Gandia Tourist Attractions
Gandía, once capital of a dukedom, lies in the richest and most populous huerta in the former kingdom of Valencia. It was the seat of the Borja (Borgia) family, which produced the notorious Pope Alexander VI, previously Bishop Rodrigo de Borja of Valencia. Alexander's great-grandson Francisco, who was born in Gandía in 1510, became the third General of the Jesuits and was later canonized.Gandía consists of the town proper and the little port of El Grao (Catalan El Grau), 4km/2.5mi away; its long sandy beaches have made it one of the great centers of mass tourism on the Valencian coast.
Palacio del Santo Duque (Palau Sant Duc)
At the highest point on the old town of Gandía, at the east end of the Paseo de las Germanías (Catalan Passeig de les Germanies), which cuts through the town center, stands the Palacio del Santo Duque, in which Francisco de Borja was born. The palace was given its present form in the 16th and 18th centuries. Its finest features are the Patio de las Armas with its magnificent staircase (16th century) and the Baroque state apartments, particularly the 38m/125ft long Golden Gallery, which has a very beautiful mosaic floor. There is a small museum commemorating the life and work of San Francisco de Borja.
In Plaza de la Constitución (Catalan Plaça Constitució) is the Colegiata, a collegiate church with a tall tower which is a fine example of Catalan Gothic architecture. It was built in the 13th and 14th Centuries on the site of a Moorish mosque and was renovated and enlarged in the 15th and 16th Centuries. The south doorway and the Apostles' Doorway are richly decorated with sculpture.
Antigua Universidad (Antica Universitat)
The Calle Mayor (Catalan Carrer Maior) runs north from Gandía to the Old University, which was founded by Francisco Borja. After the banning of the Jesuits the 16th century University building, now with a Baroque facade, was given to the Mercedarian Order.
Yearly Gandía holds the celebration Fallas.
El Grao (El Grau)
El Grao was once a busy port which had an active fishing fleet and exported the citrus fruits grown in the huerta, but those days are gone. The town's economy now depends on its long white beaches, lined with hotels, apartment blocks, restaurants and bars.