Valencia’s old town is filled with rich history, medieval architecture and has a colourful modern flair with its urban art and graffiti murals. Located within the two medieval gates of the old town – Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart – the historic centre covers a large area in the heart of Valencia with churches, museums, beautiful squares and a plethora of restaurants and tapas bars.

A particular spot with impressive urban art is found on the wall along the C/ Salinas. This wall is covered in vivid, eclectic graffiti art all the way down towards the historical Portal de la Valldigna, and the juxtaposition between the old and new in one is refreshing and striking. The Portal or Puerta de la Valldigna is a gateway from the early 15th century that once separated the Christian city from the Moorish quarter of Valencia. This Valencian Gothic style arch has since been declared a ‘historic-artistic monument’ in order to prevent it from being removed when the owners of the house attached to it shared their plans to demolish it.

A short walk from this historical sight is the Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir (C/ Caballeros, 35). The church was originally built as a parish church in the early 13th century, but has since undergone renovation and re-modelling twice. Between 1419 and 1455 the building was remodelled to fit a more Gothic style, and then in 1690, a Baroque style of decoration was added to the interior of the church along with fresco paintings across the ceilings. Today the church is likened to the Sistine Chapel.

The history and rich culture within this barrio is not only present through the architecture and art, but also its large number of museums and exhibitions. One museum in particular, the Museu de Prehistoria (C/ Corona, 36), within a gorgeous Byzantine style building surrounding a garden courtyard, shows us the history of Valencia dating back to the Paleolithic period. Created in 1927, the museum’s mission is to preserve, study and share the archaeological heritage of Valencia. Parts of the museum focus on Iberian Culture and ceramics, while others include the first fossilised human remains and the Font de Mussa mosaic.

Walking from these historical sites through to busier streets, a convivial, lively feeling radiates through the numerous main squares, some in tucked-away corners dappled in sunlight, others out in the open, in front of grand churches. In Plaza del Mercado you can hear the hum and chatter of conversations, the distant sound of the church bells ringing, and smell the of fresh paella and warm croquetas de jamón. The Mercat Central, a beautiful 8000 square metre building decorated with stained glass windows is full of fresh produce and tapas dishes and is bursting with flavour and colour. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon and grab a bite to eat!


Report by Jenny Grierson

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

Photo copyright Jenny Grierson/ 24/7 Valencia

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24/7 Valencia is the definitive English Speaking guide to Valencia. Extensive Listings, up-to-date and informed articles on restaurants, chill out, clubland, football, culture, arts, books, woman and much more.
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