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Muslim era (718 – 1238)

When the Muslims arrived in Valencia they found a decadent city. The population was weakening and reducing its extension, although it retained roughly its original layout. The city was devastated by Abd al-Raman I in 778-779, for having taken part in an uprising. Abd al-Allah, Abd al – Raman’s son, during his government made improvements in the city without changing its urban form with one exception – on the outskirts of the city he built a recreation estate. Its name Russafa was reminiscent of the Persian Russafas and has survived to present day. At that time the city had been renamed Balansiya, name that resulted from the evolution of the Latin name Valentia. The written and archaeological sources from this period are very few, which indicates the limited relevance of the city at that time.

In the 1011 Mubarak and Muzaffar took possession of the Taifa of Valencia. By tax increasing they achieve to make some reforms and urban improvements, but in the year 1021, after a popular revolt, Abd al-Aziz ibn Abi Amir (grandson of Almanzor) ascended the throne. With him the city lived a period of splendour. The Roman geographical expansion was overtaken by demographic development and a few new walls were constructed, turning this way the city in the strongest Al-Andalus fortress.

The death of Abd al – Aziz in 1061, followed by a period of instability, led to the conquest of Valencia by el Cid, in the year 1094, until eight years later the Almoravids forced Alfonso VI to evacuate the city, burning it on retreating. Thus, Valencia became part of the Almoravid Empire, until the Berbers from the Atlas area, called Almohades, in 1145 replaced them in the government. In the year 1238, after five months of siege, the city was conquered by Jaime I. This meant an abandonment of the city by a part of the Muslim population and allowed the settlement of Christian families, coming from the North, who made big changes in society, bringing their customs and ways of life to a city that traditionally had coexisted for centuries with the three monotheistic religions and traditions.