Valencia is a city full of myths and urban legends, of commonly known stories that we accept as true, although some of them may sound too far-fetched. They are part of the cultural heritage of the city and within them there is part of fantasy and a part of reality. Would you like to know some of them? Keep reading!
The Holy Grail
Did you know that the real Holy Grail is in the Cathedral of Valencia? Its whereabouts is one of the greatest mysteries given by the history of Christianity. It is assured that Saint Peter moved this relic to the city of Rome, being later guarded by the Kingdom of Aragon and finally arrived in Valencia in 1432, by order of Alfonso V the Magnanimous, where it is still guarded today in the Cathedral of Valencia.
Come and check it out with your own eyes. Moreover, if you want to know more about this relic and the artistic heritage of other churches do not hesitate to reserve your spot on the Grail and Religious Art guided tour. It leaves every Friday, at 10:00 a.m. from the Tourist Office of De La Paz St.
2. The Patriarch’s Alligator
Legend has it that an alligator dwelled in the old Turia riverbed, scaring everyone who approached the shore and becoming a fierce dragon. Blasco Ibáñez (a very famous Valencian writer) embodied this myth in a story called “The Dragon and the Patriarch” and, to this day, the Patriarch’s Church keeps the alligator stuffed as part of its ornamentation. For some historians, the alligator may have been a gift from the Viceroy of Peru to Patriarch Juan de Ribera.
Do not worry! Now you can stroll quietly along the Turia Gardens without crocodiles in sight, you will only find people exercising, walking and enjoying this wonderful urban Natural Park.
3. The Virgin of Good Birth
Don’t be surprised if you see many pregnant women walking inside the Cathedral. In Valencia we have a popular tradition that guarantees a good birth to pregnant women with the Virgin of The Good birth. You need to do nine laps, one for each month of the pregnancy, inside the Cathedral of Valencia. The most devoted mothers continue to perform this ritual, asking Our Lady to have an uncomplicated childbirth.
In addition, if you are going to carry out this tradition, you can enter the Cathedral without paying admission.
4. The Legend of the Rat Penat (Bat)
What does the bat mean to the Valencians? Why does it appear on the city’s shields? There is a reason for it! According to legend, when Jaume I sought to conquer the city of Valencia, a bat entered his quarters in the middle of the night, bumping with his armour and other personal items. This caused him to wake up, warning him of a surprise attack they were about to receive. Thus, they were able to prevent the attack and be victorious. Jaume I wanted to honour this gesture by placing the ‘Rat Penat’ on the shield of the city of Valencia. The legacy continues to be present as it also the symbol of other institutions and bodies, such as the Valencia FC.
5. What is inside James I’s horse?
Have you seen James I Parterre sculpture yet? In Valencia there are many myths about what might be inside the horse. Legend has it that the figure, which weights 11 and a half tons, contains a treasure inside. And the thing is that, the owner of the horse, a carrier of Marxalenes called Rafael Martí, while they were casting the bronze on the work, he threw his inseparable cap into the liquid metal so that it would be as eternal as the figure of the horse. It is also said that inside that hat were all his life savings. Therefore, inside the horse of James I, there could be a real treasure: the legacy of a humble man proud of what he was.
Don’t you find the city of Valencia even more intriguing? An inexhaustible source of myths and legends coexist with historical events, taking part in the Valencian popular culture and surprising the curious and tourists who visit the city. You can get to know even more and in the most fun way through a cultural gymkhana goes through the 2,000 years of the city history. Come to Valencia and seep into our legends!