of the countries belonging to the former Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

 and which had retained some autonomy, to the structure of the Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

 and its laws and customs. As a result of this, the institutions and laws created by the Furs of Valencia
Furs of Valencia
Furs of Valencia were the laws of the Kingdom of Valencia during most of Middle Ages and Early modern Europe. They were a series of charters which, altogether, worked similarly as a modern Constitution does now. Thus, they defined the position, and the checks and balances between the Royal House,...

 (Furs de València) were abolished and the usage of the Valencian language in official instances and education was forbidden. Consequently, with the House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

, a new Kingdom of Spain was formed implementing a more centralized government than the former Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

.

The first attempt to gain self-government for the Region of Valencia in modern-day Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 was during the 2nd Spanish Republic, in 1936, but the Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 broke out and the autonomist project was suspended. In 1977, after Franco's dictatorship Valencia started to be partially autonomous with the creation of the Consell Pre-autonòmic del País Valencià (Pre-autonomous Council of the Valencian Country), and in 1982 the self-government was finally extended into a Statute of Autonomy
Statute of Autonomy
Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy is a law hierarchically located under the constitution of a country, and over any other form of legislation...

 (devolved government) creating several self-government institutions under the Generalitat Valenciana
Generalitat Valenciana
The Generalitat Valenciana is the generic name covering the different self government institutions under which the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia is politically organised....

. The first democratically elected President of the Generalitat Valenciana
President of the Generalitat Valenciana
The President of the Generalitat Valenciana is the head of government of the Spanish autonomous community of Valencian Community. The President is chosen by the Valencian parliament, the Corts Valencianes.-List of Presidents of the Valencian Community:...

, Joan Lerma
Joan Lerma
Joan Lerma i Blasco is a Spanish politician for the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party , who served as the first democratically elected President of the Valencian Community since the restoration of democracy in the 1970s....

, took office in 1982 as part of the transition to autonomy.

The Valencian Statute of Autonomy
Statute of Autonomy
Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy is a law hierarchically located under the constitution of a country, and over any other form of legislation...

 make clear that Valencia is intended to be the modern conception of self-government of the Valencian Country from the first autonomist movements (autogovern) during Second Spanish Republic
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

, but also joining it to the traditional conception of Valencian identity, as being the successor to the historical Kingdom of Valencia (furs). In fact, after a bipartisan reform of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy in 2006, it records the foral civil law
Furs of Valencia
Furs of Valencia were the laws of the Kingdom of Valencia during most of Middle Ages and Early modern Europe. They were a series of charters which, altogether, worked similarly as a modern Constitution does now. Thus, they defined the position, and the checks and balances between the Royal House,...

, using the traditional conception of a kingdom, and, on the other hand, it also recognizes Valencia as a nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

, in accordance with the modern conception.

Relief



The inland part of the territory is craggy, with some of the highest peaks in the Valencia and Castellón provinces forming part of the Iberian mountain range
Sistema Ibérico
The Sistema Ibérico or Iberian System is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain.It is a vast and complex system of mountain chains and massifs located in the central regions of the Iberian Peninsula, but reaching almost the Mediterranean coast in the Land of Valencia in the east.From...

. The mountains in the Alicante province are in turn a part of the Subbaetic range.

The most emblematic mountain of the Valencian Community is the Penyagolosa
Penyagolosa
Penyagolosa is a mountain in the Alcalatén area, Valencian Community, Spain. Geologically it is part of the Iberian System, located at the eastern end of Iberian Peninsula. Its peak is at 1,813 meters above sea level and is often crowned with snow in the winter.The Penyagolosa is widely...

, in the Alcalatén
Alcalatén
Alcalatén is a comarca in the province of Castellón, Valencian Community, Spain.- Municipalities :*L'Alcora*Atzeneta del Maestrat*Benafigos*Xodos*Costur*Figueroles*Lucena del Cid*Useras*Vistabella del Maestrazgo...

 area. It is widely thought to be the highest peak with 1,813 m, but actually the highest peak is the Calderón (1,839 m) located in the Rincón de Ademuz
Rincón de Ademuz
Rincón de Ademuz is Spanish comarca constituted as an exclave of both the Region of Valencia and the province of Valencia located between the provinces of Cuenca and Teruel .-Overview:...

, a Valencian exclave between Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 and Castile-La Mancha
Castile-La Mancha
Castile-La Mancha is an autonomous community of Spain. Castile-La Mancha is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and Extremadura. It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain's autonomous communities...

. The most emblematic mountain in the southern part of the territory is the Aitana
Aitana
Aitana is a mountain massif that is part of Prebaetic System in the eastern end of Iberian Peninsula. Administratively, the mountainous area is located in the Marina Baixa, Alcoià and Comtat comarcas in the northern part of Alicante province, Valencian Community, Spain...

 (1,558 m).

The rather thin coastal strip is a very fertile
Fertile soil
Fertile soil has the following properties:*It is rich in nutrients necessary for basic plant nutrition, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium....

 plain mainly free of remarkable mountains except those around the Cap de la Nau
Cap de la Nau
The Cap de la Nau or Cabo de la Nao , literally “Cape of the Ship,” is a headland located central-eastern coastal Spain on the Gulf of Valencia, Mediterranean Sea...

 area in northern Alicante province and the Peníscola
Peñíscola
Peníscola or Peñíscola is a municipality in the province of Castellón, Valencian Community, Spain. The town is located on the Costa del Azahar, north of the Serra d'Irta along the Mediterranean coast...

 area in the Castellón province. Typical of this coastal area are wetlands and marshlands such as L'Albufera
Albufera
The Albufera is a saltwater lagoon and estuary on the Gulf of Valencia coast of the Valencian Community in eastern Spain. It is the main porton of the Parc Natural de l'Albufera , with a surface area of...

close to Valencia, El Fondo in Elx/Elche and Crevillent
Crevillent
Crevillent is a town and municipality located in the Alicante province, part of the Valencian Community, Spain. It is situated in the comarca of Baix Vinalopó, and lies at the foot of the hill range known locally as Serra de Crevillent...

, La Marjal near Pego
Pego, Alicante
Pego is a municipality located in the province of Alicante.Lying just inland from the northern Costa Blanca resort of Dénia, the town of Pego sits in a depression, surrounded by mountains...

 or El Prat in Cabanes, also the former wetlands and salt evaporation pond
Salt evaporation pond
Salt evaporation ponds, also called salterns or salt pans, are shallow artificial ponds designed to produce salts from sea water or other brines. The seawater or brine is fed into large ponds and water is drawn out through natural evaporation which allows the salt to be subsequently harvested...

s in the Santa Pola
Santa Pola
Santa Pola is a coastal town located in the comarca of Baix Vinalopó in the Valencian Community, Spain, by the Mediterranean Sea...

 and Torrevieja
Torrevieja
Torrevieja is a seaside city and municipality located on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, in south-eastern Spain.Torrevieja lies about 30 miles south of the city of Alicante and has a population of 104,000...

 area. All of them are key RAMSAR
Ramsar
Ramsar is a city in and the capital of Ramsar County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 31,659, in 9,421 families....

 sites which make Valencia of high relevance for both migratory and resident seabirds and waterbirds.

There are many important coastal dunes in the Saler area near the Albufera and in the Guardamar area, both of them were planted with thousands of trees during the 19th century in order to fix the dunes, thus forming now protected areas of remarkable ecologic value.

In addition to mainland Valencia, the Valencian territory administers the tiny Columbretes Islands
Columbretes Islands
The Columbretes Islands are a group of small uninhabited islets of volcanic origin, in the Mediterranean Sea, 49 km off Oropesa del Mar. Administratively they belong to Castelló de la Plana municipality, Valencian Community, Spain....

 and the coastal inhabited islet of Tabarca
Tabarca
Tabarca , is an islet located in the Mediterranean Sea, close to the town of Santa Pola, in the province of Alicante, Valencian community, Spain...

.

Climate



Valencia has a generally mild climate, heavily influenced by the neighbouring Mediterranean sea. Still, there are important differences between areas:
  • Proper Mediterranean climate
    Mediterranean climate
    A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

     (Köppen
    Köppen climate classification
    The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

     Csa). It roughly goes along the coastal plain from the northernmost border through the Benidorm area
    Marina Baixa
    Marina Baixa is a comarca in the Valencian Community, Spain. It is bordered by the comarques of Comtat on the northwest, Marina Alta on the northeast, Alacantí and Alcoià on the west and the Mediterranean Sea on the east....

