Just a hours drive south of Valencia, you'll find the sleepy but beautiful town of Anna. This town close to Xátiva is famous in the Community of Valencia for its water resources and its well preserved Arabic/Christian palace. Actually Anna means 'water' in Arabic, and visitors can hardly miss the impact the vital liquid had and still has on this town of water. Go for a day trip to Anna and see how beautifully the water has shaped the area over time, and how the culture has developed in this rich context.
Albufera is the hispanoamerican term for a slightly brackish or salt water body, separated from the sea by a sand bar. The 'Albufera of Anna' isn't well-known at all, and normally when somebody is talking about Albufera they are referring to the Albufera National Park - directly to the south of Valencia with its rice fields and bird life. For sure the Albufera of Anna can’t compete in bird-life nor size with the Albufera National Park - instead it is a perfect spot to have a break and take a stroll around the lake. During peak season the camping ground is open and three bars and two restaurants are close by. If you want to enjoy the view over Albufera of Anna and the area you can get up the nearby hill. From this vantage point you will get a better overview of the huge area of orange, mandarin and clementine plantations and the impressive mountain panorama.
There are several hiking trails surrounding Anna - offering the opportunity to get closer to the landscape shaped by water. But not only nature was highly influenced by this element, but also the town was rich because of this important resource. Industry settled in Anna, because of the opportunity to run machines by water power. With the invention of electricity, conventional energy was cheaper and a lot of companies disappeared again. Nowadays the town of Anna lives mainly off tourism. On one of the hiking trails you can spot an old textile factory ran by water and nearby there are waterfalls as well.
Follow the hiking trail to the centre of Anna - strolling through the small streets is highly relaxing. Take in the typical atmosphere of a small Spanish town. We were there at the beginning of February and I suppose we were the only non-Spanish visitors.
Close to the well in the town centre is the Palace of the Count of Cervelló. It has an Arabic and a Christian part and you will get an insight into the former richness of the inhabitants. Do a guided tour and get to know more about the history of Anna, its palace and its connection with water. Get the information about the opening hours before your visit. We were very lucky to be able to attend the tour and visit the castle, because we were at the right place at the right time. It would have been a shame to miss out on this highlight of Anna, but make up your own mind and check out the following pictures from my time there.
In the Arabic part of the castle the decorations of the ceilings, walls and floors were painted by hand and its colours and details are both impressive and beautiful.
For the Christian part you enter another area of the castle. Up the stairs you will find a beautiful floor and will notice the obvious difference in decoration and style. One floor up the tour ends with a short video about the city of water - Anna.
Cover picture © Credits to Christian Stascheit
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