Itineraries I
Itineraries I
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Itineraries I
Itineraries II
The Albufera
City of Valencia
To take a walk through the streets of Valencia is to walk along through centuries of history. To walk through the halls of an open museum where, with each footstep, a building, a monument, a plaza, provides us with testimony of past and future époques. With the intention of showing you the symbolic corners of the city, the Valencia City Hall web invites you to stroll through a series of itineraries that will make it possible for you to come to know the history and the heritage of a city in which the oldest of monuments live wisely together with the recent and avant-garde architecture.
Follow along with us and discover all the cultural richness of Valencia.
The Archaeological crypt of the Presó de Sant Vicent Mártir contains a chapel from the Visigothic age discovered in the process of an archaeological excavation. The building, which is in an exceptionally good state of repair, has a ground plan in the shape of a cross and a vaulted roof, and would originally have been connected to the cathedral then standing, forming part of the Episcopal area. The finding of two large burial cists at the corners and a tomb in the cross, framed between the superb chancels of the presbytery, leads one to the conclusion that the building had a funereal nature.
The building stood there for several centuries, transformed in Arab times into baths of the Caliphate palace area. In the early 11th century large-scale alterations were made to the complex with part of its structure possibly having been knocked down, judging by the demolished strata discovered in the excavations, in which a large amount of ceramics and sumptuary items were discovered, some of which can be found in the crypt itself. After the Christian conquest of the 13th century, a chapel dedicated to the martyred Saint Vicente was built on the remains of the building which were still standing, as people still remembered the connection of the saint with the surroundings. This chapel has come down to our own times and can be accessed through La Almoina square.
The visit to the Archaeological crypt of the Presó de Sant Vicent Mártir constitutes an astounding experience through the number of the archaeological remains and the spectacular audiovisual show that is available to accompany these. The opening hours of the crypt are from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9:30 to 14 and from 17:30 to 20 hours, and Sundays from 9:30 to 14. The audiovisual shows are at 10, 11:30, 13, 18 and 19 hours, and on Sundays at one-hour intervals from 10:30 on.
In this square we can find the Tossal Gallery, where important remains of the 12th century Moorish wall can be seen. The remains were part of an elbow-shaped gate thought to be a replica of the Al-Hanax gate. This gate was built in the 11th century and was one of five gates to the city, this one placed at the beginning of Cavallers Street.
We can also see a tower with a square base made of mortar. Observe the holes at the front of the tower made by box supports used by the alarifes, or Moorish builders, during its construction. On the outside of the wall, we can appreciate brick arches upon which the vault rested and covered the Rovella. a stream used for irrigation. In the 14th century the old irrigation stream was channelled and used-up until more recent history-as a sump.
For further information on the Moorish wall and its remains, please stroll through the exhibition panels. The Tossal Gallery visiting hours are: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Monday.
You can also admire several remains of the wall in public places such as in the Cavallers Street, Plaza de San Jaime or in the Rector Peset Hall of Residence (in the nearby Plaza de San Nicolás).
The Torres de Serrano, an impressive entryway to the walled city, was constructed by master builder Pere Balaguer between 1392 and 1398.
This massive stone structure is formed by two large pentagonal blocks which flank the arched entranceway.
It appears the inspiration behind these towers was the royal entranceway to the monastery of Poblet, although the Serrano Towers are much bigger in scale giving them the appearance of a gigantic arch of triumph.
The tower's inner walls house large archways and platforms. These were designed at various heights so the city's most prominent families could view processions of popular celebrations or the arrival of important visitors.
From 1586 until 1887, the Serrano Towers were converted into a prison where nobles and knights were jailed.
You can currently visit the Torres de Serrano, which have been declared a monument of historic and artistic interest, and enjoy splendid views of the city and the river Turia from its terraces. The towers are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please note that from October to March, afternoon opening times are from 4:30 to 8 p.m.