     (cities included here are, amongst others, Castellón de la Plana
    Castellón de la Plana
    Castellón de la Plana or Castelló de la Plana is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea...

    , Gandia
    Gandia
    Gandia is a city and municipality in the Valencian Community, Eastern Spain on the Mediterranean. Gandia is located on the Costa del Azahar, 65 km south of Valencia and 96 km north of Alicante....

     and Valencia). It covers in various grades the lower inland areas. In this area, winters are cool, summers are long, dry and hot; rainfall occurs mostly during spring and autumn, usually totalling around 600 mm. with a remarkably wetter micro climate in the Marina Alta
    Marina Alta
    Marina Alta is a comarca in the province of Alicante, Valencian Community, Spain.- Municipalities :*Adsubia*Alcalalí*Beniarbeig*Benidoleig*Benigembla*Benimeli*Benissa*Benitachell/El Poble Nou de Benitatxell*Calp*Castell de Castells*Dénia...

     and the Safor
    Safor
    Safor is a comarca within the province of Valencia, Spain. The capital is the city of Gandia, but also includes the towns of Oliva, Piles and Daimús, among others...

     comarques just north of Cap de la Nau
    Cap de la Nau
    The Cap de la Nau or Cabo de la Nao , literally “Cape of the Ship,” is a headland located central-eastern coastal Spain on the Gulf of Valencia, Mediterranean Sea...

     cape, which accumulates an average of up to 1000 mm. due to an orographic lift
    Orographic lift
    Orographic lift occurs when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain. As the air mass gains altitude it quickly cools down adiabatically, which can raise the relative humidity to 100% and create clouds and, under the right conditions,...

     phenomenon.
  • Mediterranean to continental Mediterranean climate (Köppen
    Köppen climate classification
    The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

     Csa) and highland climate (Köppen
    Köppen climate classification
    The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

     H). These are the innermost lands and those at a higher elevation (cities included here are, amongst others, Alcoi, Morella, Requena
    Requena
    Requena may refer to:*Peru** Requena, Loreto, a town and capital of the Requena Province in the Loreto Region*Spain** Requena, Valencia, a town in the Valencian Community** Utiel-Requena wine producing region in the Valencian Community...

     and Villena
    Villena
    Villena is a city in Spain, in the Valencian Community. It is located at the northwest part of Alicante, and borders to the west with Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, to the north with the province of Valencia and to the east and south with the province of Alicante. It is the capital of the comarca...

    ). Here winters are cool to cold, especially at night (a few days of snow are not unusual), summers mild to hot and rainfall more evenly distributed through the year. The lower registered temperatures in the Valencian Community were in these inland areas during the cold wave of 1956. Temperatures plunged to nearly -20°C; as in Vistabella del Maestrat (-19°C) and Castellfort (-17°C).
  • Mediterranean to semi-arid climate (Köppen
    Köppen climate classification
    The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

     BSk). It roughly goes along the coastal plain from La Vila Joiosa
    La Vila Joiosa
    Villajoyosa or La Vila Joiosa is a coastal town and municipality in the province of Alicante, Valencian Community, Spain, by the Mediterranean Sea....

     through the southernmost border of the region (cities included here are, amongst others, Alicante
    Alicante
    Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

    , Elx/Elche, Orihuela
    Orihuela
    Orihuela is a city and municipality located at the feet of the Sierra de Orihuela mountains in the province of Alicante, Spain. The city of Orihuela had a population of 32,472 inhabitants in the beginning of 2006...

     and Torrevieja
    Torrevieja
    Torrevieja is a seaside city and municipality located on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, in south-eastern Spain.Torrevieja lies about 30 miles south of the city of Alicante and has a population of 104,000...

    ). Summers are very long, hot to very hot and very dry, winters are cool to mild and its most prominent feature is a very scarce precipitation, typically below 300 mm. per year which is most likely to happen during spring and autumn. The reason for this lack of precipitation is the marked rain shadow
    Rain shadow
    A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

     effect caused by hills to the west of the Alicante province (and, to a lesser degree, those in the northern part of the province which, in turn, enhance the inverse orographic lift effect around Cap de la Nau
    Cap de la Nau
    The Cap de la Nau or Cabo de la Nao , literally “Cape of the Ship,” is a headland located central-eastern coastal Spain on the Gulf of Valencia, Mediterranean Sea...

    ).

Hydrography


There are only two major rivers: the Segura
Segura
Segura is a medium-sized river in southeastern Spain.It starts at Santiago Pontones , passes Calasparra, Cieza, Murcia, Beniaján, Orihuela, Rojales and ends in the Mediterranean Sea near Guardamar del Segura in the province of Alicante...

 in the Alicante province (whose source is in Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

) and the Júcar
Júcar
The Júcar or Xúquer is a river on the Iberian Peninsula of Spain. The river runs for approximately 509 km from its source at Ojuelos de Valdeminguete, on the eastern flank of the Montes Universales, Sistema Ibérico...

 (Valencian: Xúquer) in the Valencia province (whose source is in Castile-La Mancha
Castile-La Mancha
Castile-La Mancha is an autonomous community of Spain. Castile-La Mancha is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and Extremadura. It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain's autonomous communities...

) both are subjected to very intense human regulation for cities, industries and -specially- agricultural consumption. The river Turia
Turia
Turia can refer to:*Turia , a river in southeastern Spain*Turía , a small river in northern Spain*Turía , a small Web development company in india*Turia Valley, a valley in northern Spain...

 (Valencian: Túria) is the third largest and has its source in Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

. Most rivers
Arroyo (creek)
An arroyo , a Spanish word translated as brook, and also called a wash is usually a dry creek or stream bed—gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. Wadi is a similar term in Africa. In Spain, a rambla has a similar meaning to arroyo.-Types and processes:Arroyos...

 in the area, such as the Vinalopó
Vinalopó
The Vinalopó is a small river flowing through the Alicante province, of Spain. It flows from north to south and, with a length of 81 km., it is the longest of the rivers which flows for its entire length within the limits of this province...

, are usually short, and have little current (due to agricultural usage, climatic reasons or both) and often completely dry during the summer. Other Valencian rivers are the Serpis
Serpis
The Serpis is a short coastal river in the provinces of Alicante and Valencia, in Spain.The river starts at the feet of the Carrasqueta, a mountain area southwest to Alcoi, by the confluence of the Polop and Troncal streams. In its initial part the Serpis is intermittent. Near Alcoi it joins with...

 and Sénia
Sénia River
The Sénia River is a river in the provinces of Castellón and Tarragona, Spain. It begins its course at 1,200 m in the Barranc del Salt, Ports de Beseit. limestone massif near La Pobla de Benifassà....

.

Demographics



The Valencian population traditionally concentrated in localities with fertile
Fertile soil
Fertile soil has the following properties:*It is rich in nutrients necessary for basic plant nutrition, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium....

 cultivation and growing lowlands by the most important rivers (Júcar
Júcar
The Júcar or Xúquer is a river on the Iberian Peninsula of Spain. The river runs for approximately 509 km from its source at Ojuelos de Valdeminguete, on the eastern flank of the Montes Universales, Sistema Ibérico...

, Turia
Turia River
The Turia or Túria is a Spanish river which has its source in the Montes Universales, amidst the mountain ranges of the northwesternmost end of the Sistema Ibérico, Teruel province. From its source to roughly the city of Teruel, it is called Guadalaviar river...

, Segura
Segura
Segura is a medium-sized river in southeastern Spain.It starts at Santiago Pontones , passes Calasparra, Cieza, Murcia, Beniaján, Orihuela, Rojales and ends in the Mediterranean Sea near Guardamar del Segura in the province of Alicante...

, Vinalopó
Vinalopó
The Vinalopó is a small river flowing through the Alicante province, of Spain. It flows from north to south and, with a length of 81 km., it is the longest of the rivers which flows for its entire length within the limits of this province...

), also in harbour cities important to the agricultural trade.

