Friends , information about holidays in the Spanish resort of Gandia will be incomplete, if not to tell about its historical center. Many sights of Gandia appeared several centuries ago and are carefully preserved in our time. Although they come to this city, first of all, for the sake of a beach holiday, all inquisitive tourists must visit the central ancient quarters. And make sure of their unconditional appeal. I have something to tell you about these places.
Narrow streets with perfectly sanded finish are only accessible to pedestrians. Basically, the historic streets of Gandia look like in this photo:
We walked around the historical center both in the morning and in the evening. And every time these colorful streets were all the same attractive, perfectly clean and not crowded.
The most partying place was the boulevard, bordering the old part from the southwest. Great boulevard similar to the Rambla in Barcelona:
It is lively here, benches and street cafes are filled with visitors. True, living statues, as is often found in such places, were not seen. But, apparently, the plane-tree boulevard dominates the center of Gandia. The wonderful alley is interrupted several times by large fountains, which is also very useful:
A direct continuation of this avenue is a suspension bridge, thrown over a drying river. The bridge leads to a recreation park across the river, where there are many attractions.
Perhaps in some months this river is full-flowing. Because the two banks are connected by several bridges. No wonder they were set up there)) And in those seeming thickets across the river there are a lot of all kinds of carousels, roller coasters and similar structures. I think this information will be useful to those who are going to rest with children in Gandia. And adults, I will now orientate myself on the sights.
What to see in the center of Gandia
Ancient streets are often so atmospheric that you can walk on them aimlessly, not paying attention to specific significant objects and getting great pleasure. It is precisely this situation in Gandia (and maybe even more pronounced than in other cities). See how unexpectedly different styles get along here:
Nevertheless, this city has been known since the Middle Ages as one of the most progressive centers of Spain. The first duke of Gandhi was declared in 1359. He began the construction of the palace and church of Santa Maria. But the main glory of the city brought the dukes of the clan Borgia (Borja). Gandia is now the most important municipality of the Valencian community. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to its centuries-old sights. I would single out the following:
- Major Square
- Church of Santa Maria
- Ducal Palace
- Escolapios Square
The main square of Gandia
As befits the historical center, there is a main square here. It is small, rectangular and is called Major, because at one time it was the most significant.
On ordinary days, this is a quiet administrative part of the city. But twice a year it turns into the epicenter of festivities. A few days in March in Gandia celebrate the Fallas festival. The whole center comes to life these days, and the enchanting burning of huge dolls is arranged on the Placa Major.
No less spectacular events are organized in the autumn from September 28 to October 3 (perhaps this week shifts slightly in different years) - for several days the Gandhians honor the patron saint of the city of St. Francis. It’s a pity, our trip this fall took place just a couple of days later, and we did not capture this holiday ...
Major Square is the main administrative building - a beautiful building in the neoclassical style:
This palace houses the local government. It was built during the reign of Carlos III, starting in 1778. At the Valencia Academy of Art, where the design of the Ajuntament building was being developed, at that time they were carried away by neoclassicism, so the architecture of the administrative palace of Gandia combined several styles.
The facade is decorated with Roman arches and Doric columns; busts located on the frieze bring Greek and Roman motifs.
At the entrance to the building is a sculpture of the most worthy representative of the Gandian dukes.
This is Francis de Borgia. The duke was born in Gandia into a family of the ruling family, for a short time he himself was a ruler, and effective. But then he gave up power in order to devote his life to serving God. In 1671, the Franciscan de Borgia was canonized by the Catholic Church and he began to be revered as the patron saint of the city of St. Francis.
Church of virgin mary
One of the sides of the square is completely occupied by the Church of the Virgin Mary, - one of the most ancient objects of Gandia and a sample of Valencian Gothic.
The first stone of the construction of the temple was laid in the middle of the XIV century, and completed the construction two centuries later. The Gandhi temple of Santa Maria has the status of a collegiate basilica in the church hierarchy and is a national cultural monument.
The exterior of the temple is quite ascetic. One of the portals of the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the second to the apostles.
