Lagoon: Valencia, Albufera


This postcard shows the Albufera Lagoon. The photograph is by Jean Laurent (1816‒86), one of the most important photographers to work in Spain in the 19th century. Based in Madrid beginning in 1843, he started to develop an interest in photography in 1855, taking panoramic views of cities, landscapes, monuments, public works, and works of art of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as making portraits of public figures and people in traditional costumes. Located on the outskirts of the city of Valencia, Albufera Natural Park is home to the largest lagoon in Spain and is one of the most important wetlands in the Iberian Peninsula. It is a place of great ecological interest where waterbirds nest. Traditionally, its rich waters have been a source of sustenance for fishermen and rice farmers. In 1986 the site of the lagoon was declared a natural park. The name Albufera derives from the Arabic al-buḥayra (lake). The Valencian Library holds a vast collection of visual material that includes prints, photographs, posters, postcards, maps, drawings, and other minor printed ephemera, with more than 45,000 postcards dating from 1873 to the present. The use of postcards as a low-cost way of communicating short messages without the need for an envelope was first approved in Vienna on October 1, 1869. Copies of the first French, Austrian, English and Spanish editions are held at the Valencian Library. In Spain, the use of postcards was authorized by the royal ordinance of May 10, 1871. The circulation of privately produced illustrated postcards was authorized in 1886. The images in the collection of the Valencian Library mostly are views of cities, monuments, urban squares, and everyday scenes. Most are printed by collotype.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information



Title in Original Language

El Canal : Valencia, Albufera

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photograph (postcard) ; 14 x 9 centimeters


  1. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Checklist of the exhibition The Solemnity of Shadows: Juan Laurent’s Vision of Spain, November 7‒December 30, 2011.

Last updated: December 7, 2017