La Lonja is highlighted in all the guidebooks and it was certainly one of my favourites of all the places we visited in Valencia. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been recently restored so you can now see it in it’s full glory – as a bonus the entry is free. It would be a great contrast if you’re feeling overwhelmed after the Baroque splendour of the Palacio del Marques de dos Aguas, as there is a tranquil and cathedral-like feel about the place.
La Lonja de Seda or Silk Exchange was founded in the 15th century and the twisted stone pillars reaching up to the vaulted ceiling resemble the skeins of twisted silk. These days you enter the spacious and cool Sala de Contratacion (The Contract Hall) which in the past would have been filled with the bustle of Valencia’s merchants going about their business.
At one side is a small, shady courtyard, with orange trees scenting the air and up an external stone staircase you arrive at the first floor chamber with it’s beautiful coffered ceiling and patterned marble floor.
On the ground floor, off the courtyard there is the Pavillion of the Consulate, where the Merchant’s tribunal would sit. At the height of summer I’m sure the merchants would have found it a cool and shady oasis to retreat from the bustle of the street outside.
You can see my photos of La Lonja and other things in Valencia on my flickr site here
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