The most important population centers used to be, during the Roman times, Sagunt and Dénia
Dénia
Dénia is a city in the province of Alicante, Spain, on the Costa Blanca halfway between Alicante and Valencia, the judicial seat of the comarca of Marina Alta...

; later on in history, Valencia, Alicante
Alicante
Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

, Xàtiva
Xàtiva
Xàtiva is a town in eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia, on the right bank of the river Albaida and at the junction of the Valencia–Murcia and Valencia Albacete railways....

, Orihuela
Orihuela
Orihuela is a city and municipality located at the feet of the Sierra de Orihuela mountains in the province of Alicante, Spain. The city of Orihuela had a population of 32,472 inhabitants in the beginning of 2006...

, Elx/Elche, Gandia
Gandia
Gandia is a city and municipality in the Valencian Community, Eastern Spain on the Mediterranean. Gandia is located on the Costa del Azahar, 65 km south of Valencia and 96 km north of Alicante....

, and Vila-real
Vila-real
Vila-real is a city in the province of Castellón, in the Valencian Community, Spain. Located 7 km to the south of the province's capital , at 42 m above sea level, it has 51,367 inhabitants , most of them living in the urban area that covers about 10.72% of its county's 55.4 km2 surface...

 and, more recently, Alzira
Alzira, Valencia
Alzira is a town and municipality of 45,000 inhabitants in Valencia, eastern Spain. It is the capital of the comarca of Ribera Alta in the province of Valencia.-Geographic situation:...

 and Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana or Castelló de la Plana is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea...

.

With a total population of 5,111,706 (2009), the Valencian Community ranks the 4th most populated autonomous community of Spain. The population density which is higher in the central and southern regions and minor in the northern and inner ones, is derived from the traditional distribution of people which originated
in the orographic characteristics of the Valencian territory and the possibility to obtain irrigated land agriculture. Demographics were also affected by (being perhaps the exception to the mentioned distribution) the great industrial activity and the commerce of agriculturally derived products during the 20th century of noncoastal cities like Alcoi, Elda
Elda
Elda is a city located in the province of Alicante, Spain. , it has a total population of 55,618 inhabitants, ranking as the 7th most populous city in the province. Elda joins together with the town of Petrer to form a conurbation with over 85,000 inhabitants...

, Ontinyent, Petrer
Petrer
Petrer is a town located in the comarca of Vinalopó Mitjà, in the province of Alicante, Spain.Petrer joins together with the city of Elda to form a conurbation with over 95,000 inhabitants...

, Villena
Villena
Villena is a city in Spain, in the Valencian Community. It is located at the northwest part of Alicante, and borders to the west with Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, to the north with the province of Valencia and to the east and south with the province of Alicante. It is the capital of the comarca...

, and La Vall d'Uixó
La Vall d'Uixó
La Vall d'Uixó is a town situated in eastern Spain, in the Valencian province of Castellón. La Vall is located 25 km to the south of the province's capital Castellón, 45 km to the north of the community’s capital Valencia and 8 km to the Mediterranean Sea, so it is at 118 m...

.

In the last years, concentration in the provincial capitals and its metropolitan areas has augmented considerably (e.g. Torrent
Torrent, Valencia
Torrent is a city located within the metropolitan area of the city of Valencia, Spain. It is the largest municipality of the Horta Sud comarca, with 79,843 inhabitants . It is situated some 7 km from Valencia city proper, to which it is connected via the...

, Mislata
Mislata
Mislata is a municipality in the Valencian Community, in Spain. It has borders with the city of Valencia and Quart de Poblet in the west and Xirivella in the south.-Population:...

, Paterna
Paterna
Paterna is a municipality in the province of Valencia in the Valencian Community, Spain. It is located northeast of the comarca of La Huerta de Valencia, 5 km northwest of Valencia, and on the left bank of the river Turia...

, Burjassot
Burjassot
Burjassot is a municipality in the comarca of Horta Nord in the Valencian Community, Spain. The footballer José Carlos Cerveró was born there on 11th December 1979....

, San Vicente del Raspeig/Sant Vicent del Raspeig, etc.) especially in all the coastal cities and towns. Thus, traditionally small populations such as Benidorm
Benidorm
Benidorm is a coastal town and municipality located in the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Valencian community, Spain, by the Western Mediterranean....

 or Torrevieja
Torrevieja
Torrevieja is a seaside city and municipality located on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, in south-eastern Spain.Torrevieja lies about 30 miles south of the city of Alicante and has a population of 104,000...

 have undergone a considerable population increase (still more remarkable during summertime) due to the seasonal migration of tourists.

Therefore, Valencia's population is nowadays clearly urban and coastal, also influenced by seasonal tourism. See major core cities (municipalities) and metropolitan areas of the Land of Valencia:
Rank Municipality Province Population
1 Valencia  Valencia  809,267
2 Alicante
Alicante
Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

 
Alicante  334,418
3 Elx/Elche  Alicante  230,822
5 Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana or Castelló de la Plana is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea...

 
Castellón  180,690
6 Torrevieja
Torrevieja
Torrevieja is a seaside city and municipality located on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, in south-eastern Spain.Torrevieja lies about 30 miles south of the city of Alicante and has a population of 104,000...

 
Alicante  101,091
7 Orihuela
Orihuela
Orihuela is a city and municipality located at the feet of the Sierra de Orihuela mountains in the province of Alicante, Spain. The city of Orihuela had a population of 32,472 inhabitants in the beginning of 2006...

 
Alicante  87,113
8 Torrent
Torrent, Valencia
Torrent is a city located within the metropolitan area of the city of Valencia, Spain. It is the largest municipality of the Horta Sud comarca, with 79,843 inhabitants . It is situated some 7 km from Valencia city proper, to which it is connected via the...

 
Valencia  79,843
9 Gandia
Gandia
Gandia is a city and municipality in the Valencian Community, Eastern Spain on the Mediterranean. Gandia is located on the Costa del Azahar, 65 km south of Valencia and 96 km north of Alicante....

 
Valencia  79,430
10 Benidorm
Benidorm
Benidorm is a coastal town and municipality located in the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Valencian community, Spain, by the Western Mediterranean....

 
Alicante  71,198
 
Rank Metropolitan Areas Province Population
1 Valencia  Valencia  1,705,742
2 Alicante
Alicante
Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

–Elx/Elche 
Alicante  785,020
3 Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana or Castelló de la Plana is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea...

 
Castellón  386,906
4 Alzira
Alzira, Valencia
Alzira is a town and municipality of 45,000 inhabitants in Valencia, eastern Spain. It is the capital of the comarca of Ribera Alta in the province of Valencia.-Geographic situation:...

Xàtiva
Xàtiva
Xàtiva is a town in eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia, on the right bank of the river Albaida and at the junction of the Valencia–Murcia and Valencia Albacete railways....

 
Valencia  348,582
5 Benidorm
Benidorm
Benidorm is a coastal town and municipality located in the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Valencian community, Spain, by the Western Mediterranean....

La Vila Joiosa
La Vila Joiosa
Villajoyosa or La Vila Joiosa is a coastal town and municipality in the province of Alicante, Valencian Community, Spain, by the Mediterranean Sea....

 
Alicante  183,253

Economics


Valencia conforms an elongated territory, with a rather steep and irregular orography that has made communications and the exploitation of the soil historically difficult, despite the soil being particularly fertile
Fertile soil
Fertile soil has the following properties:*It is rich in nutrients necessary for basic plant nutrition, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium....

 in the coastal plain. This coastal axis has facilitated connections with Europe, either by sea through the Mediterranean, or by land through Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

.

The natural resources of the Valencian territory are small with regard to minerals other than the important marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 quarrying industry in the Alicante province.

As for hydrological resources (see Geography above) there is a demand of water superior to the supply, making this imbalance especially serious in the Alicante province. In years when drought is particularly severe, the problem is mitigated if necessary, with occasional nocturnal restrictions during Summer and water-bearing subterraneans exploitation. This remains a source of harsh controversy over hydrological resources with neighbouring regions such as Castile-La Mancha
Castile-La Mancha
Castile-La Mancha is an autonomous community of Spain. Castile-La Mancha is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and Extremadura. It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain's autonomous communities...

 and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

.

