I was considering if writing about Valencia’s Silk Exchange was a little too obvious when memories of the place and images at the web just brought me to the conclusion that inexhaustible beauty is never too obvious.
Silk Exchange, a. k. a. La Lonja, is one of these places, like City of Arts and Sciences or Serrano Towers, that single Valencia out and are just mandatory to any incomer to town, far beyond mere postcard-collecting.
All in all there’s an intimate relationship between Silk Exchange’s beauty and Valencia’s character that no place in town bears: a relationship that sprout when Silk Exchange was projected at XV Century and still expresses Valencia’s deep commercial and cultural character we love to puzzle at this site out.
Silk Exchange was built up as an expression of Valencia’s deep commercial trait of character as a main exchange port, and as a celebration of its incredible financial and political peak as a Kingdom: no expense and no ornament were spared to turn the old gathering place for shoppers, mechants and passers-by into a luxurious centre where transactions were properly carried out by standards unknown at the time but current today all over the world –among the many, the very first local bank institution in 1407.
Then a rectangled two thousand squared metres flat at the old market place was given to engineer and architect Pere Compte who designed and partially built Silk Exchange up as the imposing yet florid late Gotic construction we amaze today –until the point of being considered World Heritage by UNESCO in 1996.
There’re plenty of detailed descriptions of Silk Exchange all over the web, like this one, so I’m not boring you with another one.
But let me say that either if you look at its castle-like imposing Façade crowded with gargoyles, its huge emblematic Contract Hall with ribbed-vault starry ceilings supported with helical pillars ending in palm-trees, its lovely Orange Trees Courtyard, its Tower or both Consulate of the Sea floors with jaw-dropping ceilings, you can see how all that monumental beauty is deeply related with Valencia –a commercial town by nature and nurture, yesterday and today.
Silk Market goes then far beyond architectural wonder and epitomizes both Valencia’s Golden Age and Valencia’s inhexaustible character we know today: solemn but seductive, mighty but mellow… just like the natural image below, taken right there.