Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, the Lonja de la Seda ( Llotja de la Seda in Valencian) ranks very high on the list of Valencia’s top tourist attractions.
👍 The Captain’s tip 👍
Want to learn more about Valencia’s history? To discover the city with a passionate tour guide, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends going on this free tour. You’re free to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour!
Want more info about Valencia’s top landmarks, activities & museums? Why don’t you check out the Captain’s detailed article on the best things to do in the city: Guide to Valencia.
Brief history of the Lonja de la Seda
Valencia and the Silk Road
In the Middle Ages, Valencia became a major silk trade centre on the Old Continent.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, at its peak, Valencia was a key staging post on the Silk Road and a first-rate trading center in Europe and throughout the Mediterranean basin.
And the Lonja de la Seda in all this?
In the 15th century, Valencia decided to build a Stock Exchange worthy of its reputation.
The construction of the Lonja de la Seda (Silk Lodge in English), also called the Llotja dels Mercaders (the Merchants Lodge) began in 1483. Several architects colloborated to the project, including famous Catalan architect and engineer Pere Compte, who had already participated in the expansion of Valencia Cathedral.
The work was completed in 1498 and the Lonja de la Seda became a major meeting place for merchants, serving all at once as a stock exchange, a bank and a gathering place.
Visiting the Lonja de la Seda
In the historic center, located across from the Marcado Central, the Lonja de la Seda is one of the finest examples of civil Gothic architecture in Europe.
The building, which spreads over an area of nearly 2,000 square meters, is made up of three parts: the Tribunal del Mar, the central tower and the Sala de Contratacion (The Contract Hall), plus the Orange Garden.
The facade of the Lonja de la Seda
With its tower and its high walls surmounted by crenellations, the Lonja de la Seda looks very much like a Gothic castle rather than like a stock exchange. The building is decorated with gargoyles, moldings and Renaissance-style medallions.
The interior of the Lonja de la Seda
👉 The orange garden
Hidden behind the high walls of the Lonja de la Seda, the orange garden ( Pati dels Tarongers in Valencian) is a refreshing oasis in the heart of the city. Captain Ulysses can only recommend lingering around the star-shaped fountain to enjoy its coolness.
👉 The Tower
The 3-story high quadrangular tower (Torreón in Valencian) stands between the Sala de Contratacion and the Tribunal del Mar. The ground floor once housed a chapel while the 1st and 2nd floors served as a prison for bad payers!
Take the time to admire the beautiful spiral staircase with no central axis: an architectural feat.
👉 The Tribunal del Mar
Built in the early 16th century in a distinctly Renaissance style, the Tribunal del Mar (aka the Sala del Consulat de la Mar ) is an architectural gem, with its magnificent wooden coffered ceiling.
The Tribunal del Mar was an institution responsible for governing maritime and commercial affairs in Valencia.
👉 The Sala de Contratacion
With its three naves, the Sala de Contratacion (Sala de Contractació in Valencian, aka the Saló Columnari / the Hall of Columns) is the highlight of the Lonja de la Seda. The ceiling, made up of cross-ribbed vaults, is supported by twenty-four 17.4 meters high twisted pillars, making the hall look like a palm grove.
A frieze runs along the four walls, just below the vaults. The frieze features a quotation in Latin inscribed in golden letters and reminding merchants of their duties:
The taula de canvis (exchange table), where financial and banking transactions took place, was to be found in this very hall.
Before leaving the Sala de Contratacion, don’t forget have a look at the black and white marble slabs forming a series of six-pointed stars on the ground.
Getting to the Lonja de la Seda
The Lonja de la Seda is located in Valencia’s historic center, in Plaça del Mercat, a 5-minute walk from Plaça de la Reina and Valencia Cathedral. It is located across from the church of the Juanes and the Mercado Central.
The nearest metro stations are:
- Colón, 900 meters to the southeast
- Xàtiva, 750 meters to the south
- Àngel Guimerà, 650 meters to the southwest
If you are driving, you’ll find an underground parking lot at Valencia’s Mercado Central, a stone’s throw from the Lonja de la Seda.
The Lonja de la Seda is open Monday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays.
A stamp and coin market is also held in the Lonja de la Seda every Sunday.
Admission is €2 full price, €1 reduced price. Access to the Lonja de la Seda is free on Sundays and public holidays.
Guided tours of the Lonja de la Seda
If you want to learn more about the silk trade in Valencia, Captain Ulysses recommends opting for a guided tour which includes a visit to the Lonja de la Seda, the Silk Museum, the Velluters district and the emblematic store Albaes Indumentaria Valenciana.
👉 For more information: Guided tour to discover the silk trade in Valencia (available in Spanish and English)
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in Valencia!
👉 Looking for tips & recommendations? Here are all the Captain’s suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: to book your accommodation in Valence, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Booking.com. From budget youth hostels to luxury boutique hotels, there’s plenty to choose from. The Captain recommends:
– affordable options: Quart Youth Hostel or Hôme Youth Hostel Valencia
– mid-range options: Esplai Valencia Bed and Breakfast , 7 Moons or Casa del Patriarca
– luxurious options: Vincci Mercat , Caro Hotel or Westin Valencia
🎫 Citypass: if you’re planning on staying in Valencia for several days, yoy should definitely consider investing in the Valencia Tourist Card. This citypass includes access to public transport (including to get to the airport), free admission to public museums, as well as many discounts or a selection of museums, attractions, shops and restaurants in the city.
🚐 Transfers: if you want to avoid taking public transport or queuing for a taxi at the airport, you can book a car transfer to your hotel or accommodation in advance.
🚌 Local transport: local public transport is relatively convenient and easy to navigate. If you decide to invest in the Valencia Tourist Card, access to public transport is included. You can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour which stops at all the top tourist attractions in Valencia. If you’d rather be active, why not rent a bike?
If you’re just stopping off in Valencia and planning to explore other parts of Spain, Captain Ulysses recommends renting a car. To find the best offer, the Captain warmly recommends Rentalcars.
📍Tours: if you don’t want to organize your holidays in Spain yourself, Captain Ulysses recommends Evaneos. The first specializes in organizing tailor-made trips in partnership with local specialists, the second is perfect for sports and hiking enthusiasts.
✈️ Flights: to book your flights to Valence, Captain Ulysse warmly recommends Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.