Valencian Community

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This article is about the autonomous community. For other uses, see Valencia (disambiguation).
Valencian Community
Autonomous Community
Flag of the País Valencià
Flag
Coat-of-arms of the Valencian Community
Coat of arms
Anthem: Himne de València
(Anthem of Valencia)
Location of Valencia
Location of the Valencian Community
Coordinates: 39°30′N 0°45′W / 39.500°N 0.750°W / 39.500; -0.750Coordinates: 39°30′N 0°45′W / 39.500°N 0.750°W / 39.500; -0.750
Country Spain
Capital Valencia
Provinces Alacant, Castelló, and València
Government
 • Type Devolved government in a constitutional monarchy
 • Body Generalitat Valenciana
 • President Alberto Fabra Part (PP)
Area
 • Total 23,255 km2 (8,979 sq mi)
Area rank 8th (4.6% of Spain)
Population (2009)
 • Total 5,111,706
 • Density 220/km2 (570/sq mi)
 • Pop. rank 4th (10.6% of Spain)
Demonym Valencian
valencià, -ana (va)

valenciano, -na (es)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166-2 VC
Area code +34 96
Official languages Valencian and Spanish
Statute of Autonomy 1 July 1982
10 April 2006
Patron Saint Vincent Ferrer
Parliament 99 deputies
Congress 33 deputies (out of 350)
Senate 17 senators (out of 264)
Website Generalitat Valenciana
1.^ According to the current legislation the official name is in Valencian Comunitat Valenciana.

The Valencian Community (/vəˈlɛnsiən kɵˈmjuːnɨti/; Valencian: Comunitat Valenciana; Spanish: Comunidad Valenciana)[a] is the constitution of the Valencian Country[1] as an autonomous community of Spain. It is the fourth most populated after Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid with more than 5.1 million inhabitants.[2] It is often homonymously identified with its capital València, which is the third largest city of Spain. It is located along the Mediterranean coast in the south-east of the Iberian peninsula. It borders with Catalonia to the north, Aragon and Castile–La Mancha to the west, and Murcia to the south. It is formed by the provinces of Castelló, València and Alacant.

According to its Statute of Autonomy, the Valencian people are a historical nationality.[3] Their origins date back to Catalan-Aragonese colonization of the Moorish Taifa of Valencia, after it was taken by James I of Aragon in 1238 during the Reconquista. The newly founded Kingdom of Valencia was granted wide self-government under the Crown of Aragon with the promulgation of its Furs in 1261. Valencia experienced its golden age in the 15th Century, becoming the economic and cultural centre of the Crown and contributing with the most important works of Catalan medieval literature. Self-government continued after the unification of the Spanish Kingdom, but was eventually suspended in 1707 by Phillip V of Spain and the Nova Planta decrees as a result of the Spanish War of Succession. Valencian nationalism resurged towards the end of the 19th Century, giving way to the modern conception of the Valencian Country (Valencian: País Valencià). Self-government under the Generalitat Valenciana was finally reestablished in 1982 after Spanish transition to democracy.

The Valencian people speak a variety of Catalan called Valencian,[4] making up for a third of the total Catalan-speaking population. Historically, Valencian has suffered from political repression and an ongoing diglossia that favours Spanish. Since it regained official status in 1982, Valencian has been implemented in public administration and the education system, leading to an exponential increase in knowledge of its formal standard.[5] However, its social use continues to be threatened by Spanish due to migration from other parts of Spain, especially in the cities of València and Alacant. Furthermore, the linguistic conflict continues to be pressing, with some groups opposing the official standard based on Catalan orthography.

Etymology[edit]

Valencia was founded by the Romans under the name of "Valentia Edetanorum", which translates to 'Valiance (or Courage) of the Land of the Edetani'. With the establishment of the Taifa of Valencia, the name developed to بلنسية (Balànsiya). After the Reconquista, the name translated in Valencian language to València.

