Fishing Boats Albufera Valencia Spain

Why is the Albufera of Valencia important for Paella and Spanish literature?

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El Palmar, where the paella was born

Valencian paella is probably the most famous food in Spanish cuisine. The combination of rice, meat or fish is a humble and commoner specialty. This tradition was born in El Palmar, a village has fishermen and rice farmers near Valencia. El Palmar overlooks the Albufera lagoon, one of the places that travelers cannot miss when visiting Valencia because its beatiful nature.

Paella Valencia Spain
heron bird boats lagoon albufera el palmar spain

Travel tips: the most convenient way to reach Albufera is by bus. Lines 24 and 25 of the public company EMT reach Albufera in about 50 minutes. Both lines depart from Puerta del Mar (“Navarro Reverter” stop). We got off at the “Embarcador de l’Albufera” stop. The cost of the bus is € 1.50 per person and is free if you have the “Valencia Tourist Card” .

Grey heron ducks albufera Valencia spain
sticks birds sky lagoon albufera valencia spain

Albufera of Valencia Natural Park

Albufera is an Arabic name that indicates a salt lagoon, separated from the sea by a strip of land. To be defined as Albufera, the lagoon and the sea need to be in close communication thanks to rivers or canals. The separation between the sea and the Albufera of Valencia was autonomously completed in Roman times. At that time, the coastal lagoon occupied 30,000 hectares. After long years of rice cultivation, the lake is just 2,800 hectares wide Today. We highly recommend using a fishing boat to cross the lagoon. The prices are absolutely modest.

tourists boat reeds albufera valencia spain

Around the lake, there is a large marsh of 14,000 hectares that is almost completely dedicated to the cultivation of rice. Rice cultivation was introduced in the Muslim era as early as the eighth century. The swamp is called “El Marjal” and represents the largest part of the Albufera Natural Park. The Park also includes the Dehesa del Saler, or the pine forest that stretches on the strip of land that separates the lake from the Mediterranean Sea.

Grey Heron Stick Albufera Valencia Spain

The boats on the lake are not only dedicated to tourist trips but above all to fishing. In fact, the Muslim emirs already authorized fishing inside the lake. After the reconquest, the Christian ruler James I of Aragon also signed a decree authorizing fishing in the lake. The rulers demanded a fifth of the fish caught in the lake as a tax. In 1857, the government began to regulate business. Unfortunately, overexploitation has caused the disappearance of two important species such as eel and sea bass. Mullet fishing remains active until now.

reeds ducks albufera valencia spain

Writer Vicente Blasco Ibáñez

The Albufera of Valencia is also a literary and cinematographic place. The Valencian writer Vicente Blasco Ibáñez set the novel “Cañas y barro” (reeds and mud) here. The 1902 novel is a classic of Spanish literature, from which a 1978 series of the same name is derived.

lake clouds albufera Valencia Spain

The author was a republican journalist and politician who founded and directed the periodical “El Pueblo” (The People) for many years. Blasco Ibáñez was important in Spanish history because he founded the political movement which due to his name was called Blasquism. The ideals of Blasquism were primarily opposition to the monarchy and the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the movement fought for political reforms that would give full democratic powers to the population and economic reforms that would spread property.

grey heron flying reeds valencia lagoon spain
Seagull Stick Albufera El Palmar Spain

The populist politician was therefore a writer attentive to social issues. His books stand out for their naturalism and realism. The author identifies with the Spanish literary current of Costumbrismo, aimed at telling popular stories with detachment and absolute precision without criticism or analysis. “Cañas y barro” tells the story of three generations of the Paloma family, which faces the changes in society in the 19th century.

reeds coast stick albufera lake el palmar spain

The book “Cañas y barro”

In fact, the grandfather of the Paloma family has always devoted himself to fishing, an activity that his grandson does not like. The young man prefers to have fun in taverns and then join the military and participate in the war in Cuba. The Paloma family is contrasted by the figure of Cañamel, the richest man in the village and owner of the tavern. This contrast generates a sentimental story destined to end in tragedy.

Flying Grey Heron Albufera Palmar Spain

After the death of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, Adolfo Suarez became prime minister in 1976 and began a rapid democratization of the country. He belived that movies and TV shows were important for reaching his goals. Two years later, the main Spanish television channel released the series “Cañas y barro”, consisting of six one-hour episodes. Today, the series remains one of the symbols of the democratic transition. Recently the series has been fully restored and can be seen on the TVE website.

seagulls sticks albufera Valencia Spain

Written by Enrico, Translated by Hua and Photo from Hua

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