Due to the secondary and tertiary sectors boom by the times of the Spanish miracle
Spanish miracle
The Spanish miracle was the name given to a broadly based economic boom in Spain from 1959 to 1974. The international oil and stagflation crises of the 1970s ended the boom.- The pre-boom situation :...

 during the 1960s, the agricultural sector has seen its relative importance reduced over time (not so the absolute figures), but it remains to be credited -under the form of citrus
Citrus
Citrus is a common term and genus of flowering plants in the rue family, Rutaceae. Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China...

 cultivation for the export market- for the first economic boom by the late 19th century after centuries of slow development, if not decay. Castellón
Castellón (province)
Castellón or Castelló is a province in the northern part of the Valencian Community, Spain. It is bordered by the provinces of Valencia to the south, Teruel to the west, Tarragona to the north, and by the Mediterranean Sea to the east. The western side of the province is in the mountainous...

 and Valencia provinces still have thousands of hectares of citrus producing groves and it continues to be a major source of income on the countryside. In the Alicante province
Alicante (province)
Alicante or Alacant is a province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the Valencian Community. It is bordered by the provinces of Murcia on the southwest, Albacete on the west, Valencia on the north, and the Mediterranean Sea on the east...

, citrus is also present but agriculture is more diversified with a higher presence of vegetables, especially in the Vega Baja del Segura
Vega Baja del Segura
Vega Baja del Segura is a comarca in the province of Alicante, Valencian Community, Spain.To the North its neighbouring comarcas are the Baix Vinalopó and Vinalopó Mitjà...

 area.

The high insulation rate and overall stable weather which during the Summer may pose a threat to water supplies either for agricultural or human consumption, conversely allow tourism to be the main economic industry with a very high density of residential housing along the coast occupied by locals, people from inland Spain and from other EU countries (mostly from the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

, Benelux
Benelux
The Benelux is an economic union in Western Europe comprising three neighbouring countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. These countries are located in northwestern Europe between France and Germany...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

) which seasonally boost population (and hydrological demands) in the summertime.

In 2004, Valencia's GDP was 93.9% of the European Union average even though this figure may be affected positively by the important presence of foreign residents either from other regions of Europe or economic immigrants which are not properly represented in the official statistics. Growth rates after 2004 have been significant in overall Spain and additional progress from present figures is going on as of 2007.

In 2008, the Land of Valencia generated 9.7% of the Spanish GDP. In human resources, the rate of unemployment was located over 21% in 2009 being greater among women, and the rate of activity reached 56.8% in 2002. The typical Valencian business is rather small and medium company, mainly family-owned and operated, although there are some multinationals.

In addition to tourism, the Valencian economy is characterized by a marked exporting dimension, being the second exporting Spanish autonomous community, constituting 12% of the national total. The major exports are agricultural products, ceramic tiles, marble products and cars (Ford has an assembly line in Almussafes
Almussafes
Almussafes is a municipality in the comarca of Ribera Baixa in the Valencian Community, Spain.The town of Almussafes is host for an important factory of the Ford Motor Company....

) among others, which make the port of Valencia one the busiest in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

.

In 2010, the Valencian Community ranked the 100th largest country subdivision by GDP (nominal), just behind Rio Grande do Sul state (Brazil) and ahead Nord-Pas-de-Calais (France).

Institutions of government: La Generalitat



In the process whereby democracy was restored in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 between 1975–1978, the nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 and regionalist
Regionalism (politics)
Regionalism is a term used in international relations. Regionalism also constitutes one of the three constituents of the international commercial system...

 parties pressed to grant home rule
Home rule
Home rule is the power of a constituent part of a state to exercise such of the state's powers of governance within its own administrative area that have been devolved to it by the central government....

 to certain territories in Spain. The constitution of 1978 opened a legal way for autonomous communities to be formed from provinces with common historical and cultural links. In recognition of the Region of Valencia as a historical nationality
Historical regions of Spain
Historical regions of Spain can refer to:*"Nationalities" or "historical nationalities" , a constitutional term used to refer to autonomous communities in Spain that are granted special status .*The "historical regions" identified in the text of the 1833...

 of Spain, and in accordance to the second article of the Spanish Constitution which grants autonomy to the "nationalities and regions" that comprise the Spanish nation, Valencia was granted self-government and constituted itself as an autonomous community in 1982, with the promulgation of its first Statute of Autonomy
Statute of Autonomy
Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy is a law hierarchically located under the constitution of a country, and over any other form of legislation...

, the basic organic law, later approved by the General Courts of Spain.

All autonomous communities were organized politically within a parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

; that is, the executive branch of government. The "President" is dependent on the direct support of the legislative power, whose members elect him by majority
Majority
A majority is a subset of a group consisting of more than half of its members. This can be compared to a plurality, which is a subset larger than any other subset; i.e. a plurality is not necessarily a majority as the largest subset may consist of less than half the group's population...

.

A new Statute of Autonomy was promulgated in 2006. The government of Valencia is represented by the Generalitat Valenciana
Generalitat Valenciana
The Generalitat Valenciana is the generic name covering the different self government institutions under which the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia is politically organised....

 (statutorily referred to simply as La Generalitat) constituted by three institutions:
  • the Corts Valencianes
    Corts Valencianes
    The Corts Valencianes are the main legislative body of the Generalitat Valenciana and therefore of the Valencian Community. The main location of the Corts is in the Palace of Benicarló in Valencia; however it can meet at any location in Valencian territory. The Corts has its origins in bodies...

     (Valencian parliament), the legislature
    Legislature
    A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

    , which is to be integrated by a minimum of ninety-two representatives (diputats) elected through universal suffrage
    Universal suffrage
    Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

     by proportional representation
    Proportional representation
    Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

     for a four-year period;

  • the President of the Generalitat Valenciana
    President of the Generalitat Valenciana
    The President of the Generalitat Valenciana is the head of government of the Spanish autonomous community of Valencian Community. The President is chosen by the Valencian parliament, the Corts Valencianes.-List of Presidents of the Valencian Community:...

     elected by the Courts from which s/he must obtain the vote of confidence; the current President is Alberto Fabra Part.

  • the Council of the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian government), a collegiate institution with executive powers, integrated by the President him/herself and the cabinet members appointed by him/her.


The Generalitat can also be integrated by the institutions that the Valencian Courts create. The Courts have approved the creation of the Síndic de Greuges (the Ombudsman
Ombudsman
An ombudsman is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some internal or external constituency while representing not only but mostly the broad scope of constituent interests...

), the Sindicatura de Comptes (Public Audit Office), the Consell Valencià de Cultura (Valencian Council of Culture), the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua , also known by the acronym AVL, is an institution created on September 16, 1998 by the Valencian Parliament, which belongs to the set of official institutions that compose the Generalitat Valenciana, according to the Act of Autonomy of the Valencian...

 (Valencian Academy of the Language), the Juridic and Consultative Council and the Social and Economic Committee.

Valencian symbols



The official Valencian anthem is the Hymn of the Regional Exhibition of 1909 (in Valencian, L'Himne de l'Exposició), in whose composition the old hymn of the City of Valencia of the 16th century is included. The emblem of the Valencian Generalitat includes the seal of King Peter IV of Aragon
Peter IV of Aragon
Peter IV, , called el Cerimoniós or el del punyalet , was the King of Aragon, King of Sardinia and Corsica , King of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona Peter IV, (Balaguer, September 5, 1319 – Barcelona, January 6, 1387), called el Cerimoniós ("the Ceremonious") or el del punyalet ("the one...

, representative of the historical Kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

, whose shield is inclined towards the right, or, four bars Gules.

The official flag, also known as Senyera Coronada or Crowned Senyera is the same as Valencia's City flag, which, in turn, is a historical derivation of the Senyera
Senyera
The Senyera is a vexillological symbol based on the coat of arms of the Crown of Aragon, which consists of four red stripes on a golden background...

, the heraldic symbol of the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

, also used today with few variations in all the former Kingdoms and Counties which were a part of this crown. There are also a number of Valencian private and civil entities such as trade unions, cultural associations, or political parties which simply use the Senyera as Valencian flag.

Other symbols are used at different levels by the Valencian society, like the heraldic animals of rat-penat (a bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

) and drac alat (a winged dragon which was the emblem of James I
James I of Aragon
James I the Conqueror was the King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier from 1213 to 1276...