Names controversy[edit]

"Valencian Community" is the standard translation of the official name in Valencian recognized by the Statute of Autonomy of 1982 (Comunitat Valenciana).[3] This is the name most used in public administration, tourism, the media and Spanish written language. However, the variant of "Valencian Country" (País Valencià) that emphasizes the nationality status of the Valencian people is still the preferred one by left-wing parties, civil associations, Catalan written language and major academic institutions like the University of Valencia.[1]

"Valencian Community" is a neologism that was specifically adopted after democratic transition in order to solve the conflict between two competing names: "Valencian Country" and "Former Kingdom of Valencia".[6] On one hand, "Valencian Country" represented the modern conception of nationality that resurged in the 19th Century. It became well-established during the Second Spanish Republic and later on with the works of Joan Fuster in the 1960s, implying the existence of the "Catalan Countries" (Països Catalans). This nationalist subtext was opposed by anti-Catalan blaverists, who proposed "Former Kingdom of Valencia" (Antic Regne de València) instead in order to emphasize Valencian independence from Catalonia. Currently, blaverists have accepted the official denomination.

The autonomous community can be homonymously identified with its capital "València".[7] However, this could be disregarding of the provinces of Alacant and Castelló. Other more anecdotal translations have included "Land of Valencia",[8] "Region of Valencia"[9] and "Valencian Region".[10] The term "Region", however, carries negative conontations among many Valencians because it could deny their nationality status.

History[edit]

Archeological site of Tossal de Manises, ancient IberianGreekCarthaginianRoman city of Akra-Leuke, Άκρα Λευκή or Lucentum
Villena castle

The Pre-Roman autochthon people of the Valencian Community were the Iberians, who were divided in several groups (the Contestani, the Edetani, the Ilercavones and the Bastetani).

The Greeks established colonies in the coastal towns of Saguntum and Dénia since the 5th century BC, where they traded and mixed with the local Iberian populations. After the end of the First Punic War between Carthage and Rome in 241 BC, which established their limits of influence in the Ebro river, the Carthaginians occupied the whole region. The dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum, a Hellenized Iberian coastal city with diplomatic contacts with Rome, destroyed by Hannibal in 219 BC, ignited the Second Punic War, which ended with the incorporation of the region to the Roman Empire.

The Romans founded the city of Valentia in 138 BC, which throughout centuries overtook Saguntum in importance. After the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, during the Barbarian Invasions, the region was first invaded by the Alans and finally ruled by the Visigoths, until the arrival of the Arabs in 711, which left a big footprint in the region, still visible in today's Valencian landscape and culture. After the fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba, two main independent Taifas were established at the region, Balansiya and Dénia, along with the small and short living Taifas of Orihuela, Alpuente, Jérica and Sagunt and the short Christian conquest of Valencia by El Cid.

But the origins of present day Valencia date back to the former Kingdom of Valencia, which came into existence in the 13th century. James I of Aragon led Christian conquest and colonization of the existing Islamic taifas with Aragonese and Catalan people in 1208 and founded the Kingdom of Valencia as a third independent country within the Crown of Aragon in 1238.

The kingdom strongly developed in the 14th and 15th century, which is to be considered as the Golden Age of the Valencian Culture,[11] with first level works like Tirant lo Blanch. It also developed a high level role in Europe both economically with the silk trade, and politically with the rise of the Crown of Aragon (in which the Kingdom of Valencia became the most populated and the main economical power at that time[12]) and the ascension of the Valencian House of Borja in Rome. After a slow decline following the dynastic union of the Crown of Aragon with the Kingdom of Castile, this came definitely to an end with the Expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609 by the Hispanic Monarchy, which represented the loss of up to one third of the population of the Kingdom of Valencia and took the main agricultural labor force away.

Quart Towers, city of València

In 1707, in the context of the War of the Spanish Succession, and by means of the Nova Planta decrees, king Philip V of Spain abolished the Kingdom of Valencia, and the rest of states belonging to the former Crown of Aragon and which had retained some autonomy, and subordinated it to the structure of the Kingdom of Castile and its laws and customs. As a result of this, the institutions and laws created by the Furs of Valencia (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, a new Kingdom of Spain was formed implementing a more centralized government and absolutist regime than the former Habsburg Spain.

