Of course there is nothing as beautiful as an old Spanish square, but this plaza is truly magnificent. The rear section of the cathedral forms a major part of the scene.The turret, the Gothic portal of the Apostles is the place where the water court meets, an ancient tradition that decides on water rights. The cathedral also boasts amazing collanades, that look as if they have been transported from a Roman amphitheatre. The basilica next door is a baroque structure with a blue tiled roof and home to the Virgen de Desamparados, one of the most revered statues in the area. The statue is brought out on various religious events, the most important being Easter. The flower offering is one of the most spectacular and lengthy celebrations and huge quantities of bouquets are presented by traditionally dressed representatives from the various barrios. After hours of flower bearing processions the eventual display is amazing. The other important building here is the castle like structure of the Generalitat, the governing body of the Valencian region. The plaza itself is large and apart from the tourists is usually occupied by an interesting selection of people from tat sellers to gitanos selling heather, the latter being masters of pick pocketing. There is a selection of cafes and a to sit and watch the world go by with a cold beer is, of course, one of life's great pleasures. But don't eat here, unless you like yesterday's microwaved paella. Hunt round the backstreets for some interesting little bistros. This old part of Valencia is a must for visitors and an interesting comparison to the ultra modern architecture of the Turia park, the city of science. Try and find the almost enclosed, circular plaza at opposite end of the front of the cathedral. Although mainly given over to old haberdashers, it will give you an idea of an old trading area and outside of this is one of Spain's oldest horchatarias, enjoy.
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