The interior of the temple can also be called strict rather than magnificent. Especially when compared with the temples of Valencia. However, the one-nave space of the church attracts with completeness and comfort:
They say that earlier the chapels and the altar of the church were richly decorated, and after plunder in the troubled years of the civil war they were created anew.
There is also a magnificent palace in the historical center, which for several centuries belonged to the Borgia family. For some mysterious reason, it is called Palau Ducal. By the way, behind the outer wall enclosing the courtyard, the beauty of the palace can not only not be seen, but even assumed. It opens only for those who go to the mansions on an excursion:
The Gothic courtyard is the first that sightseers examine. The expositions of the halls and, in particular, the Golden Gallery are impressive. In the palace halls with their shimmering mosaics, I will still lead you separately. Now, take a look at which Moorish-style upper platform ends the tour:
Several generations of Borgia grew up in the Ducal Palace. Many of them not only entered their names in the annals of Spain, but also left a mark in European history.
The palace is considered the best residence in the region. Anyone who finds himself in Gandia, without a doubt, recommend visiting this attraction.
Area of Pious Schools - Escolapios
Even while walking around the historical center, we were always attracted by one square. Whether we began or completed the walks through the Gandian mazes, but again looked at Placa Escolapios. It is small, cozy and similar to an elongated triangle. The translation of the name sounds extremely unusual - the area of pious schools.
In this building, in the middle of the 16th century, the Duke Francis de Borgia opened a university. The university in Gandia lasted more than two hundred years, and then they began to use the house with the church for charitable purposes. Both the hospital and the classes were located in this building until they finally decided on it in 1806, and on the initiative of the order, which patronized the education of the poor, they opened a school. Such schools were called Pious. So the name of the square is inscribed by history itself.
In front of the facade of the building all the most prominent representatives of the Borgia family gathered, only in bronze:
Two of them - Alfonso and Rodrigo - were each elected at one time by the Pope and are known as Callixtus III and Alexander VI. It is interesting that they are remembered as unsurpassed schemers. The noblest of this family, as you already understood, is Francis. So he is revered in Gandia, spending holidays, as well as calling him one of the streets of the old city.
Friends, I provide you with photos and descriptions of individual attractions, but all the time I just remember pictures of Gandian streets. They are charming.
Many streets are beautifully decorated with garlands. True, in the daytime you do not pay attention to this design, but in the evening everything sparkles very attractively and gives a festive look:
Do you know what conclusions come after exploring this wonderful city? You must definitely visit here! Or choose Gandia as the main vacation spot, as we did, and treat yourself to excellent beaches and a rich excursion program. Or stay in Valencia, and deciding what to see in the vicinity of Valencia, you will certainly go to Gandia. These cities are almost nearby. They are separated by 59 minutes by train)))
Very easy to get to. Moreover, the station in Gandia is a stone's throw from the historic center. This compares favorably with a trip from Valencia to Gandia compared to, for example, a visit to Cullera. But Gandia is much more interesting than Cullera, and by other criteria. I have already seen this. Maybe my impressions and feedback will help you plan your program of acquaintance with this region of Spain.
Palace of the Dukes of Borgia
The list of all the attractions of the Spanish Mediterranean resort invariably includes the former residence of the Royal Dukes of Gandia, which in 1485 became the family nest of the great and terrible Borgia. Their surname terrified several generations of Europeans, and later became synonymous with special treachery and loose morals.
The residence of the Gandian Doges was erected in the XIV century, but later the Borgia was significantly rebuilt. Of particular interest during the tour are:
- A powerful and impregnable main entrance, framed by a semicircular arch, composed of impressive stones, and representing the oldest part of the building made in the Gothic style.
- Inner palazzo with an impressive two-span staircase leading to the halls of the upper floor.
- The golden gallery, built in the Baroque style in the 17th century and luxuriously decorated with numerous sculptural compositions, bas-reliefs, stucco moldings, handmade ceramic tiles and other elements inherent in one of the most picturesque architectural styles. The design features of the Golden Gallery in the Doge's Palace in Gandia have their own name - Valencian Baroque.