The first attempt to gain self-government (autogovern) for the Valencian Country in modern-day Spain was during the Second Spanish Republic, in 1936, but the Civil War broke out and the autonomist project was suspended.[13] In 1977, after Franco's dictatorship Valencia started to be partially autonomous with the creation of the Council of the Valencian Country (Consell del País Valencià),[14] and in 1982 the self-government was finally extended into a Statute of Autonomy (Estatut d'Autonomia) creating several self-government institutions under the Generalitat Valenciana. The first democratically elected President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Joan Lerma, took office in 1982 as part of the transition to autonomy.[15]

The Valencian Statute of Autonomy make clear that Valencia is intended to be the modern conception of self-government of the Valencian Country from the first autonomist movements during Second Spanish Republic, but also joining it to the traditional conception of Valencian identity, as being the successor to the historical Kingdom of Valencia.[16] In fact, after a bipartisan reform of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy in 2006, it records the foral civil law, using the traditional conception of a kingdom, and, on the other hand, it also recognizes Valencia as a nationality, in accordance with the modern conception.

Geography[edit]

Relief[edit]

Satellite picture of the Valencian Country; the dry area in the South is easily noticed. Original by NASA

The inland part of the territory is craggy, with some of the highest peaks in the València and Castelló provinces forming part of the Iberian mountain range. The mountains in the Alacant province are in turn a part of the Subbaetic range.

The most emblematic mountain of the Valencian Community is the Penyagolosa, in the Alcalatén 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, a Valencian exclave between Aragon and Castile–La Mancha. The most emblematic mountain in the southern part of the territory is the Aitana (1,558 m).

The rather thin coastal strip is a very fertile plain mainly free of remarkable mountains except those around the Cap de la Nau area in northern Alacant province and the Peñíscola (Peníscola) area in the Castelló province. Typical of this coastal area are wetlands and marshlands such as L'Albufera close to València, El Fondo in Elx and Crevillent, La Marjal near Pego or El Prat in Cabanes, also the former wetlands and salt evaporation ponds in the Santa Pola and Torrevieja area. All of them are key RAMSAR 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 and the coastal inhabited islet of Tabarca.

Climate[edit]

Dénia, capital of Marina Alta

Valencia has a generally mild climate, heavily influenced by the neighbouring Mediterranean sea. Still, there are important differences between areas:

  • Proper Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa). It roughly goes along the coastal plain from the northernmost border through the Benidorm area (cities included here are, amongst others, Castelló de la Plana, Gandia and València). 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 and the Safor comarques just north of Cap de la Nau cape, which accumulates an average of up to 1000 mm. due to an orographic lift phenomenon.
  • Mediterranean to continental Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) and highland climate (Köppen H). These are the innermost lands and those at a higher elevation (cities included here are, amongst others, Alcoi, Morella, Requena and Villena). 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).[17]
  • Mediterranean to semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk). It roughly goes along the coastal plain from La Vila Joiosa through the southernmost border of the territory (cities included here are, amongst others, Alacant, Elx, Orihuela and Torrevieja). 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 effect caused by hills to the west of the Alacant 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).

Hydrography[edit]

There are only two major rivers: the Segura in the Alacant province—whose source is in Andalusia—and the Júcar (Xúquer) in the València province—whose source is in Castile–La Mancha—both are subjected to very intense human regulation for cities, industries and, especially, agricultural consumption. The river Turia (Túria) is the third largest and has its source in Aragon. Most rivers in the area, such as the Vinalopó, 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 and Sénia.

Demographics[edit]

Main article: Valencian people

Urbanization[edit]

The estimate population according to the INE on January 2013 is 5,104,365,[2] ranking the fourth most populous in Spain. The list of largest cities is topped by València, the third largest city in Spain overall:

Valencian population traditionally concentrated in localities with fertile cultivation and growing lowlands by the most important rivers (Xúquer, Turia, Segura, Vinalopó), also in harbour cities important to the agricultural trade. In actuality, population is particularly dense along the coast as well as in central and southern regions of the territory, and more sparse around the inner and northern regions.

Areas in red mark higher population density in the central and southern regions.

Important historical cities include Sagunt and Dénia in Roman times; València, Alacant, Xàtiva, Orihuela, Elx, Gandia, and Vila-real later on in history and, more recently, Alzira and Castelló de la Plana. Another set of noncoastal cities increased significantly in numbers due to industrialization in the 20th Century, including Alcoi, Elda, Ontinyent, Petrer, Villena, and La Vall d'Uixó. Furthermore, traditionally small fishing towns like Benidorm and Torrevieja have increased in population significantly, more remarkably during summertime, due to seasonal migration of tourists.

