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Things to do in Valencia

  • Plaza de toros Monumental de Valencia Plaza de Torres Monumental de Valencia Venezuela
    The world's second biggest bullring is in Valencia, Venezuela and is used for concerts and fairs as well as bullfighting.  Holding 25,000 people, the stadium was built in 1968.  Workers poured concrete both day and night for three months to get the stadium built.  However, in 1998, just after 30 years, the whole stadium was renovated since it had fallen into disrepair and reopened a year later with many improved venues and seating.  A bullfighting museum and Monumental theater were added, making them unique in size and scope; as well as being in a position to handle almost any kind of problems.  On the front side, a huge aluminum plaque was fashioned, and into that a number of mosaics were created and the whole thing is called a fisiocromia.  In front of that, a bull monument sculpture was created by the Valencian Wladimir Zabaleta.  Outside ten busts of great bullfighters have been placed on concrete pedestals . 

  • Las Dunas Amusement Park
    The Dunes amusement park in Valencia, Venezuela is one of the most favorite places for young people to go; although some of the older ones enjoy it just as much.  There is a small train for the small frys and a carousel, games of all shapes and sizes that test your skills and coordination.  They have two types of bumper vehicles here, boats and cars, which makes for great fun regardless of your age.  A mini golf course that is always great fun for people of all ages, pool tables for the older folks that are always busy, with a water slide that seems to be just as busy especially during the hot summer months, and a zipline that gets everyone's blood flowing and is very exciting whatever your age.  For the baseball enthusiast, there is a batting cage where you can hone your batting skills, always a great place for the aspiring ball player.  And the friendliest people anywhere to help you enjoy the day to its fullest. 

  • Fernando Penalver Park
    The Fernando Penalver Park, is one of the favorites of the city and its residents, and a place where children can learn the rules of the road while on a bike.  The gardens are beautiful with flowers, trees and walk areas that allow people to walk, jog or run; as well as ride your bike.  It is a great place to have a party, no matter what kind it is, and concert halls to enjoy with friends or family; plus a cultural center for visitors to see what is offered and the cultural aspects of the city.  The landscaping is wonderful and a quiet serene place to enjoy the weather, smell the flowers in bloom and just spend time with nature.  It is a place where romance is inspired and friendship enhanced, a natural environment that soothes the savage soul.

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  • Acuario de ValenciaValencia Aquarium Valencia, Venezuela
    In the city of Valencia, the country's biggest aquarium, the JV Seijas Aquarium thrills and entertains visitors and citizens alike.  The main show and draw are the wonderful dolphins that give shows, play and show off for the children and audience that come here to enjoy their show.  Sometimes the people sitting in the front will get wet from the splashing of the dolphins that cool them off and cause many to laugh at their antics.  There are two exhibits that contain many of the fish that are found in the area, and one that holds the alligator and his environment with its river.  There are fish from the Caribbean and exotic fish from around the country, including an eel.  The aquarium is set in a lagoon with tapirs, reptiles, mammals, birds, monkeys and an ocelot.  An American puma has his own home, as well as a yellow-knobbed pompadour and porcupine.  The aquarium contains the biggest freshwater tank in the world; and the dolphins are born and bred in the aquarium, which is also the only one in the world.  The woods around the aquarium abound with a plethora of magnificent flowers that are native to the country or have been brought in and now are acclimated to their new environment.  It houses over 115 species, containing 388 animals; with the aquarium continuously gaining new creatures through trades or acquisitions and donations.  They have a terrarium that displays the many varieties of snakes that are found in the country, with many spiders, centipedes, frogs, toads, caimans, turtles and crocodiles.  The artificial lake that houses many different creatures like the iguanas, mallards and other species; many of which live here are endangered and threatened by extinction.  