), or the music of the Muixeranga
Muixeranga
The Muixeranga is the collective name given to the performance of ancient street dances and human castles, originating in the Valencian Community, which are still preserved in the town of Algemesí, 30 km southwest from Valencia....

, among others.

Languages


Valencian
Valencian
Valencian is the traditional and official name of the Catalan language in the Valencian Community. There are dialectical differences from standard Catalan, and under the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua has been established as its regulator...

 and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 are the official languages of Valencia. Spanish is the official language of the Spanish state,Spanish is referred too as castellano (Valencian
Valencian
Valencian is the traditional and official name of the Catalan language in the Valencian Community. There are dialectical differences from standard Catalan, and under the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua has been established as its regulator...

 castellà) a term that has a wider meaning than the English term Castilian, and, depending on context, can refer to either the entire Spanish language or just the dialects spoken on the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

.
while Valencian is the language considered by the Statute of Autonomy as llengua pròpia ("own language" or "language proper" to the territory). Valencian is traditionally spoken in the densely populated coastal areas rather than inland, where many places have Spanish as their traditional language, also those areas incorporated into the provinces
Provinces of Spain
Spain and its autonomous communities are divided into fifty provinces .In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian , sing. província.*Galician , sing. provincia.*Basque |Galicia]] — are not also the capitals of provinces...

 of Alicante
Alicante (province)
Alicante or Alacant is a province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the Valencian Community. It is bordered by the provinces of Murcia on the southwest, Albacete on the west, Valencia on the north, and the Mediterranean Sea on the east...

 and Valencia
Valencia (province)
Valencia or València is a province of Spain, in the central part of the Valencian Community.It is bordered by the provinces of Alicante, Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel, Castellón, and the Mediterranean Sea...

 at their creation in 1833
1833 territorial division of Spain
The 1833 territorial division of Spain divided Spain into provinces, classified into "historic regions" . on the official web site of the government of the Canary Islands, accessed 2009-12-31...

 and which did not form part of the historical Kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

. Consequently, the 1984 Law on the "Use and Education of Valencian" defines certain municipalities
Municipalities of Spain
The municipalities of Spain In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian , sing. municipi.*Galician or , sing. municipio/bisbarra.*Basque , sing. udalerria. are the basic level of Spanish local government...

 as "predominantly Spanish-speaking", and allows them some few optional exceptions as to official use of Valencian, even though the right to use and to receive education in Valencian is guaranteed by the Statute of Autonomy (Art. 6.2) anywhere in Valencia.
Knowledge of Valencian in
the Valencian Community
Can understand 76%
Can speak 53%
Can read 47%
Can write 25%
Source: Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua , also known by the acronym AVL, is an institution created on September 16, 1998 by the Valencian Parliament, which belongs to the set of official institutions that compose the Generalitat Valenciana, according to the Act of Autonomy of the Valencian...

 (2004). Enquesta sobre la situació del valencià.


Even in areas which formed part of the former Kingdom of Valencia, the knowledge and use of Valencian has diminished by language shift
Language shift
Language shift, sometimes referred to as language transfer or language replacement or assimilation, is the progressive process whereby a speech community of a language shifts to speaking another language. The rate of assimilation is the percentage of individuals with a given mother tongue who speak...

 (especially relevant during the Francoist era
Language politics in Spain under Franco
Language politics in Francoist Spain centered on attempts in Spain under Franco to increase the dominance of the Spanish language over the other languages of Spain.The regime of Francisco Franco had Spanish nationalism as one of its bases....

) also influenced by immigration from other parts of Spain and the world. The knowledge of Valencian in those areas defined as "predominantly Valencian-speaking" by the Generalitat Valenciana
Generalitat Valenciana
The Generalitat Valenciana is the generic name covering the different self government institutions under which the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia is politically organised....

 (83% can understand, 58% can speak) is scarcely any higher than in Valencia as a whole (see table).

Valencian is regulated by the Valencian Academy of the Language (Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua , also known by the acronym AVL, is an institution created on September 16, 1998 by the Valencian Parliament, which belongs to the set of official institutions that compose the Generalitat Valenciana, according to the Act of Autonomy of the Valencian...

, AVL), created in 1998. The law that instituted the Academy, originally declared that Valencian was part of the same linguistic system that the former territories of the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

—namely Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 and the Balearic Islands
Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital...

—recognize as their "own language" or "language proper" to their territories. Note, that, as of 1996, Valencian was considered a dialect of Catalan by most linguists. However, in a subsequent official statement, in 2005, the AVL stated that the language spoken in Valencia is the same language that is spoken in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, and that the different varieties constituted a "single language" which refers to the term "linguistic system" used in the previous law. The Institute of Catalan Studies (Institut d'Estudis Catalans
Institut d'Estudis Catalans
The Institut d'Estudis Catalans , also known by the acronym IEC, is an academic institution which seeks to undertake research and study into "all elements of Catalan culture"....

, IEC), also considers Catalan and Valencian to be the same language. Even though phonetic differences are evident, written standard Valencian differs only slightly from written standard Central Catalan. There is also a Valencian Sign Language
Valencian Sign Language
Valencian Sign Language is a sign language used by deaf people in the Valencian Community, Spain. Some linguists consider LSV, Spanish Sign Language and Catalan Sign Language as variants related to a language group, while others believe it is a dialect of the latter...

 which has been granted a special protection from the Statute of Autonomy for those Valencian deaf persons.

Many Valencians, as well as the Valencian political parties, think that early Valencian literature preceded Catalan literature; they consider Catalan to be a product or early Valencian and a different language. Politically, it's feared that placing Valencian as a dialect of Catalan will put Valencia in a vulnerable position in front of Catalonia.

Aside from the purely philologic criteria, the traditional and usual term to name the language in Valencia is "Valencian". The widespread usage of this term by citizenry and all major parties does not necessarily deny nor endorse its Catalan linguistic filiation. Both Catalan and Valencian have slightly different standards, something which has produced some confusion as to whether they are both regarded as the same language or not. Thus, some Spanish government documents contain different versions for Catalonia and Valencia, then, in the 2005 referendum to approve the proposed European Constitution the Spanish government at first distributed identical translations of the Constitutional Treaty in standard Catalan, the same for Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 and Valencia. This provoked a vocal reaction of the Valencian regional government demanding the translation to be in standard Valencian, once it was approved, then, in turn, the Catalan government, as a means to endorse philologic identity between Catalan and Valencian, assumed the Valencian standard and did not use the standard Catalan one in the leaflets used in Catalonia.

In this regard, the main conservative party in Valencia, the ruling People's Party
People's Party (Spain)
The People's Party is a conservative political party in Spain.The People's Party was a re-foundation in 1989 of the People's Alliance , a party led and founded by Manuel Fraga Iribarne, a former Minister of Tourism during Francisco Franco's dictatorship...

, mostly does not address the question about the filiation of Catalan and Valencian, while, effectively, endorsing the Valencian standard which is most consistent with Catalan; in spite of this, it may be quite vocal in reacting and defending "Valencian translations" in occasions like the one of the European referendum mentioned above. Furthermore, the PP it includes a right-wing group sympathetic or absorbed from the Blaverism
Blaverism
Blaverism is a body of ideas in the Valencian Community, Spain that emerged with the Spanish transition to democracy after the death of Francisco Franco, and characterised by its opposition to Joan Fuster's book Nosaltres, els valencians , which revived the concept of Països Catalans which...

 movement, which opposes considering these two as a single language.

Education



State Education in Spain and the Valencian Community is free and compulsory from six to sixteen years of age. The current education system is called LOE .

Levels

  • From three to six years: Preparatory School (Spanish and Valencian: Infantil, popularly known as Preescolar)
  • From six to twelve years: Primary School (Spanish: Primaria, Valencian: Primària)
  • From twelve to sixteen years: Compulsory Secondary School (Spanish: Secundaria, Valencian: Secundària)
  • From sixteen to eighteen years: Post-Secondary School (Spanish: Bachillerato, Valencian: Batxillerat)


Children from three to five years old in the Valencian Community have the option of attending the infantil or Pre-school stage, which is non-compulsory and free for all students. It is regarded as an integral part of the education system with infantil classes in almost every primary school. There are some separate nursery schools.