Metropolitan areas[edit]

In more recent years, concentration in provincial capitals and its metropolitan areas has augmented considerably (e.g. Torrent, Mislata, Paterna, Burjassot, San Vicent del Raspeig, etc.). Besides Valencia, Alcant-Elx is the eighth most populous urban agglomeration in Spain. According to the INE, the largest metropolitan areas are:

Rank Metropolitan Area Province Population
1 València València 1,705,742
2 AlacantElx Alacant 785,020
3 Castelló de la Plana Castelló 386,906
4 AlziraXàtiva València 348,582
5 BenidormLa Vila Alacant 183,253

Governance[edit]

Institutions of government: La Generalitat[edit]

Palau de la Generalitat Valenciana, seat of the Valencian government

In the process whereby democracy was restored in Spain between 1975 and 1978, the nationalist and regionalist parties pressed to grant home rule 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 Valencian Country as a historical nationality 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, the basic organic law, later approved by the General Courts of Spain.

All autonomous communities were organized politically within a parliamentary system; 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.

A new Statute of Autonomy was promulgated in 2006. The government of Valencia is represented by the Generalitat Valenciana (statutorily referred to simply as La Generalitat) constituted by three institutions:[18]

  • 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 (Ombudsman), the Sindicatura de Comptes (Public Audit Office), the Consell Valencià de Cultura (Valencian Council of Culture), the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language), the Consell Jurídic Consultiu (Juridic and Consultative Council) and the Comité Econòmic i Social (Social and Economic Committee).

Economy[edit]

Skyline of Benidorm

Valencia is long and narrow, running mainly north-south; historically, its rather steep and irregular terrain has made communications and the exploitation of the soil difficult, although the soil of the coastal plain is particularly fertile. This coastal axis has facilitated connections with Europe, either by sea through the Mediterranean, or by land through Catalonia.

The Valencian territory has few natural resources; the only important mineral deposit is the marble quarried in Alacant province.

Hydrological resources (see Geography above) are also lacking: the demand for water exceeds the supply, with this imbalance especially serious in Alacant province. In particularly severe drought years, the problem is managed through occasional nocturnal restrictions during summer and exploitation of aquifers. Valencia's water needs result in harsh contention with neighbouring regions such as Castile–La Mancha and Catalonia.

Agriculture—more specifically, citrus cultivation for the export market—was responsible for Valencia's first economic boom in the late 19th century, after centuries of slow development and even decay. Although in absolute terms the agricultural sector has continued to grow, the boom in the secondary and tertiary sectors during the Spanish miracle of the 1960s, has meant that its relative importance has decreased over time. The provinces of Castelló and València still have thousands of hectares of citrus-producing groves and citrus continues to be a major source of income on the countryside. Alacant province also grows citrus, but its agriculture is more diversified with a higher presence of vegetables, especially in the Vega Baja del Segura area.

Though the low insulation rate and overall stable weather during the summer may pose a threat to water supplies for agriculture and human consumption, conversely this climate allows tourism to be the province's main industry. Very dense residential housing along the coast, occupied by locals, people from inland Spain and from other EU countries (mostly from the British Isles, Benelux, Germany and Scandinavia), boosts the summertime population (and hydrological demands).

In 2004, Valencia's GDP was 93.9% of the European Union average,[19] although this figure may be too low because of the important presence of foreign residents either from other regions of Europe or economic immigrants, who are not properly represented in the official statistics. As in all of Spain, there was significant growth in the years immediately following 2004, at least until the 2008–13 Spanish financial crisis.

In 2008, the Valencia Country generated 9.7% of the Spanish GDP. In L of human resources, the unemployment rate was over 21% in 2009, and even greater among women,[20] and the rate of activity reached 56.8% in 2002. The typical Valencian business is a small-to-medium-sized company, mainly family-owned and operated, although there are some multinationals.

In addition to tourism, the Valencian Country has significant exports, and is ranks second in this respect among the Spanish autonomous communities, constituting 12% of the national total. Major exports include agricultural products, ceramic tiles, marble products and cars (Ford has an assembly line in Almussafes), which make the port of València one the busiest in Europe.

