Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
The Cathedral of Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, boasts the ornate cathedral Lonja de los Mercadores which stand today as a mixed heritage icon.
Showing us through its architectural changes, the history of the town. The original Lonja was the design of architect Pere Compte and workers began its structure in 1482. Although its completion wasn’t until halfway through the 15th century, as additions were being drawn even before first plans were executed.
Its architecture is a surviving reminder of the times of change and the growth of this vibrant city. Valencia began to prosper through trade, national and international and the acquired wealth shows in the luxurious decorations within its mighty walls.
As with the majority of Spanish churches and cathedrals times have produced many changes, through which we can see the history of the town. The rich became richer, the traders became rich and the poor remained poor.
Architectural changes can be seen all around the cathedral, The Puerta del Palau is Romanesque, the dome, tower and Puerta de los Aposteles are Gothic, the main gate and the Presbytery are Baroque. Inside the cathedral are some Renaissance chapels.
Glory, wealth and awe are some of the words that come to mind, as a tiny child looks up to his father, you raise your gaze to the heights above, extravagant decoration and an incredible feat of work.
The entire cathedral is not open to the public, but take a walk through the Sala de Contrataciones and the gardens and admire the prolific and ornate stone decoration around both interior and exterior.
The cathedral is also home to some of Goya’s paintings and has a gold and agate chalice Santo Caliz that is said to be the Holy Grail, used by Christ at the Last Supper.
The cathedral museum has an enormous, 2300-kg monstrance, a religious cup, made of gold, silver and jewels, that was given to the museum by Valencian people. It is brought out on festival days and carried through the town.
La Miguelete, the octagonal bell tower on the southwestern corner, with its 207 steps (and 166 feet), can be climbed for a small fee and spectacular views over the cathedral and the city.
Valencia has good bus and train connections to Madrid and the airport Aeropuerto de Manises, 15 km to the west of the city have internal flights from Barcelona, Ibiza, Madrid and Palma de Mallorca.