Valencian students aged six to sixteen undergo primary and secondary school
Secondary school
Secondary school is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place...

 education, which are compulsory and free of charge. Successful students are awarded a Secondary Education Certificate, which is necessary for entering further (optional) education as for their University or Vocational Studies.
Once students have finished their Bachillerato (Valencian: Batxillerat), they can take their University Entrance Exam (Spanish: Pruebas de Acesso a la Universidad, Valencian: Proves d'Accés a la Universitat), known commonly in Spanish as La Selectividad (Valencian: Selectivitat) which differs greatly from region to region.

The secondary stage of education is normally referred to by their initials, e.g. ESO standing for Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (Valencian: Educació Secundària Obligatòria).

Universities


The Valencian Community is home to a number of prestigious universities (Spanish: universidades, Valencian: universitats) like the University of Valencia, founded in 1499. At the request of James I of Aragon
James I of Aragon
James I the Conqueror was the King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier from 1213 to 1276...

, Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV , born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was pope from June 25, 1243 until his death in 1254.-Early life:...

 in 1246, authorized by a papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 the establishment of estudis generals in Valencia. The University Statutes were passed by the municipal magistrates of Valencia on April 30, 1499; this is considered to be the 'founding' of the University. In 1501, Pope Alexander VI signed the bill of approval and one year later Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 proclaimed the Royal Mandatory Concession. Only very meagre accounts have been preserved of the practical workings of the university. From the time of its foundation the courses included Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, Canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

, and medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

.

Nowadays the Polytechnic University of Valencia
Polytechnic University of Valencia
The Polytechnic University of Valencia is a Spanish university located in Valencia, with a focus on science and technology. It was founded in 1968 as the Higher Polytechnic School of Valencia and became a university in 1971, but some of its schools are more than 100 years old.- Characteristics...

 has become one of the most prestigious universities in Spain, according to its technology, investigation, several degrees offering and closed relations with the most important universities in the world such as Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard. Most faculties and colleges are seat in the city of Valencia, with some branches in Gandia and Alcoi.

Other universities are University of Alicante
University of Alicante
The University of Alicante was established in 1979 on the basis of the Center for University Studies , which was founded in 1968. The University main campus is located in San Vicente del Raspeig/Sant Vicent del Raspeig, bordering the city of Alicante to the north...

, Miguel Hernández University in Elx/Elche, Jaume I University
Jaume I University
The Jaume I University is a university in the city of Castellón de la Plana, Spain. It was founded in 1991, and in 2003 there were approximately 13,000 students enrolled....

 and Valencian International University
Valencian International University
The Valencian International University is a private university, created as a non-profit making organisation with an international scope recognised by the Ministry of Education, and with headquarters in Castellón de la Plana, Valencian Community ....

 in Castellón de la Plana, Catholic University of Valencia
Valencia Catholic University Saint Vincent Martyr
Valencia Catholic University Saint Vincent Martyr is a private, catholic university, located in Valencia, Spain....

, and CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia.

Air



The Valencian Community is served by two international airports, Alicante Airport
Alicante Airport
Alicante Airport , , originally named El Altet, is the sixth busiest airport in Spain, and the main airport for the Province of Alicante and the Region of Murcia. The airport is situated southwest of Alicante and east of Elche in the municipality of Elche on Mediterranean coast. Up to eighty...

, which is mainly tourist-oriented and Valencia Airport
Valencia Airport
Valencia Airport in Manises , also known as Manises Airport, is the 8th busiest Spanish airport in terms of passengers and second in the region after Alicante. It is situated west of the city of Valencia. The airport has flight connections to about 15 European countries and 4.9 million passengers...

, which carries more business traffic. There is a third airport located in the north of the Valencian territory, in Castellón province. The airport was officially opened on 25 March 2011, however it is still inoperative.

Currently, there is also a new terminal being built at Alicante Airport which is expected to open by the end of March 2011. New Alicante Terminal (NAT) will replace the other two existing terminals T1 and T2, doubling the passenger capacity of the airport to 20m passengers per annum. Valencia airport is also being expanded to serve the higher passenger demand due to new flight connections to the city.

Train



The Valencian Community has a quite extended rail system which connects the principal cities with the rest of Spain such as the Euromed
Euromed (train)
Euromed is a high speed rail service which uses series 101 EMU rolling stock with bogies adapted for use on the 1,668mm Iberian gauge track. Traction current, supplied by overhead lines, can be either 3,000 volts, direct current or 25,000 volts, 50 Hz, alternating current...

 towards Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 and Alaris
Alaris
Alaris is the brand name of the regional rail network run by the Spanish national rail company RENFE that connects the major cities of Madrid and Valencia, and Barcelona and the main cities of the Valencian community...

 towards Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, or northern and southern Spain, both run by the Spanish national rail company RENFE
RENFE
Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

.

In December 2010 was opened the high speed rail (AVE
AVE
Alta Velocidad Española is a service of high-speed rail in Spain operated by Renfe, the Spanish national railway company, at speeds of up to . The name is literally translated from Spanish as "Spanish High Speed", but also a play on the word , meaning "bird".AVE trains run on a network of...

) Madrid–Valencia, part of the Madrid–Levante high-speed rail line
Madrid–Levante high-speed rail line
The Madrid-Levante high-speed line connects Madrid with the Mediterranean coast of the Levante Region, specifically with Castile-La Mancha, the Valencian Community and the Murcia Region autonomous communities....

. The current high speed station, Valencia-Joaquín Sorolla, is a provisional station located in the outskirts of the city of Valencia. It is expected in the coming years the high speed line Madrid–Valencia will reach Valencia Central Station through an underground tunnel.

High speed rail Madrid–Alicante is planned to open in 2012, with also a provisional station in the outskirts.

There are some medium-range plans for further high speed connections, like the Valencia–Bilbao link via Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

 or the Mediterranean high speed rail corridor.

In addition, the Generalitat Valenciana
Generalitat Valenciana
The Generalitat Valenciana is the generic name covering the different self government institutions under which the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia is politically organised....

 has planned on building a regional high speed rail through the coast, to connect all major coastal cities like Valencia, Gandia, Dénia, Benidorm, La Vila Joiosa, Alicante and Torrevieja.

Commuter rail and Metro



Cercanías
Cercanías
Cercanías is the name given to the commuter rail systems of Spain's major metropolitan areas. In Catalonia and Valencia, however, the term is replaced by Rodalies , while the designation Aldirikoak is used in the Basque Country....

 (Valencian: Rodalies) is the commuter rail service that serves all three provincial capitals of Valencia and their metropolitan areas. It is operated by Cercanías Renfe, the commuter rail division of RENFE
RENFE
Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

.

While the Valencian-owned company, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana
Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana
Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana or FGV is a public Valencian railway company which operates several metre gauge lines, in the Autonomous Community of Valencia, in Spain....

 (FGV) operates a tram-train
Tram-train
A tram-train is a light-rail public transport system where trams run both on an urban tramway network and on main-line railways to combine the tram's flexibility and availability and the train's greater speed...

 line between Alicante
Alicante
Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

, Benidorm
Benidorm
Benidorm is a coastal town and municipality located in the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Valencian community, Spain, by the Western Mediterranean....

 and Dénia
Dénia
Dénia is a city in the province of Alicante, Spain, on the Costa Blanca halfway between Alicante and Valencia, the judicial seat of the comarca of Marina Alta...

. It also operates the city tram
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 and metro
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 system of Valencia
Valencia (city in Spain)
Valencia or València is the capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, with a population of 809,267 in 2010. It is the 15th-most populous municipality in the European Union...

 (Valencia Metro) and Alicante
Alicante
Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

 (Alicante Tram
Alicante Tram
The Alicante Metropolitan TRAM operates in the Spanish city of Alicante and its surrounding area and, like other narrow gauge railways in the Valencian Community, is run by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana...

