The two faces of Valencia: above, the Plaza del Collado, tranquil during the daytime and below, overflowing with night revellers.

The high point of the “fallas” due to take place tonight in Valencia, will reduce to ashes an entire year's work carried out by local fiesta artists, and represents a social criticism of the past millenium. A total of 750 monuments will be fuel for the fire as from 10pm, when the infantile section goes into the flames, followed half an hour later by the award-winning monument entitled, “The Farm”. At midnight, people will begin burning the monuments installed in most of the Valencian neighbourhoods, which this year feature among others, the president of the Generalitat, Eduardo Zaplana, and the mayoress, Rita Barbera; the sensationalist newspapers; footballers' salaries and the “effect 2000”. The 375 “fallas” have been the object of criticism and delight among the hundreds of thousands of inhabitants and tourists who, since the inaugural night last Thursday, have been blocking the main roads of the city centre, during the last four days. Two of these monuments will be saved from the flames by popular vote. One is from the infantile section, “Cuanto cuento” (I can count a lot) and the other from the “special” section, a figure which represents a bulrush craftsman. At 00.30am the flames will devour “The Enchantment”, a figure 18 metres tall, which cost 18 million pesetas, and was awarded a prize as the best “falla” of 2000.


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