I was hungry when I arrived in Valencia from Madrid.
It was not easy to walk from the train station to the hotel passing by dozens of restaurants buzzing with patrons. Then, it seems like everybody likes to advertise their offerings with a bigger than life poster. Again, it was not simple to walk by all those delicious offerings with a grumbling stomach.
Once we were arriving at the hotel, we passed by a big Modernist building. I recognize it in three seconds. It was the Mercat Central (or Central Market).
It is easy to deduct what happened next in this story. Luggage was dropped into a storage room (it was still early) and we proceeded to walk back to the market.
We were absorbed by natural light, poignant smells and a burst of color once we were inside.
The market’s building is a masterpiece of Modernist architecture. It was designed in 1914 by Francisco Gardia and Alejandro Soler, both trained at the School of Architecture of Barcelona. The place was inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1928.
It is one of the oldest markets in Europe still running.
The Mercat Central de Valencia covers exactly 8,160 square meters divided into two areas or zones. The first one is an irregular shape with a surface area of 6,760 square meters and the other, which is octagonal and covers 1,400 square meters, houses the fish market. The basement, which has 7,690 square meters, was previously a fish auction and is now used as a car park.
The Mercat Central brings together almost 400 small traders and 1,500 people are involved in its daily activity. It is the largest center of its kind in Europe specializing in fresh products and the first market in the world to rise to the challenge of computerizing sales and offering home delivery, services which have been available since October 1996.
I would not like to use cliché wording but, honestly, this is a must visit in Valencia. It is located almost directly across the Silk Exchange (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and can be combined with a walk around the Ciutat Vella (Old Town).
But, do not take my word about how interesting this place is. I’ll let you be the judge.
Roasted pumpkin is a regional delicatessen.
These are chufas or tiger nuts. They are used to prepare Valencia’s famous oxchata (or horchata, which, by the way, is delicious).
Never seen potatoes so colorful.
I like the look of these candied oranges.
- The market is open Monday to Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
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