The Torres de Quart, or Quart Towers, formed a part of the walls of the ancient city and were built between 1441 and 1460. The towers were constructed over a previously existing entrance and were modelled after the door at Castel Nuovo in Naples, built by Alfonso the Magnanimous.
In 1623, the municipal council decided to use the towers as a women's' jail, and from 1813 to 1932 it was used as a military prison. Traditionally the towers are known as the towers of "lime", due to an 18th century decree stating that all the lime which came into the city had to pass through this door.
Quart Towers
The structure consists of three sections: two cylinder shaped towers made from mortar and situated on a sloped foundation and the rectangular middle section, where the door opens, covered by a stone arch.
The exterior of the monument still shows signs of the bombardments suffered during France's siege of the city in 1808. The holes and crevices left by cannonball fire are currently used by nesting birds.
La Lonja is one of the most emblematic monuments in Valencia and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and civil engineering. Construction on the Lonja began in 1483, a project of renowned master builder Pere Compte.
La Lonja is comprised of three separate structures which, as viewed from the Market square just across the street, are comprised of the contracts hall, the central tower and, to its left, the Consolat del Mar.
Construction on the hall of columns, or hall of contracts as it's better known, began in 1483 and consists of a grand hall divided into three sections separated by rows of spiral columns. The building was conceived as a "temple" for commerce and trade marked by many symbolic features such as the columns themselves representing trees, and the domed ceiling the heavens of paradise. The municipal government later installed la taula de canvis, or table of exchange, used for banking operations of the day.
The central tower consists of the ground floor and two upper floors, which were originally used to jail bankrupt merchants.
Completing the complex, the Consolat del Mar was built in 1498 under the direction of Pere Compte who never lived to see the project's completion. Other master builders continued the work after his death and the complex was finished in 1548.
It pays to take special notice of the outer façade facing the Market square where at its highest point we can see forty medallions representing busts of Roman Emperors and other important personages of the Renaissance housed on an arched veranda. For a more detailed view, stand on the sidewalk opposite the building next to the church (Iglesia de los Santos Juanes) where you'll have the best vantage point to view the entire complex.
The church of Santa Catalina was erected over a previous mosque and by 1245 had already been designated as a parish. It consists of one single sanctuary with side buttresses in between where the chapels were built. It is the only Gothic church in the city with an ambulatory similar to the one in the Cathedral at the front of the sanctuary.
In the 16th century the building was covered with classic decoration and Renaissance style, but in 1548 it was partially rebuilt after a devastating fire. In 1785, following the fashion of the time, it was redesigned in the baroque style. During 1950s, elaborate restoration works were carried out in order to regain its original Gothic appearance, at which time all of the baroque and neo-classic ornaments were removed from the walls.
The belfry was built between 1688 and 1705 by Juan Bautista Viñes, whose name appears engraved on a stone plaque that we can still see on its base. The church, being a masterpiece of the Valencian baroque period, has a hexagonal floor and is divided into four floors separated by mouldings in addition to the belfry and the top. Originally it was called 'Solomon's belfry' due to the helical columns that decorate the highest part. It also stands out thanks to its ledges similar to pilasters that deck the angles and the decoration of the windows, here the ephemeral baroque style was masterly transferred to the stones.
The bells were cast in London in 1729. The clock that we now admire was added to the east side of the church some years later. In the late 19th century the street known today as la calle Paz was laid just in front of it, which allowed improved communication between the city centre and the sea coast, as well as preserving the outstanding views enjoyable from this magnificent belfry.
The Cathedral of Valencia is located on the site of an ancient Moorish mosque, its first stone laid in 1262. Because its construction went on for several centuries, it is composed of various styles including Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic.
The Romanesque Palace Door (Puerta del Palau) is the most ancient of the three doorways. It is important to highlight decorative mouldings where scenes of the Old Testament can be observed as well as some small, sculpted heads. According to tradition, those heads symbolise the seven husbands and wives who took responsibility for taking seven hundred damsels to Valencia to marry the first Christians during the reign of Jaume I.