  •  Casa Paez
    One of the city's more interesting museums is the Casa Paez, which is found in the former home of Jose Antonio Paez; who from humble beginnings became a great military leader and general of the liberation army and the fourth president of Venezuela.  Paez was instrumental in gaining independence for his country and the other South American countries that were fighting the Spanish armies that wanted to keep control, much the same way the British wanted to keep the American colonies and all their resources.  The house is typical of the types of homes that were built during that era in the mid 1800s, and contains a courtyard, halls and corridors with the bedroom off the sides and a basement that would withstand heavy storms or even a safe haven from enemies.  There are a few cannons located in the cellar or basement of the house that are examples of the type used for their independence.  The walls are full of pictures that showed the struggle for independence from Spain.  Some of the frescoes on the walls were painted by Pedro Castillo, that depict the different scenes of the Battle of Caraboro which were told to him by Paez.  Jose was also instrumental in separating Venezuela from the Gran Colombia country that Simon Bolivar wanted to start; which included Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador.  While Paez lived here, he learned English, French, botany and dancing.  He was the first president of the country after it had broken off relations with Spain, and was loved by the people, as much as he was liked by the wealthy.  He was more of a dictator than president, but since he wasn't interested in personal gain, like so many of his contemporaries, he was effective.

Local Restaurants in Valencia
  • Rias Gallegas
    For over 35 years, this Galician restaurant has served up some of the finest foods in the city.  Using only the freshest and most select ingredients to prepare and serve your meal, the rewards will surprise your mouth.  Some of the specialties include; for starters; Galician empanada, tender squid with beans, caldo gallego, goose liver terrine with onion compote and port reduction, and Galician octopus with buttery potatoes.  Fish and seafood offered; razor clams, shrimp, lobsters, crayfish, halibut, barnacies, scallops, cockles, clams, crab, cod, oysters, turbot, hake, flounder and can be baked or broiled.  The meats include; grilled steaks, duck liver, beef sirloin with potato terrine, duck breast with red fruit sauce, with honey and baked.  Desserts include; homemade pastries, cheese with quince Galician home, Fluid souffle chocolate cake, chestnut cake and creamy chocolate with oil and salt.

Rias Gallegas Valencia Venezuela

Rias Gallegas Valencia Venezuela

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  • Celis HouseMuseum of Art and History Valencia, Venezuela
    The art and history museum in Valencia, Venezuela is housed in the Casa de los Celis, a lovely house in the center of the city, atypical of the colonial homes that were built during the 18th century.  The collection includes books, colonial art, documents and various anthropology and paleontology artifacts that have been recovered from the country.  It is a National monument site and it is an important part of the educational studies of the local school children.  Here they learn about the historical and cultural heritage of the religion and conservation of these wonderful items.  Parts of the collection include; the Andres Perez Mujica collection, colonial art collection, collection findings and dreams, the historical archives of Maria Clemencia Camaran, a colonial kitchen, the library and the staff's offices.  The house itself is a beautiful example of colonial style architecture and has a history in its own.  The first owner was a colonel in the cavalry, the first nominated mayor of Nueva Valencia del Rey and the war for independence.  During this war, it was occupied by the Spanish, and other times by the patriots.  In 1821, it was used as a hospital, and when the war was over and the colonel returned, he was forced to leave because of his alliance with Spain.  The new government took control of it and turned it into a hospital again, until it became the property of Jose Maria Briceno, a local hero, since the government didn't have the money to keep it a hospital.  After Briceno died, his widow sold the home to the Celis family in 1839, which was a wealthy and well-to-do family.  They made many repairs and refurbished much of the home.  In 1964, the house was made a National monument, but was in need of many repairs.  With the necessary funds acquired, it was restored, and by 1971 became the museum of art and history.  The first collection that came to this museum belonged to the painter and sculptor Andres Perez Mujica which his widow donated. 