). There is as well a third new tram and trolleybus
Trolleybus
A trolleybus is an electric bus that draws its electricity from overhead wires using spring-loaded trolley poles. Two wires and poles are required to complete the electrical circuit...

 system being built in Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana or Castelló de la Plana is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea...

 and its metropolitan area. Additionally both, Valencia metro and Alicante tram are being extended to serve uncovered areas, like the new tram line planned to open in the coming months towards the University of Alicante
University of Alicante
The University of Alicante was established in 1979 on the basis of the Center for University Studies , which was founded in 1968. The University main campus is located in San Vicente del Raspeig/Sant Vicent del Raspeig, bordering the city of Alicante to the north...

 and Sant Vicent del Raspeig.

Gastronomy



The Valencian gastronomy is of great variety, although their more international dishes are rice based (arròs in Valencian), like the Valencian paella
Paella
Paella is a Valencian rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near lake Albufera, a lagoon in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain's national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish...

 known worldwide. Rice is a basic ingredient in many of the typical dishes, like the arròs negre, arròs amb costra, arròs a banda, arròs a la pedra, arròs caldós, among many.

The Valencian Mediterranean climate favors the cultivation of vegetables and citrus fruits, with the cultivation of the orange
Orange (fruit)
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus × sinensis and its fruit. It is the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world....

 being perhaps of highest importance as one of the typical fruits of Valencian agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

.

Drinks


Orxata (known in Spanish as Horchata), whose traditional nucleus of elaboration is Alboraia
Alboraia
Alboraya or Alboraia is a town and municipality of the province of Valencia, Spain. It is situated very close to the city of Valencia....

, is a typical drink, accompanied with fartons. Also traditional are the production of coffee liqueur (typical of Alcoi), and mistela (in Marina Baixa
Marina Baixa
Marina Baixa is a comarca in the Valencian Community, Spain. It is bordered by the comarques of Comtat on the northwest, Marina Alta on the northeast, Alacantí and Alcoià on the west and the Mediterranean Sea on the east....

 and Hoya de Buñol/Foia de Bunyol
Hoya de Buñol
Hoya de Buñol is a comarca in the province of Valencia, Valencian Community, Spain.-Municipalities:*Alborache*Buñol*Cheste*Chiva*Dos Aguas*Godelleta*Macastre*Siete Aguas*Yátova...

).

Desserts


The great majority of dessert
Dessert
In cultures around the world, dessert is a course that typically comes at the end of a meal, usually consisting of sweet food. The word comes from the French language as dessert and this from Old French desservir, "to clear the table" and "to serve." Common Western desserts include cakes, biscuits,...

s typical of Valencia have their origin in Arabic times and play an important part in the local festive activities. Some are internationally famous. Xixona is the place of traditional manufacture of turrón
Turrón
Turrón , torró , or torrone , or nougat is a confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. It is frequently consumed as a traditional Christmas dessert in Spain and Italy. There are...

 or torró (a soft nougat), consumed during Christmas in Spain and the rest of the Hispanic world. In Casinos the turrón
Turrón
Turrón , torró , or torrone , or nougat is a confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. It is frequently consumed as a traditional Christmas dessert in Spain and Italy. There are...

 is typical too but the most important manufacture of the village is peladillas (dragées and sugared almonds). In Xàtiva
Xàtiva
Xàtiva is a town in eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia, on the right bank of the river Albaida and at the junction of the Valencia–Murcia and Valencia Albacete railways....

, the arnadí, a dessert elaborated with pumpkin
Pumpkin
A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae . It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America...

 is made. And in Orihuela
Orihuela
Orihuela is a city and municipality located at the feet of the Sierra de Orihuela mountains in the province of Alicante, Spain. The city of Orihuela had a population of 32,472 inhabitants in the beginning of 2006...

 and its region the almojábanas.

Sports



Football (association football) is the most widely known sport. There are teams in every town or village, four of which are currently playing in La Liga
La Liga
The Primera División of the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional , commonly known as La Liga or, for sponsorship reasons, Liga BBVA since 2008, is the top professional association football division of the Spanish football league system...

, Spain's premier league: Valencia CF
Valencia CF
Valencia Club de Fútbol is a Spanish football club based in Valencia, Spain. They play in La Liga and are one of the most successful and biggest clubs in Spanish Football and European Football. Valencia have won six La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey trophies, two Fairs Cups which was the...

, Levante UD
Levante UD
Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D. is a Spanish football club based in Valencia, in the namesake community.Founded in 1909, it plays in La Liga, holding home games at Estadi Ciutat de València.-Early years:...

 and Villarreal CF
Villarreal CF
Villarreal Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. , usually abbreviated to Villarreal CF or just Villarreal, is a Spanish Primera División football club based in Vila-real, a city in the province of Castellón within the Valencian Community...

. There are many big teams elsewhere, such as CD Alcoyano
CD Alcoyano
Club Deportivo Alcoyano is a Spanish football team based in Alcoy, in the autonomous community of Valencia. Founded in 1929, it plays in Segunda División, holding home games in Estadio El Collao, with a 5,000-seat capacity...

, Hércules CF
Hércules CF
Hércules Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. is a Spanish football team based in Alicante, in the autonomous community of Valencia. Founded in 1922, it currently plays in the Spanish second division, and holds home games at the Estadio José Rico Pérez, which seats 30,000 spectators.-History:After first...

, CD Castellón
CD Castellón
Club Deportivo Castellón, S.A.D. is a Spanish football team based in Castellón de la Plana, in the Valencian Community. Founded in 1922, it currently plays in Tercera División – Group 6, holding home games at Nou Estadi Castalia, which has a capacity of 16,000.-History:Football first appeared in...

 or Elche CF
Elche CF
Elche Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. is a Spanish football team based in Elche, Alicante, in the Valencian Community. Founded in 1923, it currently plays in the Spanish second division, holding home matches at Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero, with a capacity of 38,750 seats.-Recent seasons:-Season to...

.

Professional Basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 is represented by one team, Valencia BC  in the top league, the ACB
Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto
The Liga ACB, known as the Liga Endesa for sponsorship reasons, is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in Spain. It was founded in 1956 with the name of Liga Nacional. The league changed its name to the current one in 1983. The league is rated as one of the three "A" level European...

. Also, Ros Casares Valencia
Ros Casares Valencia
Ros Casares Valencia is a women's professional Basketball team based in Valencia, Spain. The team currently plays in league Liga Femenina de Baloncesto.-Club names:* Dorna Godella* Costa Naranja* Ros Casares Godella* Ros Casares Valencia...

 is a female basketball team, which is the current champion of the Spanish Women's League and finalist of the Euroleague Women
EuroLeague Women
The EuroLeague Women is the highest professional basketball league in Europe for women’s clubs.Unlike Euroleague for men, the competition is entirely organized by FIBA Europe.-Between 2004-2011:...

.

Motorcycle races are very popular, as the Circuit of Valencia
Circuit de Valencia
Circuit Ricardo Tormo, also known as Circuit de Valencia and officially named Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, is a motorsport race track located in Cheste and built in 1999. It has a capacity of 120,000 spectators and seating for 60,000...

 race track and its hosted Valencian Community Grand Prix
Valencian Community motorcycle Grand Prix
The Valencian Community motorcycle Grand Prix is a motorcycling event held in Spain that is part of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. The event takes place at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo .-Multiple winners :...

 prove.

The autochthonous Valencian sport is the Valencian pilota
Valencian pilota
Valencian pilota is a traditional handball sport played in the Valencian Community. Its origins are not known, but seems to be related to the French Jeu de paume....

, which features a professional Valencian Pilota Squad
Valencian Pilota Squad
The Valencian Pilota Squad are the Valencian pilota professional or amateur players chosen to take part in the Handball International Championships representing Spain, even though all of them are Valencians and they use the Valencian flag, ....

 for international matches with related ball games all around the world. This sport has many variants, that may be played at the streets or at special courtfields like the trinquet
Valencian trinquet
Valencian trinquet, or simply trinquet , is the court used in the Valencian Community for two different modalities of Valencian pilota: the Escala i corda and the Raspall.- Court :...

