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A Long Weekend In Valencia

Jun 13, 2008
The cathedral of Valencia is a must see stop for any visitors to the city. Breathtaking architecture and fascinating history makes it as attractive as it is.

Built on the site of an earlier mosque, the cathedral was constructed between 1252 and 1482. The divinity of the site may date back even before the mosque to a Roman temple to the goddess Diana.

The site as a church was dedicated in its first stage to the Holy Savior, but with the Cid and King Jaime the Conqueror it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary as it still is today. The Gothic building started in 1262 had its cornerstone laid by Bishop Andres de Albalat; this church consisted of 3 naves which make up today just a part of the chapel reaching to the current day choir only. The Chapel hall was built by Bishop Vidal de Blanes, whilst the tower was added in 1418 by Jaime de Argon.

It was also in the 15th century that the naves were extended and the dome was built creating a larger building all together. In the following century, in 1674, it was Archbishop Luis Alfonso de los Cameros who began to build the main chapel including the ornate marbles and bronzes.

With the dawn of 18th century the Baroque fade came along to beautify the main entrance. The fade was built by Conrad Rudolphus; around the same time a number of restoration works were embarked upon including the rounding of the hitherto pointed arches, a replacement of the gothic arches with Corinthian ones, and a reworking of the walls.

When visiting, the largely gothic exterior will draw your attention, whilst the Puerta de los Apostoles on the north transept is a must with its 14th century rose window and wonderful sculpture. On the inside which is also largely gothic, you will see the Goya paintings in the San Francesco chapel and the original 14th century lantern to be found over the transept crossing.

The Santo Calz is considered by many to be the high point of a visit; the gold and agate chalice is reputedly the Holy Grail itself, although this is probably testimony to its age. The chalice has been in the cathedral since the fifteenth century, but prior to that and throughout the dark ages was concealed in a monastery in northern Aragon. If you have the energy, the climb up the 207 steps to the top of La Miguelete the view is well worth it.

The cathedral is open daily between 730 - 1p.m, and 4.30 to 8.30. The tower is open Monday to Saturday 10 -12.30, and 4.30 - 7.30, and on Sundays between 10-1 and 5-7. Entrance to the cathedral is free whilst the tower costs 1.20 Euros.

Valencia offers a wide variety of accommodation options including 1-5 star hotels, 1 and 2 star hostals, youth hostels, and rental apartments.
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