Language[edit]

Spanish (Castilian or castellano) has official status in all of Spain, including the Valencian Community. Aside from it, the Statute of Autonomy recognizes Valencian as the language proper to the Valencian people (llèngua pròpia), and commends its protection and regulation to the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (AVL) under the Generalitat Valenciana. Valencian is also official in the autonomous communities of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, where it is called Catalan.

Valencian Sign Language is widely used by Valencian deaf persons and is also granted protection under the Statute.

Areas of linguistic predominance[edit]

The traditionally Valencian-speaking territories are marked in green

Not all of the Valencian territory is historically Valencian-speaking, with 10% of the population living in traditionally Spanish-speaking inner regions. These regions include the areas where Aragonese rather than Catalan settlers introduced Castilian-Aragonese language in the historic Kingdom of Valencia, as well as several Castilian municipalities that were annexed to the Valencian Community in the 19th Century. Valencian is traditionally spoken in the more densely populated coastal areas where Catalan settlers introduced their language in the Middle Ages. These areas are delimited for administrative purposes by the Generalitat, that established different areas of linguistic predominance (predomini lingüístic). The Valencian area of linguistic predominance suffers in many cases a process of linguistic substitution, especially in the cities of València and Alacant, where Spanish has become predominant in spite of Valencian being the traditional language.

Knowledge[edit]

Knowledge of Valencian
1986 1991 2001 2011
Can understand 77.12% 83.24% 86.36% 84.78%
Can speak 49.49% 51.09% 48.88% 51.18%
Can read 24.36% 37.98% 47.24% 58.35%
Can write 7.03% 15.17% 24.07% 31.77%
Source: Conselleria d'Educació, Cultura i Esport (2010) Cens 2011. Dades generals coneixement[21]

Most of the population have at least a passive knowledge of Valencian, which allows normal communication in this language across the Valencian Commnuity. Thanks to its implementation in public administration and the education system in recent decades, knowledge of Valencian has increased phenomenally both in absolute and relative terms, most significantly in the case of its written standard. The source also reveals that knowledge varies greatly within the territory, with knowledge in the Alacant province being consistently lower than in Castelló and València.

Social use[edit]

Languages spoken at home
Use Valencian Spanish
Always 28.8% 56.2%
More often 3% 2.6%
Alternatively 5.6%
Other languages 3.8%
Source: Conselleria d'Educació, Cultura i Esport (2010) Knowledge and social use of Valencian[22]

Despite the increase in knowledge of Valencian, its social use in relative terms is declining, with only a third of the population using it at home according to the Generalitat in 2010. The data collected varies greatly within the Valencian Community, with the percentage of use being over 50% in the regions of Alcoi-Gandia and Xúquer-Túria, approximately 40% in Castelló and about 15% in Alacant and the València metropolitan area.

The process of linguistic normalization in the Valencian Community can be compared to Catalonia. Both autonomous communities have received migration from other parts of Spain in great numbers. However, normalization is more advanced in Catalonia, whereas the situation of Valencian continues to be diglossic. The survey of the Generalitat reveals that Valencian-speakers often shift from Valencian to Spanish with friends, colleagues and in public spaces. Ultimately, some Valencian-speaking parents interrupt the transmission of Valencian to their children. Political inaction is pointed out as a factor of diglossia.

Valencian language controversy[edit]

Despite differences in dialect and denomination, linguists consider Catalan and Valencian two varieties of the same language. They feature relative uniformity in terms of vocabulary, semantics, syntax, morphology and phonology. Mutual intelligibility ranges from 90 to 95%, which is higher than in the German language. Furthermore, there is a dialect continuum where speakers at the Catalan-Valencian border share the same dialect. In practice, Catalan and Valencian share the same written standard, as established by the AVL and the Institut d'Estudis Catalans respectively. Much of the bibliography used in the Valencian education system consists of Catalan works and translations in Catalan. Furthermore, the Universities of València and Alacant refer to Valencian studies of language and literature as Catalan Philology.

In spite of these evidences, a significant proportion of Valencian population refuse to identify Valencian with Catalan. This phenomenon is known as blaverism. This position is often promoted by people who do not use Valencian regularly. The government of the PP has been criticized for publicly endorsing some of these positions. However, younger generations educated in Valencian are much less likely to hold these views.

