It’s no secret that the city of Valencia is an architectural treasure effortlessly mixing old and new styles from different periods of its history. As you stroll through the city, it’s hard to keep your eyes down. Every corner, avenue and plaza offer stunning examples of amazing buildings. One of the city’s most enduring legacies was forged during the Modernist era around the turn of the 20th century. This new artistic movement produced such iconic buildings as the Central Market, North Train Station and Colon Market. Combining elements of nature, curved lines, geometrical details with decorative tile and ironwork, Valencian modernist architecture is a true gem to behold.
These architectural wonders are best enjoyed up close and personal. Take the time to follow one of the many walking tours the city offers. One such tour published by European Travel Magazine can be followed using Google maps on your smartphone. In a little over 3 miles, you’ll hit all the major examples of Art Nouveau or modernist buildings in the city.
Let’s explore some of the city’s best known modernist delights together!
First stop, the Estacion del Norte (North Station). Designed by Demetrio Ribes, this building is one of the most recognizable examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Valencia. The station, built between 1906 and 1917 during the “Sezesión Vienesa” movement mixes straight lines and curved shapes. It is decorated throughout with Valencian themes such as oranges, flowers and agricultural motifs. Be sure to step inside to experience the splendor of the ironwork ceiling that covers the expansive platform too.
Next on our list is the El Mercado Central (Central Market). Officially opened in 1928 by King Alphonso XIII, it is one of the largest fresh food markets in Europe. An irregular 14-sided polygon, the floorplan is covered by domes and sloping roofs. Once inside, look up to see vaulted iron beams, hand painted tiles and stained glass depicting Valencian fruit. Truly an architectural wonder, this is a must-see.
Continuing on to the El Mercado de Colón (Colon Market), take time to explore one of the city’s most important modernist buildings. Started in 1914, the building encompasses an entire city block. Francisco Mora designed the red brick building in an open rectangular shape that is decorated with ceramic figures of farmers and colorful baskets of fruit on the inside, flanked by two turrets on the outside creating a truly unique appearance.
Next up, El Cabanyal. The one and two story houses in this historic seaside neighborhood are adorned with colorful tiles making it a unique stop. Many are decorated in maritime shades of green and blue in a crisscross or zigzag pattern. Wander the straight and narrow streets to find endless examples of a modernist motif adapted to fit a more colloquial vision.
Finally, let’s explore one of the more curious examples of modernism, Casa de los Dragones (House of the Dragons). Designed in 1901 by José Maria Manuel Cortina Pérez, this building combines modernism with neo-gothic elements in what was described by the architect himself as “medieval fantasy.” Particular detail can be found in the iron and woodwork that adorn the building’s façade with dragons.
Need assistance booking your next group, event or incentive in Valencia? Trust the Valencia Region Tourist Board to provide all the resources you need.