The Central Market

A building that brings together Valencia’s taste for modernist architecture, its skilled craftsmanship, and longstanding agricultural and trading traditions.

This article focuses on the Mercado Central as a sight. For details about shopping and the products you can find in it, take a look at our article about the Central Market and its stalls.

The Mercat Central tells the story of a Valencia that was in the process of rapid economic and technological advancement, a city whose bourgeoisie were ever more eager to modernise. But it also tells the story of a city that did not intend to leave behind its commitment to well-established agricultural traditions.

The Mercat (or Mercado) Central has been listed as one of the most beautiful markets in the world by recognised institutions, like the BBC .

It is Europe’s largest fresh produce market. If you want to know more about the products and booths you can find in the Market you can find more information in our article about the Central Market and its stalls.

Even though the building itself is only around 100 years old, its tradition dates back to the time Valencia was still named Balansiya, under Moorish rule, 900 years ago.

The current structure, a modernist work of art, was revealed to be a costly and time-consuming project at the time of its construction. Nonetheless, it was a cherished project, symbolising and showcasing the city’s increasing wealth and its industrial-architectural advancement.

Valencia´s Central Market from inside
Valencia’s Central Market is a burst of colours, smells and local products.

We can clearly see this in the ceramics and glass work, in the masterful locksmithing and carpentry the building offers. As art historian Daniel Benito puts it, the market “was treated like a cathedral of food. The grandiose nature of the building’s upper portion matches the quality of the produce sold beneath”.

The Market is now one of the most visited and emblematic buildings in the city. It brings together the city’s pride in agricultural traditions and love for its farmlands, as well as the city’s taste for modernist art.

This makes the Market a cultural centre that goes beyond just trade. In fact, various culinary events, as well as art, music, and literature exhibitions have been held here throughout the years.

Even if you are not interested in buying or trying any food (which you should, at least a small bite), the Mercat Central is still an incredible building to visit.

The glass domes and windows, the iron frame and colourful tiles offer amazing photo opportunities. Aside from its historical and architectural value, the Market will also give you the chance to experience a snippet of Valencian life, just like a local.

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