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Courtesy of Michel Cruz of Rimontgo
To count on the international scene a city needs a certain...well, stature. Names such as New York, London, Paris and Rome speak for themselves, and are so famous that they promote not just a city but country too. In Spain cities such as Madrid and Barcelona enjoy that kind of status – and Valencia would very much like to join this elite group.
A centre of business, tourism and conferences, as well as cultural and sports events, Valencia has much to gain from such international recognition. While it has firmly cemented its status as the third largest city in Spain, both in terms of population and its contribution to the national economy, this Mediterranean port has sometimes struggled to be recognised on the international stage.
Putting yourself ‘on the map’
The likes of Seville and Granada long overshadowed Valencia in this regard, but thanks to a host of prestigious high profile events the metropolis of around one million people has been able to make its name resound to the farthest corners of the globe. The America’s Cup came to Valencia in 2007, while Formula One started using the city as a backdrop for the European Grand Prix in 2008. Both events ensure the international jet-set comes to town, along with TV audiences of several hundred million, but Valencia’s facilities also enable it to host Moto GP races, Champions League football, visiting orchestras and important European and global conferences and trade fairs.
Valencia’s international stature is now as high as it ever was, and the ‘brand’ is achieving international recognition as one of the places not to miss in Spain. In the wake of this has come the growth of cultural, sports, business and tourist traffic, as the city raised its corporate profile and established itself as a major Mediterranean centre. Visitors, whether here for business or pleasure, will perhaps be surprised to find this an elegant city with grand boulevards and stylish shopping districts, where the beautiful historic quarters balance the modern edge present in the avant-garde architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences.
This vast complex, designed by Valencian-born Santiago Calatrava, has helped to define the city just as the Eiffel Tower does Paris. Moreover, it has become the symbol of the dynamism and confidence that has elevated Valencia to its newfound status.
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