Valencia (Spanish: [baˈlenθja]), officially València (Valencian: [vaˈlensia]), is the capital of the autonomous community of and the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with around 800,000 inhabitants in the administrative centre. Its urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 1.6 million people. Valencia is Spain's third largest metropolitan area, with a population ranging from 1.7 to 2.5 million depending on how the metropolitan area is defined. The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the busiest container port on the Mediterranean Sea. The city is ranked at Beta-global city in the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
Valencia was founded as a Roman colony by the consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus in 138 BC, and called Valentia Edetanorum. In 714 Moroccan and Arab Moors occupied the city, introducing their language, religion and customs; they implemented improved irrigation systems and the cultivation of new crops as well. Valencia was the capital of the Taifa of Valencia. In 1238 the Christian king James I of Aragon conquered the city and divided the land among the nobles who helped him conquer it, as witnessed in the Llibre del Repartiment. He also created a new law for the city, the Furs of Valencia, which were extended to the rest of the Kingdom of Valencia. In the 18th century Philip V of Spain abolished the privileges as punishment to the kingdom of Valencia for aligning with the Habsburg side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Valencia was the capital of Spain when Joseph Bonaparte moved the Court there in the summer of 1812. It also served as capital between 1936 and 1937, during the Second Spanish Republic.
The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with approximately 169 ha (420 acres); this heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country's most popular tourist destinations.
Due to its long history, this is a city with numerous popular celebrations and traditions, such as the Fallas (featuring the traditional Spanish dish paella), which were declared as Fiestas of National Tourist Interest of Spain in 1965 and Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in November 2016. From 1991 to 2015, Rita Barberá Nolla was the mayor of the city, yet in 2015, Joan Ribó from Coalició Compromís, became mayor.
Roman Cornucopia, symbol of Valentia, found on the floor of a Roman building excavated in the Plaça de la Mare de Déu.
The original Latin name of the city was Valentia (IPA: [waˈlɛntɪa]), meaning "strength", or "valour", the city being named according to the Roman practice of recognising the valour of former Roman soldiers after a war. The Roman historian Livy explains that the founding of Valentia in the 2nd century BC was due to the settling of the Roman soldiers who fought against an Iberian rebel, Viriatus.
Plaça de la Mare de Déu (also called Plaza de la Virgen), iconic square of the city.
During the rule of the Muslim kingdoms in Spain, it had the nickname Medina at-Tarab ('City of Joy') according to one transliteration, or Medina at-Turab ('City of Sands') according to another, since it was located on the banks of the River Turia. It is not clear if the term Balansiyya was reserved for the entire Taifa of Valencia or also designated the city.
By gradual sound changes, Valentia has become Valencia [baˈlenθja] (i.e. before a pausa or nasal sound) or [-βaˈlenθja] (after a continuant) in Castilian and València [vaˈlensia] in Valencian. In Valencian, e with grave accent (è) indicates /ɛ/ in contrast to /e/, but the word València is an exception to this rule, since è is pronounced /e/. The spelling "València" was approved by the AVL based on tradition after a debate on the matter.