- The Crown Hall, which hosted important receptions and meetings, is also decorated in accordance with the canons of the Valencian Baroque. Arches and frescoes, openwork and gold elements - one of the most beautiful rooms of the Borgia Palace, the Crown Hall demonstrates the luxury and grandeur of the inner chambers, which contrast with the modest and discreet external architectural solution of the residence.
The appearance of the Borgia Palace, which is definitely worth a look in Gandia, contains elements of a wide variety of architectural styles. You will find notes of baroque, secular Gothic, Renaissance and special features of national architectural techniques - Valencian, Italian and Moorish decorative elements in its interior and exterior decoration.
Church of St. Mary
Listed in national historical monuments, the church of Santa Maria de Gandia was consecrated only at the beginning of the 16th century, although its construction began at the end of the 14th century. The initiator of the construction of a new temple on the site of the parish church of Gandia, which existed since 1245, was the Duke of Alfonso de Aragón el Viejo. Later, the temple was completed by his heirs and descendants, and in 1500 the facade was finally completed.
The most important architectural elements of Santa Maria de Gandia that you should pay attention to during the tour: the latest works of the Damian Form - the gates of the Apostles on the main facade and the Gothic portal of Santa Maria, decorated with strict stone carvings, the altar painting by Paolo da San Leocadio, openwork altar decorated with polychrome painting.
The church more than once fell victim to earthquakes that caused significant damage. For this reason, the temple underwent many reconstructions and reconstructions, but the architects who restored it continued to adhere to the original Gothic style. Unfortunately, the treasures and sacrifices donated to the temple for many centuries were almost completely destroyed and plundered. This happened in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.
Archaeological Museum of Gandia
A small exhibition for history buffs was opened at the resort in 1972 in the former building of the San Marco hospital in the southeastern part of the old city. At the end of the last century, the museum was closed for several years, and then reopened in 2003. During this time, scientists conducted many studies of ancient documents and restored most of the exhibits. Now visitors are offered an interesting collection of rarities reflecting the features of the prehistoric era - from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age.
The Archaeological Museum of Gandia presents fragments found during archaeological research of the Cueva de Bolomore. This cave in Valencia is the place where the remains of Neanderthals, the tools of the ancient man and the remains of animals that served as food for representatives of the tribe that lived in Cueva de Bolomore at least 350 thousand years ago were discovered.
Theater of serrano
The city theater of Gandia was built in the 1920s on the site of a former circus and named after the musician Jose Serrano, the author of the Valencia anthem. The theater’s creators chose the Valencian Art Nouveau as an architectural style, which is characterized by stone balconies with clear geometric lines, wrought iron finishes, floral ornaments and turrets on the roof, crowned with spiers.
The theater hall seats about 600 spectators, and the temple of arts in Gandia is called chamber. However, the performances on its stage can be recommended to guests of the resort: the theater’s repertoire includes musical, dance, and drama performances.
The brightest representative of Valencian Art Nouveau in Gandia is the Palais Paris, built at the beginning of the 20th century by architect Victor Beltri, born in Cartagena.
The small palace, but rather a mansion, is a three-story villa erected from Valencian monovar stone and decorated with modernist elements. On the right side of the facade a staircase is attached to the mansion, decorated with forged floral decor. The left side of the villa has original windows - round on the second floor and rectangular on the third. They are decorated with balconies with carved grills, and the palace is crowned with a roof with dormer windows.
Monastery of San Jeronimo de Cotalba
One of the most significant religious buildings of Valencia, the monastery of San Jeronimo de Cotalba was founded in the second half of the fourteenth century by Alfonso de Aragon, who had the titles of Count of Denia and Duke of Gandia and was one of the candidates for the crown of Aragon. Alfonso bought the land on which the monastery now stands from the Muslims and donated it to the community of the Order of St. Jerome. From this moment the Order of the Hieronymites begins to expand, and the monastery becomes their first official residence on the lands of the Crown of Aragon.
