Valencia Cathedral - History and Facts | History Hit

Valencia Cathedral

Valencia, Valencian Community, Spain

Valencia Cathedral was begun in the 13th century and boasts an eclectic range of styles including Gothic, Romanesque and Baroque.

Peta Stamper

21 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Valencia Cathedral

Valencia Cathedral (Catedral de Valencia) in Spain, was begun in the 13th century and boasts an eclectic range of styles. Whilst mostly completed by the end of the 15th century, Valencia Cathedral was constructed over the course of several centuries, imbuing this mostly Gothic building with Romanesque, Baroque and other influences represented in the cathedral’s main doors.

This diversity is also be mirrored in the cathedral site’s history: before the creation of Valencia Cathedral the site was once home to a mosque, which in turn had previously been a Roman temple. Aspects of these structures can still be recognised today in the shape of the cathedral.

Valencia Cathedral history

The cathedral was consecrated in 1238 by the first bishop of Valencia following the Catholic Monarchs’ Reconquista. Valencia Cathedral was built over the site of a former Visigothic cathedral that the Moorish inhabitants had turned into a mosque. The bishop Andreu d’Albalat in 1262 had resolved to knock down the prior church because of its ties to the Muslims; the building still had inscriptions on the walls from the Qur’an.

The new cathedral was designed in the city’s distinct Gothic style, and stones from neighbouring quarries were used to quickly build the cathedral, marking the city as Christian against the Muslims. During the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries, the exterior of Valencia Cathedral stayed largely the same while the interior gained exquisite sculptural decorations and a high altar.

Similarly, the Baroque influence saw a new German-designed main door in 1703, although it could not be finished because of the War of the Spanish Succession. In the later 18th century, the cathedral saw a renewed effort at providing it with a uniform neo-classical appearance – the original Gothic seen as vulgar.

While Valencia Cathedral was recognised as a historic and artistic landmark in 1931, it suffered terrible damage after a fire during the Spanish Civil War and lost many decorative features such as the organs. In the 1970s, efforts to restore the Gothic exterior were undertaken and since the 1990s has once again been declared a cultural landmark.

Valencia Cathedral today

Today, visitors will find Valencia Cathedral between the old town’s most iconic plazas – Plaza del Virgen and Plaza del la Reina. Visitors can collect a free audio guide allowing you to wander the cathedral at your leisure whilst discovering the building’s history.

Inside, you can find the Santo Caliz Chapel, rumoured to hold a chalice that was used by Christ at the Last Supper, as well as a famous painting by Goya in the Saint Francis Borja Chapel. Then climb the spiral staircase that leads upwards to a terrace boasting magnificent views of Valencia.

Getting to Valencia Cathedral

While Valencia Cathedral is easily found on foot, the buses 4, 6, and 31 stop at Marques de Dosaigues and the C1 stops at Plaza de la Reina – both a 3 minute wander over to the cathedral. Otherwise, the tram 4 stops at the POrta de Fusta, a 10 minute walk via the Porta de Serrans to Valencia Cathedral.