The most striking feature of the 49,500-seater Mestalla stadium is its North Stand. The steep incline of the stand is not for those prone to vertigo. If an opposition turns the other way, they see the South Stand, which may not be as physically imposing but it is where the most vocal and dedicated supporters of Valencia CF – the tenants of the stadium – are seated.
Mestalla has perhaps seen more of Spain than most other stadium that hosts La Liga matches. Opened on May 20, 1923 with a friendly against Levante, it is the oldest stadium among those in the Spanish top flight.
The Mestalla took its name from one of the irrigation canals that ran through the Horta de Valencia. Its initial capacity at the time of opening was 17,000 spectators, which was increased to 25,000 four years later. The stadium was turned into a storage house and concentration camp during the Spanish Civil War. Most of the stadium was destroyed in that period.
It was renovated in the 1950s and its seating capacity was increased to 45,000. But the Mestalla suffered further damage during the devastating 1957 floods. It was reopened in 1959. It was renamed Estadio Luis Casanova after club president Luis Casanova Giner and was reverted to the old name in 1994.
A replacement for the Mestalla has been in the works since 2006. The stadium, intended to house 61,500 spectators, has been called Nou Mestalla but work on the stadium has not gone past the building of the basic concrete structure since 2009 due to financial reasons.