Gandia, both city and regional capital, developed between the river Serpis and the Barranco de San Nicolás, on the site of an old Iberian settlement. It was an important cultural and commercial centre during the 15th and 16th centuries: in the 15th it had a university. It was home to several important poets including Ausiàs March, and produced the novelist Joanot Martorell, but it is perhaps best known for the Borgias.

The city regained its former splendor in the 20th century through the cultivation of citrus fruits, and, of course, through Tourism. The city centre has conserved its cultural heritage of those past times in buildings such as the Ducal Palace. The palace was built originally in the fourteenth century and was inhabited by the Borgias in the late fifteenth century. Only the entrance hall with its painted vaulted ceiling survives from the original Gothic building. Later additions are lavish in their luxury and splendor and include the Galeria Dorada, the oratory and the chapel. The Ducal Palace remains the most emblematic building in the city.

The “Colegiata de Santa Maria” (dating from as early as 1250) with its gothic style architecture has been declared an official Monument of National , historic and artistic interest.

The medieval Hospital of St Marc, founded by the Duke Alfons de Vell, now houses Gandia's Archaeological Museum which traces the prehistoric origins of the area. Another of the town's attractions is the Gothic style church of Santa Maria, built during the 14th and 15th centuries. The church was badly damaged by fire during the Spanish Civil War, but restored in the 1940's. The Town Hall itself dates from 1778.

Today, Gandia is one of the largest coastal towns and a thriving centre of commerce and tourism in the region. There are two main zones, Gandia City, which has all the historical monuments, commercial activity, and shopping, and Gandia beach, where apartments and summer residences are to be found. The bars and nightclubs are concentrated in the beach area. The beach and town are actually some 2 km apart which succeeds in separating summer tourism from day-to-day living.



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