About Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados
Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados (Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken) is a 17th century church built in a Baroque style and dedicated to the patron saint of Valencia.
Begun in 1652 and completed in 1667, Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados is considered to be the most important religious building in Valencia built that century.
History of Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados
The Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados is located in the highest area of Valencia in the Plaza de la Virgen, in front of the allegorical Fountain of the Turia River and its irrigation channels.
The basilica is dedicated to the Virgin of the Forsaken, the patroness of Valencia and the Old Kingdom of Valencia, and is widely considered to be the most important religious building in the city from the 17th century.
Originally built between 1652 and 1667 by Diego Martínez Ponce de Urrana, it is the only church in the old part of Valencia that was built new from the foundations up, instead of upon an existing parish or convent.
The original church building was built in a late Renaissance style, with ornamentation dating from 1666 including pillows, rosettes, sgraffito of cherubs, and the dome, which is located near the cathedral. It was the first oval-shaped religious building to be constructed in Valencia, as the oval shape is related to the Virgin Mary.
Between 1683 and 1694 a Baroque chapel-sanctuary was built, and in 1701, a new interior dome was built in full Baroque splendour. From the 18th to 20th centuries, the Royal Chapel underwent successive and important transformations (neoclassical reform, romantic and historicist perspectives), with the initial Renaissance style being embossed and elaborated upon, giving the interior a much more rich and detailed finish.
Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados Today
The basilica runs a regular programme of events, and is free to enter. Attending the sung Mass at 13.00 is recommended.
During the Las Fallas festival, the basilica’s walls are decorated in flowers for the Virgin. A giant wooden silhouette of the virgin is constructed and is completely covered in flowers in the offering, which culminates on the 18th March. The flowers are left after the festival to be enjoyed by devotees and visitors to the city.
A bridge connects the basilica and 13th century cathedral, meaning that visitors can enjoy both in succession. Visitors can also attend Mass on Sundays.
Getting to Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados
The Basilica is a 9 minute drive by car from the centre of Valencia, primarily along the Carrer de Jamue Roig road. It’s also around a half an hour walk thorough the architecturally stunning city centre.
There are also a number of buses from the city centre – the m, 3, and 9 – which depart every 9 minutes or so from the city centre. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken is a very short walk from the Plaza de la Rhein in Valencia.