  • Teatro Municipal de Valencia
    The municipal theater of Valencia was constructed in the late 19th century, and was opened in 1894 with a seating capacity of 647.  The ceiling was painted by Antonio Herrera Toro, with images of the great masters of music and literature, and was declared a National Historic landmark in 1964.  The architectural style and the paintings are the main reasons for its inclusion and is now thought to be one of the most prominent buildings in the country.  The plans for the theater actually were designed in 1879, but with the death of Navas Spinola, the construction was delayed.  In 1887, the plans were approved and construction began, and in 1889, the architect ordered much of the wrought iron that was to be used in the building from overseas.  In 1891 and 92, Toro began painting the ceiling and had to divide it up into three parts because it was circular.  In the first area, he painted the images of Goethe, Moliere, Calderon and Shakespeare; four famous playwrights, and four famous musicians; Auber, Meyerbeer, Rossini and Beethoven.  In the next area, he painted the personification of painting, the comedy, the dance, the tragedy and music that is entwined with garlands of flowers and fruit.  And in the last space, many arches with names inscribed inside like Alexandre Dumas, Gluck, Byron, Moratin, Lope de Vega, Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, Breton, Andres Bello, Goldoni and Larra.  Then in 1892, the theater is considered ready and the furniture is ordered, only to have the legalist revolution start and the theater ends up being occupied and used as the headquarters.  During this time, the entire place begins to run down and is in desperate need of maintenance and repair.  Finally in 1894, it is refurbished and readied to open.  Again in 1949, the terrible state of the conditions in the theater called for more repairs to be done, and the floors and ceiling were done first.  New dressing rooms were built, facades replaced with more redecorating and seat replacements; and new fire alarm system installed.  It was reopened in 1950, and in 1966 more renovations were done.  In 1971 to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Carabobo, much redecorating was done to the theater and its furniture; and finally in 1979, the theater was closed for major reworks.  In 1994 and 95, the theater was picked to have a major upgrade that would increase the seating and return the building to its original condition. 

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  • Casa de la EstrellaCasa de la Estrella Valencia, Venezuela
    The house of the star was almost an entire block long in the late 17th century and is considered one of the oldest homes in the city of Valencia, Venezuela.  It was designed to be a hospital or more precisely the San Antonio Hospital Paud, under the guidelines of the Holy Council of Trent.  Documents from the period 1769 until 1804 stated that the hospital would be made of masonry and open into the street with a chapel connected that would also lead into the street.  This way the patients could see and hear the masses that were said in the chapel.  During the early 19th century, the building was used for a few historical meeting places including the conference of 1812 and the Constituent Congress of 1830.  In 1812, the Congress of the United States of Venezuela met in Caracas and decided that the capital of the country would be Caracas, instead of Valencia and it continued meeting to solve this argument until February 15, 1812.  The next meeting was held at the house of the star in Valencia and three men were named to head the executive branch of the government.  Fernando Penalver was voted the President of the Congress and some very important laws were passed; the emancipation of slavery, which also freed the children of slaves; the abolition of the Inquisition and the law that made desertion from the military a crime.  The minutes of these meetings were given to a family that lived in Valencia, and they were not brought out into public view until 1907 and now the book resides in the Oval room of the Congress.  From May until October 1830, the Constitutional Convention was held at the house of the star and this convention was the final process that created the Republic of Venezuela.  This congress was called by Jose Antonio Paez, who was the Commander of the Army and head of the civil authorities in Venezuela and a staunch supporter of leaving the Gran Colombia; with its government in Bogota, Colombia.  The meeting was held in Valencia because Paez was living there and many of his best supporters were also.  Because the republic was started at the house, it became known as a center for learning  and teaching center.  In 1833, Paez declared it to be the National College of Valencia and in 1852, it became the School of Higher Education with philosophy, mathematics, politics, medicine and science being added to the curriculum.  In 1883, it becomes the Federal College of First Category and has a student enrollment of 101.  In 1887, the curriculum is extended to include; French, Latin, Greek, English and German.  And the hospital was changed into the Charity Hospital that would teach medicine, surgical procedures, anesthetics and microscope.  Sadly in 1903, the then president Cipriano Castro has it closed and in 1936 becomes a orphanage.  In 1970, the hospital becomes the Oncology Hospital of Carabobo and ten years later becomes the State History Center.  And another decade after that is declared a cultural heritage and becomes a museum.

May 12, 2011