During a tour of Gay Tours Valencia you only have to take one look at the windows of Valencia to see the reflection of the heritage of this historic trading city. Precious fabrics such as brocade, damask and satin are displayed on the roll. Do not ever mention textiles. The world ‘textile’ does not honour the fabric that made Valencia rich: silk.
An interwoven city
Silk still determines Valencia. The antiquaries praise their silk as sublime, but also attach hefty price tags t it. On Sunday’s flea market at Plaza Redonda, you might get lucky and receive more silk for your euros. Are you looking for a great gift for your friends at home? Then you might consider visiting one of those glove shops after a city tour of Gay Tours Valencia. You will find them among others around the Plaza de la Reina.
Three pageantries around a shadow garden
Valencia as a silk city. In the silkweaver’s guild house, a brand new silk museum has recently been opened. Gay Tours Valencia thought it was about time. Nevertheless, it is more impressive to first go to the source. To Valencia’s real “silk temple”. Where the farmers from the surrounding fields went to trade their silk wire. La Lonja de la Seda. Two halls, a tower and a courtyard with the cooling of orange trees. At the end of the 14th century, this jewel was built to give Valencia’s ever-expanding silk trade some allure. The style of the architecture was Gothic, which makes the La Lonja de la Seda so remarkable, even though its builders also switched to a early Renaissance construction style later on for the draping of the Consulado del Mar hall.
Castle church for merchants
The Gothic construction style was actually reserved for the nobility and the church. Liege lords ordered Gothic castles and the church wanted beautiful cathedrals. But what about citizens? In Valencia, some citizens (traders and merchants) were able to gather enough gold for their own “castle church”: completely dedicated to the silk economy. And this is how you can find one of the few civil, late Gothic world wonders in Valencia. That’s why it’s also labelled as UNESCO World Heritage. And it’s an excellent stop during one of the tours of Gay Tours Valencia.
Such a rare silk exchange (La Lonja de la Seda) is a sight you must have seen in Valencia. The Sala de Contratación was the ultimate billboard for silk traders. The ceiling towers more than seventeen meters high above you. The twisted pillars branch at the top like palm leaves that grasp the vaulting. In the adjacent El Torreón you can find a masterfully crafted spiral staircase. Not built around a central axis but with an open centre – a dizzying eye! Traders had to climb these steps when they went bankrupt or didn’t pay their debts. On top, they tarred away in their tower cell, listening to the vocals of their downstairs neighbours. Because at the bottom of the tower, songs were sung in the bourgeoisie.
In short: trade has always hung on a silk wire in the city of Valencia. But in this case, a very solid thread!
Carrer de la Llotja 2
Mon to Sat from 10:00 – 19:00
Sundays and holidays from 10:00 – 15:00
Closed on 1 and 6 Januari, 1 May and 25 December
Reduced: 1€ (groups, students, 65+)
Sundays and holidays: free