Transports[edit]

Air[edit]

New Alacant Terminal being built

The Valencian Community is served by two international airports, Alacant Airport, which is mainly tourist-oriented and València Airport, which carries more business traffic. A third airport, in Castelló province in the north of the Valencian territory, is a white elephant which was officially opened on 25 March 2011 but has yet to receive a single commercial flight.[23]

A new terminal at Alacant Airport was opened in March 2011. The New Alacant Terminal (NAT) replaced the other two existing terminals T1 and T2, doubling the passenger capacity of the airport to 20m passengers per annum. València airport is also being expanded to serve the higher passenger demand due to new flight connections to the city.

Train[edit]

Provisional station of València

The Valencian Community has an extensive rail system which connects the principal cities with the rest of Spain such as the Euromed towards Catalonia and AVE towards Madrid, or northern and southern Spain, both run by the Spanish national rail company RENFE.

In December 2010 the high-speed rail (AVE) Madrid–València opened as part of the Madrid–Levante high-speed rail line. The current high-speed station, Valencia-Joaquín Sorolla, is a provisional station located in the outskirts of the city of València. It is expected that in the coming years the high-speed line Madrid–Valencia will reach València Central Station through an underground tunnel under the new (Valencia Central Park).

High-speed rail Madrid–Alacant is planned to open in 2012 with a provisional station in the outskirts.

There are some medium-range plans for further high-speed connections, like the València–Bilbao link via Zaragoza or the Mediterranean high-speed rail corridor.

In addition, the Generalitat Valenciana has planned on building a regional high-speed rail along the coast to connect all major coastal cities like València, Gandia, Dénia, Benidorm, la Vila Joiosa, Alacant and Torrevieja.

Commuter rail and Metro[edit]

Alacant light metro through the city center

Cercanías (Rodalia in Valencian) is the commuter rail service that serves all three provincial capitals of València and their metropolitan areas. It is operated by Cercanías Renfe, the commuter rail division of RENFE.

While the Valencian-owned company, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV) operates a tram-train line between Alacant, Benidorm and Dénia. It also operates the city tram and metro system of València (València Metro) and Alacant (Alacant Tram). There is as well a third new tram and trolleybus system being built in Castelló de la Plana and its metropolitan area. Additionally both, València metro and Alacant tram are being extended to serve uncovered areas, like the new tram line planned to open in the coming months towards the University of Alacant and San Vicente del Raspeig.

Seaports[edit]

Public services[edit]

Education[edit]

Main article: Education in Spain

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 (Llei Orgànica d'Educació).[24]

  • From three to six years: Preparatory School (Infantil, popularly known as Preescolar)
  • From six to twelve years: Primary School (Primària)
  • From twelve to sixteen years: Compulsory Secondary School (Secundària)
  • From sixteen to eighteen years: Post-Secondary School (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 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 Batxillerat (Spanish: Bachillerato), they can take the PAU exams (Proves d'Accés a la Universitat), commonly known as Selectiu.

The secondary stage of education is normally referred to by their initials, e.g. ESO standing for Educació Secundària Obligatòria.

The Valencian Community is home to a number of prestigious universities like the University of Valencia, founded in 1499. At the request of James I of Aragon, Pope Innocent IV in 1246, authorized by a papal bull the establishment of estudis generals in València. The University Statutes were passed by the municipal magistrates of València 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 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, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, philosophy, mathematics, physics, theology, Canon law, and medicine.

Nowadays the Polytechnic University of València has become one of the most prestigious universities in Spain, according to its technology, investigation, several degrees offering a close relation with some the most important universities in the world such as Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard. Most faculties and colleges are based in the city of València, with some branches in Gandia and Alcoi.

Other universities are University of Alacant, Miguel Hernández University in Elx, Jaume I University and Valencian International University in Castelló de la Plana, Catholic University of València, and CEU Cardenal Herrera University in València.