In the Door of the Apostles (Puerta de los Apóstoles), from the Gothic Age, there are images of the twelve apostles (hence the name of the door) as well as other saints and figures of angelic musicians. Over the door a big rosette decorated with geometrical structures, the motif of which is known as Salomó de la Seu, can be seen. It is in front of this very façade where we can witness the tribunal de las aguas, or water tribunal, which take place even nowadays and can be seen every Thursday. The water tribunal is a medieval institution set up to orally regulate and mediate conflicts concerning the distribution of water for irrigation.
Right next to the cathedral the bell tower known as El Miquelet lives up its name originating from the biggest bell, the "Miquel". Cast in 1532 and weighing ten tons, El Miquelet was built between the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th centuries. It was designed by Andreu Julià with the assistance of Pere Balaguer, the architect of the Serrano Towers. With an octagonal shape, it rises to a height of 50.85 metres, which is also the length of its perimeter. You can access to the bell tower through a spiral staircase that leads to the terrace where you'll find a splendid view over the city.
Some inner areas, as well as the arch gallery, were built in a Renaissance style. Another treasure of the Cathedral is the altarpiece in the high tabernacle, dedicated to the Virgin and painted by Hernando Yáñez de la Almedina and Hernando de los Llanos, Spanish painters and collaborators of Leonardo da Vinci. If we move around the altar to the right, we will find just behind it the Resurrection Chapel (Capilla de la Resurrección), named for to the relieves by Bartolomé Ordóñez. This is one of the first works in alabaster credited to the Iberian Peninsula Renaissance, and is decorated with columns, garlands, cherubs and eagles. The contemporary organ that rises above the chapel is a wood reproduction of the meticulous Classicist decoration. If you carry on walking, you will find on the right the exit to Plaza de la Virgen (Square of the Virgin).
In order to see the gallery of arches known as the Obra Nova, or more popularly referred to as the Balconets de la Seu, we have to walk away from the building to get a better view. The architect Gaspar Gregori conceived it as a gallery where the archbishop and his council could see processions and public events. The series of arches remind us of the Roman Coliseum inspired by Italian architecture. Before the Basilica was built, the Virgin's chapel was under the central lower arch.
The Cathedral visiting hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Door of Iron, or Puerta de los Hierros -which opens into the temple and dating from the Baroque Age- is so named because of its wrought-iron gate. This gate was built by the German artist Conrad Rudolf and it is peculiar due of its curved surface. It was built with this shape because the calle Zaragoza -the street stretched in front of the gate- was very narrow. Later on, the present Queen's Square, or Plaza de la Reina, was opened. The door's façade is an innovative element in the Hispanic Baroque, imitating late Italian style as it was erected between 1703 and 1741. In addition, we can admire statues by Francisco Vergara decorating the door. Also from the Baroque style, the unique flooring designed by the Aragonese Juan Bautista Pérez Castiel was created between 1674 and 1682. We can also appreciate Gothic structures covered with bronze, jaspers and polychrome marble of different shapes: fallen leaves, shells, winged angels of victory, curved pilasters and classically styled columns. All these elements would certainly conjure up images of a mystical cavern during a candlelit Baroque mass.
Galicia, 1 • 46010 Valencia Tel.- 963 525 478 • Ext.- 4228 – 4202
The Exhibition Palace was designed by Francisco Mora Berenguer to be used as the municipal seat for the 1909 Regional Exhibition and the 1910 National Exhibition, where special events and celebrations were held. Built in just seventy days as a temporary construction, the Modernist building, with its peculiar Neo-Gothic style, evokes the glorious past of Medieval Valencia, bringing together civil, religious and military Gothic architecture. The Palace’s merit undoubtedly lies in the harmony between the architecture and the sumptuary and industrial arts which, as in the work of Gaudí, are exquisitely represented here through the wrought and cast iron works, the ceramics, the stained glass, and the woodwork. The Palace will open its doors to be used once more for formal events.
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