Tag Archives: heritage

Valencia hosts the biggest spring carnival in Spain: Fallas fiesta

2019-03-05

Fallas carnival in Valencia, Spain, is considered such an important tradition that it has become a Unesco World Heritage event (Intangible Cultural Heritage). Party-goers, however, don’t have time to think about Unesco because there are so many happenings in the ancient city center – and if there are no organized events, local people make something up.

Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia during Fallas fiesta

The highlights of the loud, three week long fiesta are fireworks (every day at least once), unofficial street performances by local people, and giant sculptures that roam the streets in the city center until they are burned. A travel guide to Valencia, Spain, covers the fiestas, sights, attractions, food and other essentials of the city.

The events are fun, but perhaps the most interesting thing for a visitor is to explore the alleys and streets of the old city center. It is filled with restaurants and bars, and during Fallas, business is good all day and all of the night.

Every day in the afternoon a massive amount of firecrackers and fireworks are blown into air in the town hall square. The result is plenty of noise and a thick wall of smoke that covers the entire plaza. Yet, it is a popular event. Fortunately, fireworks are organized in evenings as well when it is possible to actually see the lights.
crowds at Plaza de Ayuntamiento during Fallas carnival in Valencia
Giant sculptures appear on the streets in city center on the 16th of March until they are burned on the 19th. The big-headed puppets represent politicians, artists, celebrities or a nasty neighbor.

The main events of Fallas take place from March 15th to 19th, but the festivities start at the end of February. The full program is available here.

The hotels can be packed during Fallas, so reservations have to be made early, or alternatively, consider finding a room in the outskirts of the city. The Metro (underground) network is fairly new and covers a large area (even the city’s main beaches). In the city center, loud street parties can go on all night which may not please everyone. Public transportation, cycling or walking are the recommended transport methods.

The origins of Valencia’s Fallas parties are fires that craftsmen used to burn outside their workshops hundreds of years ago. To feed the fire, they threw in chips of wood along with junk collected from the neighborhood. When rags and a hat were added to the object to be burned, the Ninot figure (giant puppet) was born.

Find out more about the travel guide to Valencia, Spain, here.
an excerpt from travel guidebook Valencia, Spain

Google Field Trip App Guides You to Sights and European Cultural Treasures

2015-03-29

Your smartphone knows where you are, because its GPS receiver can calculate your location. Now that your phone knows exactly in which street corner you are standing, it could tell you something about nearby places and sights as well. That’s exactly what Google Field Trip application does.

google field trip application

The Field Trip is available for iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android (for instance, Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola) and Google Glass devices. The app is free, but you will have to give all your personal information from your phone and location information to Google (you won’t notice it, but the app asks for permission for it and then does it in the background).

There are two ways to use the Field Trip app:
1. Let the app determine your location and provide you with information cards about nearby places and sights. Obviously, this is a handy feature when you are standing in a street corner of a strange city and have no idea what to do next.
2. Search a specific place, and let Field Trip tell you what type of sights exists there. A useful feature if you are pondering if, for instance, Grasse in Southern France is a town worth visiting (it definitely is).

The Field Trip app has been around for a while already, but recently an interesting development was announced. Europeana, the digital archive of Europe’s cultural heritage, provides information on Europe’s cultural destinations directly to the Field Trip application. The first step was to add cultural information from Sweden (view a travel guide here), Poland and Estonia to the app.

google field trip europeana

Europeana writes: “Three Europeana partners – the Swedish National Heritage Board, the National Heritage Board of Estonia and the National Heritage Board of Poland – joined the pilot to share their curated and enriched collections. Their datasets are now available in the app history feed and guide tourists to beautiful and prominent historical buildings and monuments in Estonia, Poland and Sweden. Europeana is seeking co-operation with other European cultural institutions. More information here.