Media[edit]

Employees demonstrate in front of the RTVV headquarters in Burjassot the day of its closure

Until its dissolution on November 2013, the public-service Ràdio Televisió Valenciana (RTVV) was the main broadcaster of radio and television in the Valencian Community. The Generalitat Valenciana constituted it in 1984 in order to guarantee the freedom of information of the Valencian people in their own language.[25]

Prior to its dissolution, the administration of RTVV under the People's Party (PP) had been controversial due to accusations of ideological manipulation and lack of plurality. The news broadcast was accused of giving marginal coverage of the Valencia Metro derailment in 2006 and the indictment of President de la Generalitat Francisco Camps in the Gürtel scandal in 2009.[26] Supervisors appointed by the PP were accused of sexual harassment.[27]

In face of an increasing debt and shrinking audiences that had fallen under 10 and even 5% of share in recent years, RTVV announced in 2012 a plan to shed 70% of its labour. The plan was nullified on 5 November 2013 by the National Court after trade unions appealed against it. On that same day, the President de la Generalitat Alberto Fabra announced RTVV would be closed, claiming that reinstating the employees was untenable.[28] On 27 November, the legislative assembly passed the dissolution of RTVV and employees organized to take control of the broadcast, starting a campaign against the PP. Nou TV's last broadcast ended abruptly when Spanish police pulled the plug at 12:19 on 29 November 2013.[29]

Having lost all revenues from advertisements and facing high costs from the termination of hundreds of contracts, critics question whether the closure of RTVV has improved the financial situation of the Generalitat, and point out to plans to benefit private-owned media.[30] Currently, the availability media in Valencian language is extremely limited. All the other autonomous communities in Spain, including the monolingual ones, have public-service broadcasters, with the Valencian Community being the only exception despite being the fourth most populous.

Culture[edit]

Gastronomy[edit]

Main article: Valencian cuisine
Valencian paella

The Valencian gastronomy is of great variety, although their more international dishes are rice-based (arròs in Valencian), like the Valencian paella 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 being perhaps of highest importance as one of the typical fruits of Valencian agriculture.

Horchata (orxata in Valencian), production of which has traditionally been centred around Alboraya (Alboraia), is a typical drink, accompanied with fartons. Also traditional are the production of coffee liqueur (typical of Alcoi), and mistela (in Marina Baixa and Hoya de Buñol (Foia de Bunyol)). Another one is Aigua de València, it is a cocktail made from a base of cava or champagne, orange juice, vodka, and gin. In general, it is served in pitchers of various sizes and is drunk in a broad cocktail glass. It was made for the first time in 1959 by Constante Gil in the bar Café Madrid, in the city of València.

The great majority of desserts 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, torró in Valencian (a soft nougat), consumed during Christmas in Spain and the rest of the Hispanic world. In Casinos the turrón is typical too but the most important manufacture of the village is peladillas (dragées and sugared almonds). In Xàtiva, the arnadí, a dessert elaborated with pumpkin is made. And in Orihuela and its region the almojábanas.

Valencian symbols[edit]

Valencian coat of arms over the entrance of Serranos Towers
Reial Senyera, Valencian flag

The official Valencian anthem is the Hymn of the Regional Exhibition of 1909 (Himne de l'Exposició Regional de 1909 in Valencian; commonly known as the Himne de València, "Anthem of Valencia"), in whose composition the old hymn of the City of València of the 16th century is included. The emblem of the Valencian Generalitat includes the seal of King Peter IV of Aragon, representative of the historical Kingdom of Valencia, whose shield is inclined towards the right, or, four bars Gules.

The official flag, the Royal Senyera (Reial Senyera), also known as Senyera Coronada (Crowned Senyera) or Senyera Tricolor (Tricolour Senyera) is the same as València's City flag, which, in turn, is a historical derivation of the Senyera, the heraldic symbol of the Crown of Aragon, 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,[31] cultural associations,[32] or political parties[33] 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) and drac alat (a winged dragon which was the emblem of James I), or the music of the Muixeranga, among others.

Sports[edit]

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, Spain's premier league: València CF, Villareal CF, Elche CF and Levante UD. There are many big teams elsewhere, such as CD Alcoyano, Hércules CF, and CD Castellón.

Professional Basketball is represented by one team, València BC in the top league, the ACB. Also, 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.

Motorcycle races are very popular, as the Circuit of Valencia race track and its hosted Valencian Community Grand Prix prove.

The autochthonous Valencian sport is the Valencian pilota, which features a professional Valencian Pilota Squad 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. 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 bookmakers 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.

Another relevant game is the pigeon sport, with an autochthonous dove race being trained, the gavatxut valencià.

