It is with a wistful look into the air that local Valencians remember the Russafa Valencia of old, their memories are positively poetic; the tradesman’s garages fixing the Citroen C15 “The van that built this place” says Jose as he motions his arm down Calle Cadiz. He remembers not walking more than 200 metres for anything, from breakfast to wing mirrors everything was available and everybody was united: Russafa was where you went to get things fixed.
Jose, a seller of hydraulic oil coolers, now works from 6am to 8pm on an industrial park 15 km outside Valencia and laments the state of Russafa now. New bars have an obligatory wall full of books, for slim, lightly bearded young men to peruse as they sip their 10am Cortado. The Parking Attendant, ever watchful, waits at the perfect spots to increase local council revenue by issuing countless parking tickets, an easy money-spinner in an area where parking spaces have been removed faster than the mechanics workshops that once adorned the narrow streets of this iconic barrio.
A New Look for Russafa Valencia
Walk down Calle Cadiz or Calle Sueca, the two central streets in Russafa and today it is very different indeed. Most people get around on touring bikes complete with basket and avant-garde paint designs. There is new vibe around art, so there are pop-up exhibitions, craft shops with artisan products, all eco-friendly and made from recycled material with eye-watering price tags. Many of the bars host local art, so most places you go to will have featured artwork from a local up and coming artist. Most of it is modern, and acrylic seems to be the paint of choice these days.
Back in the day, Russafa was not really a place to go out at night. People worked there during the day and then would go back to their homes in the north of city, so the bars generally were open for breakfast and almuerzo. In contrast, it is in the evening that most people make their money in Russafa, with hundreds of bars and terraces packed into a two-square kilometre area.
Because of this, Russafa is the busiest place in Valencia for a Friday or Saturday night. Restaurants cater for every taste, there are vegan eateries, authentic Turkish kebabs, tapas, Valencian style rice restaurants, patisseries for snacks. There are clubs playing music from Spanish pachanga, to awesome DJs from all over Spain playing techno and house. People tend to spill into the street at around 5 in the morning. This is not well received by the locals in the area and a new “green-zone” initiative has been put in place to try to limit this.
Alongside the removal of the old, traditional workshops, prices have increased, with an average three-bedroom flat in Russafa now costing more than double that of other areas the same distance from the centre. As high-income families move into the area, prices have inevitably move upwards.
It still isn’t at the level of Graçia, Barcelona, or Malasaña, Madrid. The minimum rent in those cities is upward of 700€ per month for a one-bedroom apartment. In Russafa this price would get a great apartment, and frankly, the night-life is still relatively cheap.
For the bohemian types, hipsters, artists, eco-warriors and tree huggers, Russafa is a welcoming place. Similar to Shoreditch in London, Russafa has a massive contrast which is difficult to fathom, high rent, expensive property, with a real gritty streak running through it. As you spend time there you start to recognise the local perro-flautas, and even say hola.
There is a very definite trend towards tourism, new businesses cater for the needs of tourists, and true to the new bohemian style, most of them are bike rental shops, tours, bric a brac outlets and take-away kebab shops and pizzerias.
A long weekend in Russafa Valencia is great idea. It is within a ten-minute walk of the centre of Valencia so tourists can visit all the monuments during the day, and if you are young, and looking for adventure, Russafa is a hotch-potch labyrinth of bars and pubs to be explored and enjoyed.
Globexs rents many apartments in Russafa. Click here to see the offer.
Hipsters; improving the worldwide quality of kebabs.
This is the upshot of urban areas that are now common in every city. They are friendly. Although the old traditions and industry have been lost, they have been replaced with something that was probably unexpected, and regardless of whether you live in €200,000 townhouse or a dingy rented apartment on the outskirts, you feel like you belong to the place. It’s not yet big enough to be faceless, and it’s not too small to be claustrophobic.
For people like Jose, there was a high water mark, which he can look back on happily, but with the sadness that his stomping ground has now gone. But around the world you can see this from Salford in Manchester to Bushwick in New York, the hipsters move in, the prices go up, but at least so does the quality of the kebabs.
Do you want to invest in Russafa Valencia? Contact Blue Key Valencia for more information.