Introduction to Valencia: Multicultural History, Modern Flair with Mark Planellas Witzsch

Introduction to Valencia: Multicultural History, Modern Flair with Mark Planellas Witzsch


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Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain, after Madrid and Barcelona, and one of the country’s most dynamic cultural and economic centers. At the crossroads of history for centuries, Valencia was founded by the Romans, occupied by the Moors, conquered by the Catalans, and visited by every other Mediterranean force over the years. Join us to learn Valencia’s history and discover the treasures that result from its multicultural past.

Valencia has been a cultural melting pot since its origins. Islam brought great refinement in architecture, art, philosophy, and agricultural techniques. Catalan colonizers brought language, Christian art, some of the first examples of modern literature in Europe, including one of the first Bibles written in a vernacular language.

This seminar will expand on Valencia’s origins but stay grounded in the present with a discussion of some of the most important sites in the city. We will stroll through its streets using all five senses: from the texture of the stone of its millenary buildings, the chromatic pallet of its Baroque altarpieces and Sorolla’s and Goya’s paintings, the sounds of the Old Quarter, the taste of saffron in Valencian paella, and to the smell of spices and fish in its famous central market. In this comprehensive itinerary, we’ll provide details of some of its best-renowned festivals, such as the famous “Fallas” or summer solstice burning of the giant papier mâché sculptures. Modern architecture in the city, designed by the Valencian avant-garde architect Santiago Calatrava, such as the striking city of Arts and Science, will be shown in this webinar as well.

As we wrap up, we will spend a little time exploring the legend of the Holy Grail, the cup that Christians believe Jesus drank from at the last supper. Valencians claim the cup was brought to their city from Rome and then hidden from Muslim invaders for centuries, only be uncovered again in the fifteenth century. We will test this claim while we explore the cathedral and its many treasures.

Led by an expert on Spanish culture and history, Mark Planellas Witzsch, this interactive seminar will explore Valencia from its historical roots to its modern flair. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of how the city evolved and what draws visitors to Valencia today.

Mark Planellas Witzsch is active in several areas in the cultural field and taught philosophy of art and avant-gardes of the twentieth century at university, focusing on universally well-known Catalan artists such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Catalonia being a part of Spain that has historically defended democracy and the ideals of the republic, the vast majority of its artists were committed to those Civil values and reflected it in their art. This led Mark Planellas to dive into some related topics, such as propaganda in the twentieth century, thus publishing books on the subject, such as “Jaume Miravitlles. El somriure de Catalunya”, which explains the history of the first modern propaganda ministry ever created, in the context of the Spanish Civil War.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 12 reviews
92%
(11)
8%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
N
Nancy Stout (New York, US)
Interesting city

Excellently presented, extensively researched, Planellas presents a description of the city with lots of pictures and maps. Who knew that aside from oranges Valencia has a deep agricultural legacy of saffron and rice? I was expecting a bit more about the city's role during Spanish Civil War, but only because I had attended Planellas's fine seminar on the subject.

K
K. Watson (Vernon, CA)
Interesting introduction to Valencia, Spain

Mark Planellas Witzsch provided a detailed introduction to Valencia, its history and sites, and many bits of cultural context about Spain's third city. Much has changed there since Generalissimo Franco died in 1975 and there is much to see there, some day in the future. His talk gave us the places to start with, when we go.

A
Ann (St Louis, US)
A Fascinating Intro to Valencia

I would give it an A+++. Mark is an excellent and vibrant speaker, his English is flawless and I felt like I really knew Valencia - it's history and culture- by the end of the talk. Would love to go visit. The visuals were outstanding.

L
Larry Levine (Carmel-by-the-Sea, US)
Excellent presentation,

I think Mark did an excellent presentation tracing the history of Valencia from ancients until the present. Lots of old and new illustrations including photographs. The one thing I think would add to the program would be examples of local people and how they live today — market stalls and vendors, shops and shopkeepers, workers, children and elderly people making paella or other dishes, street art (a lot of which is terrific!), etc.

S
Stratis Sapuntzakis (Cambridge, US)
Valencia

Excellent presentation! Mark's presentation was a complement to our visit to Valencia which happened to coincide with the Moros Y Cristianos festival a few years ago.

Customer Reviews

Based on 12 reviews
92%
(11)
8%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
N
Nancy Stout (New York, US)
Interesting city

Excellently presented, extensively researched, Planellas presents a description of the city with lots of pictures and maps. Who knew that aside from oranges Valencia has a deep agricultural legacy of saffron and rice? I was expecting a bit more about the city's role during Spanish Civil War, but only because I had attended Planellas's fine seminar on the subject.

K
K. Watson (Vernon, CA)
Interesting introduction to Valencia, Spain

Mark Planellas Witzsch provided a detailed introduction to Valencia, its history and sites, and many bits of cultural context about Spain's third city. Much has changed there since Generalissimo Franco died in 1975 and there is much to see there, some day in the future. His talk gave us the places to start with, when we go.

A
Ann (St Louis, US)
A Fascinating Intro to Valencia

I would give it an A+++. Mark is an excellent and vibrant speaker, his English is flawless and I felt like I really knew Valencia - it's history and culture- by the end of the talk. Would love to go visit. The visuals were outstanding.

L
Larry Levine (Carmel-by-the-Sea, US)
Excellent presentation,

I think Mark did an excellent presentation tracing the history of Valencia from ancients until the present. Lots of old and new illustrations including photographs. The one thing I think would add to the program would be examples of local people and how they live today — market stalls and vendors, shops and shopkeepers, workers, children and elderly people making paella or other dishes, street art (a lot of which is terrific!), etc.

S
Stratis Sapuntzakis (Cambridge, US)
Valencia

Excellent presentation! Mark's presentation was a complement to our visit to Valencia which happened to coincide with the Moros Y Cristianos festival a few years ago.