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

Regarding female professional sports, Valencian Handball rules the Spanish Honor division league with more than half of the teams, such as CE Handbol Marítim (Astroc Sagunto) and CBF Elda (Elda Prestigio).

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pronunciation:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b See the external references used in the article Names of the Valencian Community and in the Catalan wikipedia
  2. ^ a b "El País Valencià perd habitants per primera vegada des de 1996". La Veu del País Valencià. March 2013. Retrieved April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Estatut d'Autonomia". Corts Valencianes. 1982. Retrieved April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Valenciano". Diccionario de la lengua española. Real Academia Española. October 2014. Retrieved April 2015. 
  5. ^ "La població que sap escriure en valencià es quintuplica en els últims 25 anys". Conselleria d'Educació, Cultura i Esport. November 2014. Retrieved April 2015. 
  6. ^ "...la tradició valenciana provinent de l'històric Regne de València es va trobar amb la concepció moderna del País Valencià i va donar origen a l'autonomia valenciana..." Preamble of Valencian Statute of Autonomy (reformed in 2006)
  7. ^ According to article Valencia from Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  8. ^ Scenery in Land of Valencia, edited by the Valencian Agency of Tourism
  9. ^ Terms mainly used from the Department of Tourism of the Valencian Government. See official publications, and an example of using "Region of Valencia". The other term, "Land of Valencia" is also used by this department
  10. ^ CVNews, English-language magazine published by the Valencia Region Tourist Board
  11. ^ es:Siglo de Oro Valenciano
  12. ^ José Escribano Úbeda-Portugués: España y Europa a través de la Historia. Desde el siglo XV al Siglo XVIII pp 16-17
  13. ^ es:Proyecto de Estatuto de Autonomía para el País Valenciano (1937)
  14. ^ es:Real Decreto-Ley 10/1978, de 17 de marzo, por el que se aprueba el Régimen Preautonómico del País Valenciano
  15. ^ "Fallece el expresidente preautonómico de la Generalitat Enrique Monsonís, Dirigió el Consell entre 1979 y 1982". El País. 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  16. ^ Preamble on Valencian Statutes of Autonomy 1982 and 2006: "Aprovada la Constitució Espanyola, va ser, en el seu marc, on la tradició valenciana provinent de l'històric Regne de València es va trobar amb la concepció moderna del País Valencià i va donar origen a l'autonomia valenciana [...]"
  17. ^ Lower temperatures of 1956
  18. ^ Third Section, First Chapter of the Statute of Autonomy of the Valencian Community
  19. ^ Eurostat GDP figures 2004
  20. ^ Unemployment rate reaches 23% of the total working population
  21. ^ "Cens 2011. Dades generals coneixement". Conselleria d'Educació, Cultura i Esport. 2011. Retrieved April 2015. 
  22. ^ "Knowledge and Social Use of Valencian". Conselleria d'Educació, Cultura i Esport. 2010. Retrieved April 2015. 
  23. ^ http://www.aerocas.com
  24. ^ http://www.mec.es/educa/sistema-educativo/loe/sistema-educativo-loe.html Sistema Educativo LOE by the Spanish Ministry of Education(Spanish Only)
  25. ^ "Ley de Creación de la Entidad Pública Radiotelevisión Valenciana" (PDF). UGT RTTV. 1984. Retrieved April 2015. 
  26. ^ "Los escándalos de Canal 9". vertele.com. 2013. Retrieved April 2015. 
  27. ^ "Sanz, destituït de secretari general de RTVV per assetjament sexual". Vilaweb. 2010. Retrieved April 2015. 
  28. ^ "El fracaso de Fabra acaba con el PP". El País. 2013. Retrieved April 2015. 
  29. ^ "Polic evict staff in Spain after closure of station". BBC. 2013. Retrieved April 2015. 
  30. ^ "El coste del cierre de RTVV asciende a 144,1 millones". Levante-EMV. 2014. Retrieved April 2015. 
  31. ^ See logo of one of major trade unions: CCOO-PV
  32. ^ See usage of the Senyera by a Valencian cultural association: ACPV
  33. ^ See usage of Senyera by political parties EUPV, Bloc Nacionalista Valencià, Green Parties, amongst others, whose combined participation in the Autonomous Elections of 2007 achieved 9% of the total votes.

External links[edit]