.It may also be played by teams or on individual challenges. An amazing trait of this sport is that spectators may sit very close or even in the middle of the court. Even while the match is ongoing bookmaker
Bookmaker
A bookmaker, or bookie, is an organization or a person that takes bets on sporting and other events at agreed upon odds.- Range of events :...

s take bets for reds or blues, since these are the colours players must wear, red being the colour of the strongest team or player. The Valencian pilota can be traced to the 15th century, but it was abandoned during modern times, this decadence is being fought back with TV broadcasts, new built colleges have courtfields and a new professional players firm, ValNet
ValNet
ValNet is the company gathering all Valencian pilota professional players.In 2005 the retired pilotaris Alfred Hernando , Daniel Ribera and the trinquet owner Emili Peris, joined to create a brand new company that professionalized this old sport's environment: Assured minimal fees for the players,...

.

Another relevant game is the pigeon sport
Pigeon sport
There are at least four main types of competitive pigeon sport:* Pigeon racing* Tumbling* Highflying* Tippler Though not quite a sport, fancy breeds of pigeons are also bred to standards and judged in a competitive fashion. Levi in his book The Pigeon describes all aspects of pigeon keeping...

, with an autochthonous dove
Dove
Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In general terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably...

 race being trained, the gavatxut valencià.

Petanca
Pétanque
Pétanque is a form of boules where the goal is, while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground, to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet or jack. It is also sometimes called a bouchon or le petit...

 and its variant Calitx are traditional sports as well, especially in towns or among elders.

Regarding female professional sports, Valencian Handball
Team handball
Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team...

 rules the Spanish Honor division league with more than half of the teams, such as Astroc Sagunt, Cementos La Unión Riba-roja and Orsan Elda Prestigio.

Provinces


Traditionally the land is divided into comarques
Comarca
A comarca is a traditional region or local administrative division found in parts of Spain, Portugal, Panama, Nicaragua, and Brazil. The term is derived from the term marca, meaning a "march, mark", plus the prefix co- meaning "together, jointly".The comarca is known in Aragonese as redolada and...

, and in 1833 was, along with the rest of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, divided into provinces
Provinces of Spain
Spain and its autonomous communities are divided into fifty provinces .In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian , sing. província.*Galician , sing. provincia.*Basque |Galicia]] — are not also the capitals of provinces...

 according to a decree from minister Javier de Burgos. There are 32 comarques, and three provinces: Castellón/Castelló
Castellón (province)
Castellón or Castelló is a province in the northern part of the Valencian Community, Spain. It is bordered by the provinces of Valencia to the south, Teruel to the west, Tarragona to the north, and by the Mediterranean Sea to the east. The western side of the province is in the mountainous...

, Valencia/València
Valencia (province)
Valencia or València is a province of Spain, in the central part of the Valencian Community.It is bordered by the provinces of Alicante, Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel, Castellón, and the Mediterranean Sea...

, and Alicante/Alacant
Alicante (province)
Alicante or Alacant is a province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the Valencian Community. It is bordered by the provinces of Murcia on the southwest, Albacete on the west, Valencia on the north, and the Mediterranean Sea on the east...

 (names in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

/Valencian
Valencian
Valencian is the traditional and official name of the Catalan language in the Valencian Community. There are dialectical differences from standard Catalan, and under the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua has been established as its regulator...

).

Here is a list of some of the largest cities.
  • Valencia (Valencian: València), population 796,549, capital of the province of the same name, on the river Turia. Famous festival of the Falles
    Falles
    The Falles is a Valencian traditional celebration in praise of Saint Joseph in Valencia, Spain. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments created during the celebration...

     on March 19.
  • Alicante
    Alicante
    Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

     (Valencian: Alacant), population 319,380, capital of the province of the same name, in the Mediterranean coast. Famous for its hard nougat
    Nougat
    Nougat is a variety of similar traditional confectioneries made with sugar and/or honey, roasted nuts , and sometimes chopped candied fruit. The consistency of nougat can range from soft and chewy to hard and crunchy depending on its composition, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and...

     or turrón duro (Valencian: torró dur) and Postiguet, Albufereta and Sant Joan Beaches. The famous festival of the Bonfires of Saint John
    Bonfires of Saint John
    Bonfires of Saint John is a popular festival celebrated around 24 June Saint John's day throughout many cities and towns in Spain; however, the largest is in Alicante, where it is considered the most important festival in the city...

     is in June. Its city hall and the Santa Barbara Castle are historic monuments.
  • Elche (Valencian: Elx), population 215,137, famous for the wood of the palm tree called Palmeral, and for the Misteri d'Elx, two-day festival of singing and street drama that acts out the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, declared by UNESCO as part of all humankind's oral heritage.
  • Castellón de la Plana
    Castellón de la Plana
    Castellón de la Plana or Castelló de la Plana is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea...

     (Valencian: Castelló de la Plana), population 167,455, capital of the province of Castellón
    Castellón (province)
    Castellón or Castelló is a province in the northern part of the Valencian Community, Spain. It is bordered by the provinces of Valencia to the south, Teruel to the west, Tarragona to the north, and by the Mediterranean Sea to the east. The western side of the province is in the mountainous...

    .
  • Torrevieja
    Torrevieja
    Torrevieja is a seaside city and municipality located on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, in south-eastern Spain.Torrevieja lies about 30 miles south of the city of Alicante and has a population of 104,000...

    , population 84,348, in the south, important tourist center with many hotels, apartments and tourist accommodations; includes La Mata Beach.
  • Gandia
    Gandia
    Gandia is a city and municipality in the Valencian Community, Eastern Spain on the Mediterranean. Gandia is located on the Costa del Azahar, 65 km south of Valencia and 96 km north of Alicante....

     (Spanish: Gandía), population 77,943, is another important tourist center, situated on the Costa del Azahar
    Costa del Azahar
    Costa del Azahar or Costa dels Tarongers is the name for the coast of the province of Castellón in Spain, from Vinaròs to Almenara.Towns on the Costa del Azahar include Peníscola, Benicàssim and Castelló de la Plana....

    .
  • Orihuela
    Orihuela
    Orihuela is a city and municipality located at the feet of the Sierra de Orihuela mountains in the province of Alicante, Spain. The city of Orihuela had a population of 32,472 inhabitants in the beginning of 2006...

    , population 75,009, on the Segura River, historic city with palaces, churches and the Cathedral, a highly productive area for farm products such as oranges, lemons and the like.
  • Benidorm
    Benidorm
    Benidorm is a coastal town and municipality located in the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Valencian community, Spain, by the Western Mediterranean....

    , population 67,492, a major holiday resort, dubbed Beniyork because of its many skyscraper
    Skyscraper
    A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many stories, often designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper...

    s, including Spain's tallest, the 52-story Gran Hotel Bali
    Gran Hotel Bali
    Gran Hotel Bali is a 4-star hotel located in Benidorm, province of Alicante, Spain. It is, with 186 metres height , the tallest hotel in Europe and one of the tallest skyscrapers in Europe...

    .
  • Alcoi (Spanish: Alcoy), population 60,590, an important industrial area for textile products, with characteristical 19th century modernist buildings and with the most well known Moors and Christians festivities.
  • Elda
    Elda
    Elda is a city located in the province of Alicante, Spain. , it has a total population of 55,618 inhabitants, ranking as the 7th most populous city in the province. Elda joins together with the town of Petrer to form a conurbation with over 85,000 inhabitants...

    , population 55,571, important production center for shoes and wine in the Vinalopo area.
  • Villena
    Villena
    Villena is a city in Spain, in the Valencian Community. It is located at the northwest part of Alicante, and borders to the west with Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, to the north with the province of Valencia and to the east and south with the province of Alicante. It is the capital of the comarca...

    , population 35.000, important production of shoes and wine, with many historical and monumental visits. Also, fiestas of Moros y Cristianos, one of the most important in the Community, with the highest participation.
  • Vila-real
    Vila-real
    Vila-real is a city in the province of Castellón, in the Valencian Community, Spain. Located 7 km to the south of the province's capital , at 42 m above sea level, it has 51,367 inhabitants , most of them living in the urban area that covers about 10.72% of its county's 55.4 km2 surface...

     (Spanish: Villarreal), population 46,696, important producer of ceramics and brick.

See also

  • List of Valencians
  • Nationalities in Spain
    Nationalities in Spain
    Historically, the modern country of Spain was formed after the process known as Reconquista.Several independent Christian Kingdoms and political entities mostly independent were formed by their own inhabitants efforts under aristocrat leadership and coexisted with the Muslim Iberian states and had...

  • List of seaports of the Valencian Community

External links