About Serranos Towers
The Serranos Towers (Torres de Serranos) are a duo of medieval defensive towers which once formed part of the city fortifications in Valencia, Spain. Begun in 1392, the purpose of the Serranos Towers was to help defend what was then the city’s most active gates.
From 1586, the Serranos Towers took on an entirely different function, this time as an aristocratic prison holding the likes of knights and noblemen. It would continue to be used as such until 1887, spared the destruction which befell the rest of the medieval walls.
Serranos Towers history
The late 14th and 15th century was a time of economic expansion in Valencia – known as the Valencian Golden Age. The towers were commissioned by the Valencian government as part of the 12 gates forming the ancient city’s defensive walls. Built by architect Pere Balaguer, the towers reflected inspiration from other Gothic gates with polygonal towers. Construction began in April 1392 on the site of an old gateway.
The fortifying tower walls were built with thick stone and were covered with a limestone cladding to distinguish the towers with a feeling of expense. A massive stone staircase was built leading to the first floor which expanded the building and heightened its purpose as welcoming visitors. The towers were finally completed in 1398.
While the principal purpose of the towers were to act as fortifications in case of siege or attack, the building was often used for ceremonies such as significant weddings and as a monitoring point for entry into Valencia. When one of the main prisons in Valencia was destroyed by fire in 1586, the towers were used to hold knights and nobility until the prison was moved to the Saint Austin monastery in 1887.
Throughout the Spanish Civil War, the works from the Prado Museum were kept safely in the Serranos Towers. Modifications were made to adapt the towers for this purpose in 1936, including reinforcing the first floor with concrete incase the towers were bombed. The concrete was covered in a 1 metre-deep layer of rice husk to cushion any impact followed by 1 metre of soil.
The towers were restored in the late 19th century.
Serranos Towers today
Today, the Serranos Towers in their magnificent condition are open for the public to visit. Climb to the top of the towers for a breathtaking view of Valencia. There is free entry on Sundays and public holidays otherwise entry costs 2€.
The Serranos Towers are also used for public ceremonies, particularly the opening of the Fallas St Joseph Festival each February – the gates a symbol for welcoming attendees to the celebrations.
Getting to the Serranos Towers
Situated in the heart of old Valencia along the Carrer del Comte de Trénor, the towers are best found on foot or via public transport. Buses 28, 95 and C1 on the red line and 115A, C, D, E, F and 120 on the yellow line stop beside the towers.