The history of San Jeronimo de Cotalba holds many names and events. It was a spiritual and cultural center at the court of the Duchy of Gandia, and many of the powers that be, belonging to the surnames of Borgia and other noble families, contributed to the construction and development of the monastery. In an architectural sense, the monastery is a surprisingly harmonious complex that combines the features of Mudejar, Valencian Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassicism.
During the tour, you should pay attention to the frescoes painted by Nicholas Borras in the middle of the XVI century, the carved stone sarcophagus of the sons of the founder of the monastery, which is a sample of the Valencian funerary sculpture, the armory with a collection of medieval swords and shields and the bell tower dominating the ensemble.
There are magnificent Romantic Gardens, established on the territory of the monastery in the first third of the twentieth century, and a Gothic aqueduct that supplied San Jeronimo de Cotalba with water from a spring located 6 km from the monastery buildings.
The majestic fortification that once stood in the north of Gandia today is in ruins, but still worthy of the attention of tourists who are interested in the history and architecture of the early Middle Ages.
Bayren Castle, or San Juan, was built on top of a barrow at an altitude of 106 meters above sea level. Gandia was founded in 1240, but the fortress existed much earlier, and some researchers believe that it served as a fortification to the Romans. The castle occupies about 9 hectares, from the hill offers beautiful views of the Gandian beach and the Mediterranean Sea. Such a deployment clearly played into the hands of the defenders of San Juan and made it possible to control all approaches to the mound - both from the sea and from land. Climbing the hill, you will see the remains of the fortress walls, arches and several towers, partially destroyed, but allowing to imagine the former power of the Bayren castle.
Monastery of Santa Clara
Another iconic architectural ensemble, which can be viewed during a sightseeing tour in Gandia, appeared in the first half of the 15th century. The monastery belongs to the nuns-colettans (one of the branches of the female Franciscan Order of the Clarissa). The monastery was founded by Violanta of Aragon in 1431, and this event was a clear demonstration of the importance of the city in the political and cultural arena of that time.
The monastery complex housed a collection of works of art that was bequeathed to the city of Borgia. Among others - paintings by Jose de Ribera, Juan de Juanes and Francisco Ribalta. In 2010, the painting was transferred to the museum in the town hall. In the monastery's palazzo, an olive grows, planted, according to legend, by St. Francis of Borgia.
Tourists can visit the Gothic church. The remaining premises of the monastery are closed in connection with the charter of the order.
Torre dels pares
On the side of the road leading from Gandia to Daimuz, you can see an old fortified building, which is a small fort and served as a farm. Its construction dates from the period from the XI to XIV centuries. The foundation of the oldest part of the fortress house could be used as the basis for later renovations.
The rural farmhouse is a quadrangular structure with a courtyard and a watchtower, from the height of which the surroundings were clearly visible. On the facade are cut small rectangular windows topped with semicircular arches. The corners of the upper floor are rounded by turrets with loopholes, loopholes for conducting defensive firing can be considered on the ground floor. The house undoubtedly served to repel the attacks undertaken by the Berbers and pirates.
Gandia Resort Embankment
And, finally, what a tourist resting in Gandia will definitely see is its embankment, stretching along the sea from the port and ferry pier and decorated with the works of modern sculptors.
The promenade begins near the sculptural composition symbolizing the sea waves. There are several restaurants serving Mediterranean cuisine on the promenade. A half-kilometer path, prominent at sea, leads to a small lighthouse. It often serves as a backdrop for photo shoots arranged by tourists in memory of a holiday in one of the best resorts in Spain.
A bit of history
The history of Gandia dates back to the era of the reign of the Moors. In 1240, Jaime I captured the Roman fortress Castell Bairen, which belonged to the Arabs at that time (the ruins of Bayren and now rise on a hill at the entrance to Gandia). In 1485, this land was bought by Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) for his son, Pedro Luis, who became the first Duke of Gandia. The heyday of the city began.
