If passing through the Plaza de la Virgen at noon on a Thursday, you’ll have to fight your way past a huge conglomeration of people gathered at the cathedral’s back door. You might want to pause and join the group yourself, in order to see Valencia’s Tribunal de las Aguas: the oldest continuing court in Europe.
Directly across from the Mercado Central, La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) is Valencia’s most historic building, and its only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 1482 and 1548 at the height of Valencia’s Golden Age, the Lonja is like a church devoted to the god of commerce.
Valencia wears its age well, since many of its oldest elements have been incorporated seamlessly into the modern city. The Baños del Almirante and the Alumdín, for example, fit in so well that it’s easy to forget they’re both 700 years old.
A thousand years ago, a formidable set of walls protected Valencia from marauders and invading armies, and anyone hoping to gain access to the city had to pass through one of its twelve monumental gates. Today, the medieval walls have disappeared, but two gates remain: the Torres de Serranos to the north, and the Torres de Quart to the west.
Vicente Blasco-Ibáñez is easily the most important literary figure in modern Valencian history. As well as author of several classic novels, he was a world traveler, newspaper editor, and political firebrand, as famous for his controversial rhetoric as for his stormy love affairs. His chalet on Malvarrosa Beach has today been converted into a museum, dedicated to his life and works.
Despite its location in the center of Valencia, most people stroll right past the Palau de Cervelló without ever registering its presence. But don’t miss out. Built in the 17th century for the Counts of Cervelló, this is the city’s most important surviving palace.
Nowhere is the ancient history of Valencia more palpable than at L’Almoina: a former archaeological site which has been converted into a museum. Found next to the cathedral, L’Almoina takes visitors on a walk underneath the ground, and back through time.
Before cobbling together our concise history of the city, we decided to refresh our knowledge at the Valencian History Museum. Housed inside an old cistern, this museum takes visitors on a comprehensive tour from the days of the Romans to Francisco Franco.
As one of the major cities of the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise that Valencia has had a tumultuous history. From the Rule of the Romans to the Reign of the Rita, this city has experienced a lot. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the major events which have shaped Valencia throughout the years.