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Photographer's Note

Our TE colleague luighi told me that he was curious about my photos of his town, Valencia, so I am doing a jump in my Spain 2008 travelogue. I didn't make a careful selection of the "best" shots yet, but I thought that this one could be a nice complement of this post of luighi, which seems to have been shot on the same exact location with a different angle, more to the right and up.

The cathedral, whose official long names are Catedral de Santa María de Valencia and Iglesia Catedral Basílica Metropolitana began being built in 1262 in the place where stood the main mosque built during the Moors occupation, which in turn had been built on top or had been adapted from an older Visigothic cathedral (Moors ruled from 714 AD to 1238 AD, with just a short interregnum of 5 years, after Christian forces led by El Cid conquered the city in 1094). The main style of the cathedral is Gothic, but it also presents traces of various other styles, from Romanesque (13-14th century) to Neoclassical (late 18th century), passing through Renaissance (15 and 16th century) and Baroque (early 18th century). Many of the decorative elements perished in a fire that took place during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and in the major restoration done in the 1970's, many of the classical/newer elements were removed in order to recover the original Gothic appearance.

As usual in every major Spanish medieval cathedral, it houses several saints relics, namely the preserved arm of Saint Vincent. But maybe the most amazing thing is that it is claimed that it houses the Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus in the Last Supper. According to Wikipedia, "archaeologists say the artefact is a 1st century Middle Eastern stone vessel, possibly from Antioch...its history can be traced to the 11th century" and it has been credited as the genuine one by many popes. I think that the audio guides of the cathedral mentioned that it was from the 1st or 2nd century BC... Thank God there are many doubts, because if that didn't happen many stories, books and films would loose part of its charm. :-)

Those who are more interested in religious architecture can find many photographs of the cathedral in its page of Spanish Wikipedia (the English page has far less photographs). You can also see a broader view of the cathedral and the beautiful square where it stands in this post of luighi.

Valencia was one of the nicest surprises of this trip of mine. If on one hand I was confident that I would like the city, because nearly all Spanish towns seem to fascinate me, on the other hand I had the idea that in the context of Spain it wouldn't be such a pleasing place and being the last major stop in my trip, I feared that it would be a bit disappointing in comparison with the other places that I had visited shortly earlier. I knew about its famous bustling life and about the amazing architecture oeuvres of Santiago Calatrava (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències and El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía), but somehow I was expecting a much more dull modern city. It's true that it has a very modern appearance and its older parts may lack the dense medieval atmosphere that we can find in other major Spanish towns, but it has a charm of its own and is a very pretty and inviting place, even in the newer neighbourhoods, with lots of parks and outdoor sculptures everywhere.

About the photo and the PP: What you see here is a stitch of two horizontal shots produced with hugin. I find these "nose up" POV's quite challenging because of the inevitable perspective distortions and the light, which most of the times is highly contrasted. In this case, I had also to cope with scarce light and space to choose a more distant POV. I took several shots in raw hoping that one or two sort out reasonably good. As it happens often, I didn't do shots that covered a broader angle and that resulted in not having much chances to take better profit of stitching several images. This is one of those cases where is arguable that the option of making a stitch makes sense, namely because much the same result could be obtained with just one vertical shot. I posted one of such shots as WS#1. On the other hand, I also like the shot used in the lower part of the image, which I posted as WS#2. Maybe you can tell me what you think.

Link to all my photos of Valencia: *

Location (latitude, longitude): 39.47525,-0.3754

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Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
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