The crisis came to Gandia at the end of the sixteenth century, which was promoted by the debts of the nobility, the deficit of the treasury, and the plague epidemic. The 18th century in the history of the city was marked by a fierce political struggle. A new heyday began after the opening of the port (1886) and the railway (1893). The tourism industry began to develop since the 60s. last century.
Church of Santa Maria
Chapel of St. Anne
Monastery of St. Clara
Sculpture of the Borgia family
School of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
King James I Square
The historical center of Gandia has preserved a significant part of the heritage of the Middle Ages. The Borgia family left a magnificent family residence. Doge's Palace (Palacio Ducal) or Borgia Palace (Palau dels Borja) has existed since the XIV century, now it has a museum. Its discreet facade contrasts with the luxury of the interior, elements of secular Gothic, Renaissance, Valencian Baroque combined in architecture. Two churches are considered to be the legacy of the family that left a bright mark in Italian history: the church of St. Anne (Església de Santa Anna) and the monastery of St. Clara (Convent de Santa Clara).
On the Escuela Pías square in front of the Old University building (Real Colegio Escuelas Pías) there is a sculptural group representing the Borgia family.
The city hall (Ayuntamiento de Gandía) (1778) was built in the neoclassical style. The monastery church of Santa Maria (Col-legiata de Santa Maria de Gandia), founded in the XIV century, is considered a model of Catalan-Aragon Gothic. Hospital Sant Marc (Hospital de Sant Marc) was also founded in the XIV century. Until 1973, he continued his activities, now the archaeological museum (Museu Arqueologic De Gandía) is open in it.
Events, Holidays, Events
The city spends its main holiday in early October. Gandia honors St. Francisco - the fourth Duke of Borgia, reckoned among the blessed, canonized. The historical center hosts medieval performances.
Fallas is celebrated in March; Holy Week takes place in April. Guests of Gandia all year round can join any of the traditional fiestas with folk music and processions, with papier-mâché figures, fireworks, multi-colored flags.
The Marquis González de Quiros Culture House hosts exhibitions, concerts, events, and Polisònic summer festivals. Gandia's discos and clubs are known outside the city: here come famous DJs, showmen, world stars.
Description of Gandia
Gandia It is located about 3 km from the sea, on the Costa del Azahar, 65 km south of Valencia and 116 km north of Alicante in the middle of the La Safor region between the sea and the mountains. The city is located at an altitude of 22 m above sea level. Dreaming of a break from the bustling metropolis of Valencia and a pleasant trip to the Mediterranean, Gandia is the best suited. The city has about 75,000 inhabitants, the number of which easily doubles in the summer during the holiday season. The city of Gandia (Gandia Spanish) is divided into two parts. Gandia port with a modern tourist center (Grau I Platja) and the center of the old city, which is located near the coast. The city not only has excellent infrastructure, but also a rich historical heritage.
The old town of Gandia is located on the banks of the Serpis River. On the banks of an almost completely waterless river, you can see the remains of the city walls. From the car park on the east side of the river, a pedestrian bridge leads to the Paseo de le Germany, to the city’s shopping district, which separates the north from the historical center of El Raval in the south.
Natural attractions of Gandia
Around Gandia you can meet the delightful corners of untouched nature and other natural sites such as La Llacuna, Race del Duca and Basrran de Infern (Gorge of Hell). You can travel on foot, mountain biking or by car.
Of interest are the Circ de Safor, the Sierra de Aitana and the Sierra de Mariola, or the mesmerizing mountain landscapes off the coast, such as the foothills of Roy and Els Benicadell.
Festivals and holidays in Gandia
As elsewhere in Spain, they are presented in a wide range, especially erlebeniss.
Worth a look in Gandia:
- Fallas - from March 16 to March 19,
- Semana Santa (Holy Week) March — April,
- Noche de San Juan, St. John's On the night of June 24,
- July 16th Great Fishing Festival in honor of the Virgin Carmen,
- October 29 — November 3 San Francisco de Borja Festival.
Great food and drinks here. Whether on Playa de Gandia, on the beaches or in the city center. Wherever you are, you will find small restaurants and bars with an excellent assortment.