One of the highlights of Valencia definitely is ‘La Lonja de la Seda’. The Silk Market that is often easily called ‘La Lonja’. Nowadays this building is seen as the masterpiece of the Gothic style and definitely worth a visit. It is located in the middle of the city centre, near the Central Market or Mercado Central of Valencia.
La Lonja de la Seda as an icon of power and wealth
Because of the developing of the silk industry, the old Lonja could not meet the demand anymore. The General Council of Valencia initiated the idea for La Lonja as we know it now: a building that was representative for the trade and commerce of the city.
Pere Compte and Joan Ibarra designed La Lonja de la Seda in 1482 in a Valencian Gothic style. Pere Compte is also known from turning ‘La Nau’ into the Cultural Centre it is nowadays and the design of the Valencian Cathedral. The building was finished in 1548 and became the icon of power and wealth in the 15th and 16th century.
Three parts of the building
The total size of La Lonja is almost 2,000 square meters and it has a height of almost 17.5 meters. The building consists of three parts: La Sala de Contratación (trade hall), el Consulado del Mar (consulate of the sea) and the tower.
La Sala de Contratación
The trade hall is an impressive open and high room with 8 pillars. These pillars are all twisted and end like palm trees at the top, which gives the hall an even more beautiful appearance. The marble black, ochre and white floor is decorated with some stars that give the room prestige. Before entering La Sala de Contratación, you will walk through an orange tree patio, which is also part of La Lonja de la Seda. It’s definitely worth to take a closer look at.
El Consulado del Mar
You can find El Consulado del Mar when you take the stairs that start in the orange tree patio. The appearance of this hall is totally different than the trade hall because it was built between 1506 and 1548. Therefore, next to the Gothic style, it has a lot of influences of the Renaissance. Remarkable is the dark wooden coffered ceiling decorated with paintings. Furthermore, the seats of the tribunal are still exposed from the tribunal that gave a verdict about the trade and maritime affairs.
The spiral formed staircase in the tower lead to a prison back in the days, while underneath the tower, you could find a chapel. At the end of the 19th century, a part of the tower has been restored which you can still see from the outside.
Take a look up!
The outside of La Lonja de la Seda might be just as beautiful as the inside. When you take a look up, you will see that it is decorated with all kinds of special sculptures like 40 medallions and 28 gargoyles. Did you know the head entrance of La Lonja is called ‘The entrance of the sinners’? This is because the sinners of the human are engraved and presented by naked figures. Furthermore, you will find images that represent the witchcraft and the holy virgin with her child that had power on the witchcraft. On both sides of the door you will see windows in Gothic style with the city coat of arms of Valencia. All these special sculptures and images make it worth to take a closer look on the outside as well!
Since 1931, La Lonja de la Seda has got an even more special status when it became a National Historic and Artistic Monument. Next to that, we all know the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge and the temple complex Borobudur. These beautiful heritages are all listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Since 1996, also La Lonja de la Seda has concurred a place on the list.
Of course, La Lonja de la Seda is the most iconic building related to silk since it used to be the place to trade silk. But because the silk industry was that important for Valencia, you will also find a silk museum in the city: El Museo de la Seda. This museum is not that well known, but definitely worth a visit. It is located in the building ‘Colegio del Arte Mayor de la Seda’ in the heart of the city centre. Here you will get to know everything about silk and how it played a big role in the Golden Century.
Address La Lonja de la Seda
Carrer de la Llotja 2
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 19:00
Sunday: 10:00 – 14:00
Closed: 1st and 6th of January, 1st of May and 25th of December
Regular: € 2
Groups, students and 65+: € 1
Sundays and public holidays: free entrance
- Visit the Real Parroquia de los Santos Juanes, the church next to the Mercado Central. This is the only place from which you can see all the 40 medallions that are located on the façade of La Lonja!
- Besides La Lonja, there is a lot more to see in the city centre! We have a walking route filled with highlights, nice restaurants and trendy shops, so you get the best out of your Valencia visit.
- Visit La Lonja on Sundays, when the entrance is free! On Sundays around La Lonja often small markets are organized as well.